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Tristan Prettyman comes to Legends

Christine Anspach | Wednesday, April 10, 2013


Let’s be honest, the free “Single of the Week” downloads on iTunes are not always good tracks. On the up side, the artists are usually not well known, which is cool both because they get some publicity and music aficionados can discover new artists. However, the tracks are not always something I want to have in my iTunes library, even if they are free. Every once in a while, though, iTunes posts a good song that I deem worthy of my iPod. One such time was back in 2007, when I downloaded the song “Madly” by Tristan Prettyman

I instantly became a fan and I downloaded her 2005 debut album, “twentythree,” and all of her subsequent albums thereafter. In fact, “Madly” still makes regular appearances on my most recent playlists. So, being the fan girl that I am, I freaked out a little when I heard that Tristan is coming to Legends this weekend.

A former amateur surfer from San Diego, California, Tristan began playing guitar as a teenager, touring local clubs and bars. She gained national attention when she toured with Jason Mraz on his 2004 tour and recorded her fist album in 2005. Her sophomore album, “Hello,” released in 2008, reached the No. 2 position on iTunes Digital Albums Chart, and she embarked on a two-year worldwide tour. 

However, she felt burned out following her quick rise to success and took a break from making music. After a few years of traveling and questioning whether she wanted to continue her musical career, she returned to the studio reinvigorated. She released her third studio album, “Cedar + Gold,” in October last year.

Her songs have a folk rock, singer-songwriter vibe, which place Tristan’s guitar and vocals front and center. She has cited Ani DiFranco as one of her main influences, which absolutely comes across in her own music. She has a classically expressive folk voice that will make her successful for years to come. Her laid-back and playful yet soulful sound is similar to that of Missy Higgins, Rachel Yamagata, and Priscilla Ahn

Her most recent album has an earthy, smoldering sound that includes more bass and drums than in previous albums. Her lyrics are profound and well written, and conjure emotions ranging from spirited and whimsical to poignant and heartbroken. 

For lighthearted, upbeat tracks, look to “My Oh My,” “Quit You,” “Echo” and “Madly.” Two of her most popular songs, “Say Anything” and “I Was Gonna Marry You,” have a tender yet robust sound, with very personal lyrics. Many of her songs, especially from her first two albums, are light guitar ballads that sound like they should be played on a warm California summer night, including “Simple As It Should Be,” “Hello,” “Blindfold” and “Never Say Never.” 

Tristan also occasionally collaborates with other artists who have a similarly guitar-based, soulful and playful sound. Her collaborations sound easy and natural, complimenting her sound rather than grating against it. In 2005, she recorded “Shy That Way” with Jason Mraz, one of the more popular tracks from her first album. Her most popular song on iTunes is a collaboration with G. Love on the song “Beautiful,” an upbeat and catchy song that has the tendency to get stuck in your head – in a good way.

If you haven’t heard Tristan before, you should make listening to her newest album the first thing on your to-do list today. She has a timeless voice, her songs are relatable and easy to listen to. Plus, after watching YouTube videos of her live performances, I expect her to give a fantastic show at Legends this Saturday, April 13, at 10 p.m. Of course, the best part is it’s free. I’ll see you there.


Contact Christine Anspach at [email protected]