Inexplicably, in early 2014, I started watching American Idol for no reason other than to listen to this shy guy with a unique voice and an artist’s soul. Although singer-songwriter Alex Preston clearly had the most talent of all the competitors, his style was difficult to pigeon-hole and he finished third in the season-long contest.
Ironically, Preston was well served by not winning, because that gave him the freedom to perform the music he heard in his head, rather than the music given to the winner by one-size-fits-all “hit music” composers. His self-titled debut, released on 7/21/15, makes the most of this opportunity.
Preston’s intensely personal — almost confessional — high-pitched voice, backed by spare instrumentation, is perfect for conveying his songs of heartbreak, honesty and hope.
Some of his many influences are clear — John Mayer, Jason Mraz, Ed Sheeran for starters. He fiddles around with his song. His best known number “Fairytales” (which deserves to be a hit), shows up twice on this collection, and neither version sounds much like the half dozen or more versions that one can find on Youtube and elsewhere. These are the signs of someone who is well into the search for his true voice. With Alex Preston’s first album, he sets the stage for big things to come.