Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Above the Crowd

August 30, 2006

Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Robert Joslin
Oklahoma Memorial Union, Norman, OK

The Union houses an extremely busy cafeteria, where most of the upperclassmen on the University of Oklahoma campus snag lunch. The programming board, hip to the latest trends, often asks a guitar player to come play during lunch as a little background entertainment. It was in these circumstances that I saw Robert Joslin play guitar.

Now, the Union is a pretty busy place. It’s also a pretty loud place. It’s so loud sometimes that I question the intelligence of having a musician there to try and play over the noise. Because the Union isn’t like a coffeeshop, where patrons talk quietly so as not to disrupt someone else’s listening experience; nope, people just talk louder to get their voices over the guitarist.

I didn’t hear a whole lot of Joslin’s set thanks to the din of the crowd, but what I did hear intrigued me. While Joslin was playing mostly coffeeshop standards, his voice carried a timbre similar to that of Conor Oberst’s (Bright Eyes). This made songs like “Imagine” by John Lennon a little difficult to swallow, but others like “Wish You Were Here” by Pink Floyd sounded really great. His guitar playing was solid throughout, and I enjoyed it- but the voice is what really stuck out. I don’t know if I heard any of his originals and just didn’t know it, or if there weren’t any originals at all- but I would be interested in hearing those original songs. I’d also be interested in hearing Joslin in a crowd that didn’t set out to crush him.

Here’s to the fact that artists keep doing what they do, even when it seems that no one is paying attention. I’ll toast to that.

-Stephen Carradini


Stephen Carradini and Lisa Whealy write reviews of instrumental, folk, and singer/songwriter music. We write about those trying to make the next step in their careers and established artists.

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