In 2005, Chris Koza won a Minnesota Music Award for best new artist. It doesn't take long to figure out why. The album begins with a richly crafted song called "Midnight Rose." Koza's vocals in this song remind me of E from the Eels, while the melody brings Grant-Lee Phillips to mind.
The melody and harmonica in "Candle in the Dark" remind me of another Minnesota-born singer-songwriter: Bob Dylan. Like Mr. Dylan, Koza is also pretty sound lyrically. Get a load of these lyrics from "Look Left Look Right."
"I don't understand where money comes from
and why it's so hard
to spend it on lessons
instead of transgressions.
Koza shows some pretty good range. In addition to the folky songwriters, that have influenced him. There seems to be some distinct Richie Valens influence in the guitar on "Fear of Mimes."
Chris Koza is a solid songwriter. Each of these twelve songs is well-crafted with layers of sound. His vocals are easy, his lyrics are solid and the band is tight. I expect that he'll win more awards for his music, and rightly so.