San Francisco Chronicle

November 20, 2010

Ira Marlowe is a Oakland's sweet little secret. He's a singer/songwriter (and) I would like to scream his talent from Twin Peaks so he'd have more exposure. He has a way of getting under your skin. I believe he sold his soul to the devil to develop the sound that he continues to perfect. There will soon be a time when he completely blows up Tom Waits style and you can say you saw him when.


Tony DuShane - Sfgate.com

December 20, 2010

Ira has a deep back catalog of music to pull from. His brilliant lyrics and delivery makes him one of my favorite singer/songwriters.

Kate Howser - San Francisco Bay Guardian


Nothing puts a singer-songwriter show in perspective like walking into a dimly lit, low-ceilinged cafe right after leaving a music-industry frying pan like last week's NARM convention. The transition from big money, hundreds of drinking schmoozers and the radio-retail machine to free entertainment, a few dedicated fans and friends, and artists selling their own CDs came as a welcome shock. An intimate show like Ira Marlowe's at Sacred Grounds is a reminder that, when stripped down to its core, music is really about a performer, an instrument and an audience. Even though he claimed he was going hoarse, Marlowe's voice was as powerful as it was ragged. That and his affable demeanor enabled him to take the crowd on a journey through his colorful world of passé gods, Gen X slackers, and medieval prophets.

Though his melodies and guitar playing were more than commendable, Marlowe really shone in his storytelling. In "Old Zeus", an up-tempo, wry conversation with the Big Guy, he sang, "Look at all the skinny gods who stole your thunder / Look at the almighty one I loved and feared / with pain in his eyes and food in his beard." Smiling and laughing with the crowd, Marlowe was equally comfortable delivering introspective songs such as "Losertown", a serious, almost angry piece in which he lambastes twentysomething, keepin'-it-real-in-the-Mission hipsters: "This low-rent life is gettin' so fashionable / Yeah, but I was on the floor before / these new suburban social divers / came along and cluttered up the scene / And I was going nowhere / back when nowhere wasn't such a place to be."

It's too bad there aren't larger venues for singer-songwriters to perform in, because Marlowe's charisma and talent are exactly what music industry marketers are trying to cultivate like a test-tube baby. The real thing is gestating right under their noses and they don't even see it. 


CD Baby


“With vocals that can decide whether to be driving at hope or resigned to dejection coupled with a warm and resonant mix of Folk and Pop styles that flitter between Jazz-touched and Americana-touched sonicism, you might detect similarities from R.E.M. to Sting to James Taylor but the singular voice of Marlowe penetrates

with well-blended subtleties, making for an altogether curiously charming album, both openly vulnerable yet proudly self-contained.  Listen after listen, it continues to grow on you.”


babysue.com


Ira Marlowe - Save the Day (CD, Caliban, Pop)
Though he's been writing and recording for years...this is most likely the album that will introduce the public at large to the music of Ira Marlowe. For anyone who ever enjoyed John Cale at his peak...or even The Blue Nile's first album...you will most certainly get a major charge out of the material on Save the Day. Marlowe writes material that comes straight from his heart. His compositions are smart and instantly memorable...and the arrangements are always exact and perfectly suited for the material. Marlowe's vocals sound very much like the previously mentioned Cale...although his songs have a depth and honest nature sadly missing in most of John's later efforts. Ira Marlowe is, without a doubt, one of the most talented (and virtually unknown) songwriters we've heard in years. His ability to write melodies that stick in the mind is amazing. And his ability to transfer his ideas and feelings through his music is 100% effective and real. Top notch tunes such as "Arielle," "Living With Robots," and "Troublesome Sky" make this album a superb spin from start to finish. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.


Marianne Matera - Richmond Music Journal


Ira Marlowe's songs take today's music a step in the Frank Sinatra of the 21st Century direction. He's developing into a saloon crooner, if such an animal can survive in our times. His vocal inflections are those of a man on his fifth highball who's trying to pick you up, more out of habit than desire. There's romance and sadness here, told in the complicated way that comes from experience, that comes from too much time, as one song says, "hanging out in the bathroom of a Trailways station". It's the Gin Blossoms for grown-ups.

                                                                

Performing Songwriter


A true original, San Francisco singer-songwriter Ira Marlowe has explored multiple genres and multiple storytelling forms—from comic to fantastic to personal—in a quest to match the ideas he wants to communicate with the ideal entertainment vessel. Marlowe’s new album Save the Day sticks with a spacey mid-tempo folk-rock style, fitting his Michael Penn-like vocals, but the songs’ subject matter sway from romance to worldly terror, with more than one song about robots and monsters. The puckish, purposeful eccentricity manifests most succinctly on the magnificent “House,” which uses the clichés of old Hollywood haunted houses to describe the state of the singer’s life before his newest love arrived. It’s a clever conceit, and suitably spooky. —NM


Performing Songwriter


Most writers have something to say. Very few, however, manage to say it with the originality and imagination Ira Marlowe displays on "Songs From The House of Wax". Based in San Francisco, Marlowe is a major league talent that deserves to be heard.

Like any good house of wax, Marlowe spotlights some famous names: Cleopatra turns up in "Proper Bagdad", a "prisoner of the way they say it oughta be...". Zeus gets reprimanded for "all those skinny gods who stole your thunder" in "Old Zeus". Then there is the sad plight of Nostradamus who says he "never really knew / all the crazy dreams he had / had a way of coming true." The fire of righteous indignation fuels "Losertown" and the "suburban social divers" who inhabit it. A more forgiving light shines on the late-nighters in "5:00 At The Satellite".

Marlowe is a multi-instrumentalist and as a producer, he creates aural landscapes as intriguing as the characters who walk them. In its theme and sound, House of Wax is not at all unlike the late Eighties classic "Boomtown" by David & David. "Frame me, name me, call me anything you like / but call me, call me, tell me I'm a thing you like," he pleads in "Must Be Art". While it's said in sarcastic jest, you'll probably find yourself more than willing to take him up on it.


Adult Music Press


"Save The Day" :  Smart, funny, moving, memorable

It's very rare to hear a CD which is both immediately accessible (i.e. catchy) and yet has a depth and complexity which makes is sound better and better with each subsequent listen. Marlowe's voice is vaguely reminiscent of Michael Stipe or Sting in tonal quality, but there is a very distinct personality which comes through his phrasing and enunciation, the sound of someone facing the hardships of life with wry, self-deprecating humor. Great lyrics, melodies, arrangements. In a perfect world, this is a platinum record.


Gail Worley - STARPOLISH


“I would not hesitate for one second to compare Ira Marlowe’s “Save The Day” to some of the best work by the great James Taylor. An introspective, upbeat song like “Save The Day” is just a perfect pop tune: it grabs you as soon as it starts with a buoyant, melodic hook, lyrics that speak to the “hero” inside you and Marlowe’s truly lovely voice that sounds instantly familiar while maintaining its own identity. Another example of Marlowe’s unique songwriting talent is the moody, gorgeous, lyrically complex "House," which I can easily imagine Radiohead’s Thom Yorke singing. Ira doesn’t need to change a thing: his material is exceptional, his playing (guitars, keyboards) accomplished and his voice -- which also embodies influences as diverse as Michael Penn and Warren Zevon -- is perfect for this style of singer/ songwriter/folk-pop. Really, really excellent stuff.”

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