Local singer-songwriter Bryant Del Toro’s debut EP, “Things That Used To Be,” made its digital release Sept. 4. Now available on most digital stores including iTunes, Spotify and Amazon Music, this EP is worth checking out.
Del Toro, 26, is Miami through and through. Despite his Venezuelan and Hispanic background, Del Toro was raised listening to mostly American influences. Like many of today’s guitarists, he says his biggest inspiration was John Mayer, who motivated him to pick up a guitar and figure it out on his own during a boring summer with family in North Carolina.
Without formal training, Del Toro continued to progress his skills through friends and YouTube lessons. Whatever is said about YouTube, it has worked out for Del Toro, whose axe skills shine through every track on “Things That Used To Be.”
This EP is a retrospective of much of Del Toro’s previous work from his early 20s, which was never recorded. He says these songs have resonated with a lot of his fans, so he decided to hard press them as a memento to “who [he]was at the time.”
His live sets are usually acoustic, but “Things That Used To Be” is fully arranged and produced. Songs like “Red Light District” and “Heard You Wrong,” which feature a full horn section, benefit hugely from the recording process. “Optimistic Reggae” also shines with its stacked guitar lines and a nice Hammond organ part.
If these songs become part of a full length LP, it would be nice to see Del Toro continue adding parts, and continue using session artists to bring in a real string section on “Invisible Man.”
Del Toro definitely carries a Bruno Mars vibe. His voice is in the same, high-for-men register and tambour. His song subjects and lyrical style are also pretty similar. “Optimistic Reggae” is Del Toro’s “Lazy Song” with that snappy, off-beat guitar and “don’t-care” attitude. He’s pop-y, but not too pop-y.
The songs have their catchy riffs and choruses, and they all fit the radio play time frame, but it’s clear that isn’t Del Toro’s main goal. He’s above that. He wants to write music that allows him to connect to people and make a living, but the fame isn’t all that important, which allows the music to be the focus.
Featured photo courtesy Bryant Del Toro on Facebook.