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It was the dead of winter and Steve Cannarelli found himself sipping a cool gin and tonic in New York's Sidewalk Cafe listening to the Marc Dinkin acoustic hour.
Ever since spearheading his college cover band, Steve had been looking for a creative project with guts, clever songwriting and strong sex appeal. Settling for 2 out of 3, Steve walked up to Marc after the show and demonstrated his uncanny ability to play an unprecedented number of notes in the hopes that they could form a band. Marc was impressed. Youngster was born.
Answering a cryptic ad in the Village Voice reading, "Drummer with goatee needed," Jared Nissim seemed to be an automatic shoe-in for the band. But it wasn't until they heard his solid, in the pocket grooves and blendy harmonies that they knew Youngster would grow up to be a mature band, perhaps one day even earning the name "Oldster."
And then there was Anne-Marie. She strutted through the doors of their studio in her tiger-striped pants and blew everyone away with her dreamy bass playing. It was that perfect combination of McCartneyesque melodic lines with the animal energy of a caffeinated wombat that they had always dreamed of, and the sex appeal made Steve happy.
The group grew tighter and tighter as they played throughout the city, playing regular shows at CBGB, Mercury Lounge, Continental, The Fez, Luna Lounge, Arlene Grocery, The Lion's Den, The Elbow Room as well as the CMJ Music Marathon and North by Northeast Festival in Toronto. Now the band packs the fans in like french fries in a super-size order, and they come back again and again for the exhilarating musical experience that is a Youngster concert.
Youngster's tunes tell the story of love, lust, greed and the American way and twist it inside out until Michael Nesmith comes out screaming. Denial, manipulation, nitrates - it's all in there, mixed with the perfect blend of feel-good angst, acrophobia. and self-induced dermatitis. Some go for the dreams-unfulfilled themes as in, "We are astronauts and we've never been to space." Some enjoy the optimistic cynicism of "I can see the sun rise, but I know it's a trick and I'm not gonna stick around." And some like the pragmatic approach to love as in, "You changed my life, but could you leave my room alone?" There's something in each Youngster song for everyone- the young, the old, the criminally insane, and yes even the middle aged.
Of course 9 and a half Youngster fans stress the composition of the songs, both live and on their CDs. Steve's guitar licks have been said to "fill the spaces in just the right way, adding eye-opening textures at every corner" while many Youngster fans put on the album on headphones and concentrate only on Anne-Marie's melodic bass lines as they fall into a low-frequency pleasure sleep, from which only few have awoken. As you listen to the tunes, it's probably Jared's drums that keep you wired for the next style change, as he shifts from rock to salsa to shuffle to march and back again, all the while maintaining a groove that is so in the pocket it may get buried under all that loose change and never come out again.
But in the end, it's probably the energy between these 4 people, on stage, in the studio and in the pool, that wins them new fans every time they play.
Look for Youngster playing in New York City and throughout the East Coast, catch them on the radio and on the web, and listen to their music every morning before going to work and after snacking.