Phenoms aren't so rare on the instrumental side of the music business, but it's downright astonishing to find a songwriting talent this developed and mature in an 18-year-old. Australia's Simon Bruce made his American debut three years ago at the Nashville songwriters' haunt Bluebird Café; while in that city he also recorded a six-song demo called The Champagne Sessions (featuring Keith Urban on backing vocals), which has served as his calling card ever since. After appearing at last year's South By Southwest, Bruce spent a month touring Texas, highlighted by a guitar pull with Slaid Cleaves and Nathan Hamilton in Gruene and a gig with Sisters Morales in San Antonio. And he just wrapped up an Australian tour with Kasey Chambers, with whom he inevitably will be lumped in some yet-to-be-written article about how all the great young songwriters are from down under these days. Bruce may not be a great songwriter yet, but the emotional depth and polished songcraft on display in The Champagne Sessions doesn't sound like it could have come from anybody who was then six years shy of legal drinking age.
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