Second Stage: Little-Known Bands You Should Hear

Second Stage: The Champion And His Burning Flame

Download "Kids And The Van"

I always feel like an idiot when I discover and fall in love with a band that other people apparently have been talking about for months, especially if that band made a point of actually sending me its CD. The latest is a 5-piece group from Nashville, Tenn. called The Champion And His Burning Flame. The group's beautiful debut EP, The French, came out last Fall and has been drawing high praise, but only recently made its way to my desk.

The French features a little more than 20 minutes of reflective, acoustic pop ballads and gentle jams. The songs take a lot of cues from the work of Elliott Smith, with wispy vocals, sweet harmonies, and the kind of production that makes the mix seem to radiate with a cozy, warm glow.

Members of The Champion And His Burning Flame are seekers. They say they like to write about redemption and forgiveness and the beauty they see in these uniquely human experiences, and that they're searching for "importance in art." From what I've heard on The French, it sounds like they've already found it. This song is called "Kids And The Van."

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