Brett Dennen (right) performs at the Newport Folk Festival.
Brett Dennen (right) performs at the Newport Folk Festival. Wiqan Ang
The breezy songs of California native Brett Dennen combine the earnest sentiments of activist folk with briskly sweet-natured pop. Dennen's mostly acoustic tunes, which bring to mind the work of former tourmates John Mayer and Jason Mraz, have appeared in numerous television shows about hospitals (Grey's Anatomy, House, Scrubs), but his lyrics lean away from melodrama and toward uplift. His recordings have shown a tendency to drift away from straight acoustic pop into rangier territory; Dennen's newest album is 2008's Hope for the Hopeless, which includes a tuneful collaboration with Nigerian musician Femi Kuti.
Dennen is the "Resident Rock Star" at California's Mosaic Project, a non-profit organization designed to teach children about diversity and peace. With others, he wrote and performed the songs on a CD called Children's Songs for Peace and a Better World. After playing at Newport, Dennen will spend August and September on tour through the U.S. and Canada.
"When You Feel It"
"Who Do You Think"
"Wrong About Me"
"Ain't No Reason"
"I Ain't Gonna Lose You"
"Make You Crazy"