Justin Nozuka @ Webster Hall, 11/3/09

Following the opening performances of Elizabeth and the Catapult and Sam Bradley, fresh-faced twentysomething Justin Nozuka melted a largely female crowd at Webster Hall with his soulful crooning and easy-on-the-eyes looks.

Born in New York but raised in Toronto, the music of this half-Japanese and half-American wunderkind is a veritable melting pot: sometimes neo-soul and bluesy, other times folky pop. Nozuka’s knack for blending–not burying–these styles together creates an understated aesthetic that is all his own. While acoustic performances are his apparent strong suit, popular tracks from Nozuka’s debut album, like “Golden Train,” benefited from his talented bandmates.

Distinct and expressive, Nozuka’s vocals maintain the crisp integrity found on his debut album, Holly. One soulful track titled “Supposed to Grow Old” highlights Nozuka’s humane lyrics brought to life by an unexpected emotional tonality. Nozuka’s sincerity makes his music that much more enjoyable for an audience whose sing-along tendencies boasted for the humble and talented musician.

Nicole Velasco

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