JP DEN TEX (from Amsterdam, Holland) is a modern-day troubadour and storyteller, bridging the gap between Americana and traditional European genres such as French chanson. In the past some critics have dubbed his music “Beatnik Americana”, referring to JP’s somewhat quirky, adventurous brand of Americana. Anyway, Den Tex has been very successful in putting his cosmopolitan message across lately, both at home and abroad.
JP's first notable musical adventure was in the mid 70’s as a member of Tortilla, a legendary Dutch band whose music would now be described as alt.country. Later, in the 80’s, Den Tex recorded some critically acclaimed solo albums. At the beginning of the 90’s JP interrupted his activities to participate in the rebellious retro ensemble Les Gueux . A strong belief in the values of continental musical traditions lay at the heart of the group's formation. In 1998 he went solo again - and back to his own rootsy origins, with the introspective “Emotional Nomads” album. Painstakingly honest, that’s how I'd like to be JP wrote in the CD booklet. This album turned out to be a real break-through.
On the well-crafted concept albums Bad French (2007) and American Tune (2009) JP’s lust for travel brought the listener to the America’s: a European non-fiction writer sets out on a low-budget, adventurous fact-finding trip from New York City to San Francisco, to gather information for his new book (The American Dream – Does It Still Exist?). Somewhere along the dented road he picks up disheveled Russian Elena, a former escort girl who dreams of starting a new life in California. Together they discover the various states they’re passing through, all the while mixed-up in a romantic love affair destined to go awry.
Though Speak Diary (2011) is yet another concept album, it taps into a wholly different source. On a chilly September morning JP Den Tex wakes up to find he’s no longer interested in his own future. ‘New cd, new tour’: it has been the ongoing routine for years on end. Now, for the first time in his life ‘this dreamer starts looking back’. For accurate information regarding his past he turns to his well-kept diary – to realize it doesn’t give him a clue about what really happened to him during all those years. As his diary proves to be little more than an ‘emotional safety valve’, just a way to blow off steam.
At long last he takes a dive into his collection of old demos: he decides to re-record some of them, in order to get connected to times gone by. And it works! During the sessions he finds a new way to make peace with his past. Listen to Angela, dedicated to a teenage love affair with an Italian girl, way back in 1969, or the tragically funny The Year Of The Gigolo. But there are new songs as well.. Take I’m So Shy for instance, which is shedding light on his peculiar relationship with his mother, or the album’s exciting opener En Roulant (La Vie C’est La Vue).
In short, JP’s looking back will not make you sad. On the contrary, it will provide hope and new energy for anyone who’s trying to define his future by truthfully looking at his past.
They say ‘Beatnik Americana’— I say ‘Top quality adult pop music (Alan Harrison, Maverick Magazine, 2010)