Anthony da Costa is a kid. Or is he an old man? I just can’t tell. Age-wise, he’s pretty damn young; 21 years old, to be exact, but spirit-wise, he’s like a grandfather — sharing pearls of wisdom about life and teaching you how to fold a newspaper into a sailboat/hat.
In an astonishingly short time, Da Costa has put out 6 solo albums, been a nominee for the Folk Alliance’s Emerging Artist of the Year, and a finalist in Mountain Stage’s New Song competition. He’s won Kerrville’s New Folk competition as well as Falcon Ridge’s Emerging Artist competition. Oh yeah, and he was also named one of WFUV’s “New Artists to Watch” in 2009. It’s his age that makes these things astonishing but listen to the “old-soul” sound of his music and it all makes sense.
Da Costa’s songs address familiar themes that one would expect from a young person living in a big city with discovery around every corner, but what sets them apart is the approach. He comes across confident and seasoned. He’s often quite adventurous with a lyric, and when he’s not, it’s because he intended it not to be.
The ace up his sleeve is that Da Costa is just pleasing to listen to. His song “Dolly and Porter” tells a snippet of the story of Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner. A story we know, and a story we’ve heard before. The catch is that is sounds so darn good. Then he turns on a dime and delivers a touching ballad like “Ain’t Much of a Soldier,” about a young man that finds himself herded onto the field of battle, all the while knowing that his heart (and stomach) are just not in it.
There are a lot of impressive things about an artist with a body of work this robust and it’s clear he’s just getting started.
Da Costa plays The Living Room tomorrow night, April 28, at 11pm. The show is FREE.
Splitting his time between performing and producing, contributor Ken Beasley primarily plays with his own roots/rock band, Ken Beasley & Co., as well as the power punk outfit,Missy Sport, while also curating the Underground at the Abrons music series on the Lower East Side.