The artist: Echomessenger, a.k.a. James Bracken, a singer-songwriter from Austin. He’s had a heck of a summer with a first EP release, multiple local collaborations, and plenty more in the works -- see the full details below.

The sound: Dark, gauzy folk.

Try him if you like The Devil Makes Three, or the early works of Andrew Bird.

How you know him: Where to begin? Bracken’s collaborated heavily with Jeremiah Nelson and Fires of Denmark in the past year -- check Soundcloud for the fruits of those labors. His music career started in 2000, however -- first as a cover performer (“a lot of Tom Waites,” he says), then with folk string band Stagefright (where he got to know Nelson). He moved to Washington and Texas for brief stints, busked in Italy for a time, then returned to Southeast Minnesota.

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"From the Mountain Top" album art. Contributed.
"From the Mountain Top" album art. Contributed.

So what’s new here? Bracken started with home recordings on his own computer back in the 2000s. But he hasn’t done physical albums before -- until now. Bracken dropped the “From the Mountain Top” EP in May, then released music steadily through August, beginning with “Rocky Gibraltar.” “From the Mountain Top” was mostly written in the past year, and recorded using analogue tapes -- no overdubs. Bracken’s looking to “find the audience” for Echo Messenger -- you can help by sharing his music with other fans of atmospheric, lo-fi folk.

How you can get to know him better: Bracken’s been working on a digital and radio campaign for Echo Messenger -- keep an ear out on the local alt and folk stations. Echo Messenger won’t play too much in Minnesota this fall, Bracken said -- but keep an eye on for the latest. There should also be a new single coming in October, and he’ll be in Galveston, Texas, during the cold months (with a tentative SXSW slot coming up).

Find more at, where Bracken releases music regularly.

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