Singer-songwriter Darin Talbot, slated to perform at the Brewery Art Center Tuesday, engages audiences with an easy, winsome style reminiscent of John Denver or Jim Croce.
But Talbot, 29, prefers those Lake Tahoe skies to Rocky Mountain highs, and his tunes are an expression of why he loves it here: folk-pop about the Lake Tahoe lifestyle.
Talbot was raised in Incline Village and has no professional training but creative roots run deep in his family. His grandfather was a skilled brass musician and jazz composer, and his aunt is an established poet.
He's been in the business since he was 22, and since 1996 has been performing at local venues in the Lake Tahoe area like Captain Jon's, Cottonwood in Truckee, Great Basin Brewing in Reno, and Stanley's at Incline Village.
He opened for The Beach Boys at Sacramento Valley this month, and his snowboarding song, "Tweeker Shred Master" won him national acclaim in the first Internet and Film & Music Festival, and the opportunity to open for The Brian Setzer Orchestra at the Playboy Mansion in April. The song was also featured on the Dr. Demento Show in November of 1999.
He majored in communications at the University of Portland, and his career in entertainment began during that period when he worked as a stand-up comic on the coffee house circuit in Portland.
"Everybody encouraged me to do comedy when I was young," Talbot said. He once wrote a song in conjunction with his stand-up routine and nothing has been the same since. His focus changed overnight.
In addition to Denver and Croce, Talbot gathers inspiration from Jimmy Buffet and John Taylor, but his songs and style remain his own: Bittersweet tales of impassioned love, nature's beauty, and ballads about colorful characters are the primary themes woven into his material.
His songs about snowboarding speak to those willing to give up everything for their passion, but the message is more universal and has crossed the generations.
"People are finding a common link (in my work), and that's what matters," Talbot said. "It's neat to have touched so many generations. One of the greatest things about performing is finding that common link that allows me to speak to other people about what they feel."
Talbot is also a realist and his entrepreneurial feet are planted firmly on the ground.
"It's important to be familiar with all facets of the music industry," Talbot said, noting talent makes up about 30 percent of the music business equation. He's a firm believer in marketing and networking.
His first album, "Music Flight," was recorded at Santa Fe Studios in Reno and will go into its second printing soon. His new album, "Tahoe Backcountry," is to be released in September.
He recently gave up his day job as a loan officer for Wells Fargo. He admits he was a little nervous at first, but the move has given him more time to market himself and concentrate on his singing career.
His new album will be marketed on his own label, Air Tahoe Records, and he will be promoting his own line of snowboard T-shirts and hats by Christmas.
What: performance by singer-songwriter Darin Talbot
When: Tuesday Sept. 12, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Brewery Arts Center- $12 general public, $10 seniors and BAC members