Contrary to what Garth Brooks once sang, it never hurts to have friends in high places. Though Joshua Radin is sure to have found his way without them, it can't have done much harm to have gone to college with actor/director Zach Braff and singer/songwriter Cary Brothers, two of his more supportive schoolmates. The connections led to several appearances on Scrubs (starting with the Brothers-produced "Winter"), then on Grey's Anatomy ("These Photographs"), followed by a record deal with Columbia. On his major label debut, Radin evokes the sensitive folkies of the AM era--Paul Simon, James Taylor, and Cat Stevens--as much as the alternative radio variant offered up by Elliot Smith in the 1990s. We Were Here, which follows indie EP First Between 3rd and 4th, is subtle stuff distinguished by vocals that are as much whisper as soft-spoken lullaby. Heck, "Everything'll Be Alright" is even subtitled "Will's Lullaby." (The now LA-based Radin claims that his quiet style stems from writing songs that would keep a rather volume-sensitive New York neighbor at bay.) Overall, the cello-laden disc feels more familiar than original, but makes for a soothing listen, and de-synthesized Yaz cover "Only You" (penned by future Erasure member Vince Clarke) is a charming addition.
- Sundrenched World