Grand Hallway Singer Out of Work, Test-driving New Record

While the sweeping, dramatic sounds on Grand Hallway's 2008 debut Promenade should have hinted at some sort of cinematic origins, we were surprised to find its singer in the middle of the week's most saddening cinema news. But there Tomo Nakayama was in the Seattle Times article about Sunday's closure of the Neptune Theatre in the University District, where he has worked for the last eight years and where he might someday play a concert, since the old theatre will be reopened later this spring as a concert venue. "It was like a live wake," he told the Times about the theatre's last day. "I'm glad I got to be a part of its history."

Sad, but at least Nakayama has the band to take his mind off things. The songwriter -- who also plays in the Maldives -- recently finished up Grand Hallway's second album and has been handing it out to a select few heavy hitters in the music community. "There are some moments that just kind of blew me away," one such heavy hitter recently told me. "He sounds like Elton John. It seems like he's really trying to get away fromt that chamber pop thing -- or orchestral pop, or whatever it is that people are calling it -- and focus on the songwriting."

Grand Hallways headlines Chop Suey in Seattle this Saturday, February 5, and the Peabody Waldorf in Tacoma, Friday, February 4. Come offer your condolences (and perhaps a job) while listening to the new material.

And while we don't have any of that new stuff for you, below is Nakayama, stripped down, covering Paul Westerberg's "Dyslexic Heart," from a collection of rarities the band released at the end of 2010 called Ricebelly. You can hear the entire thing here.