Brett Dennen's 2005 eponymous debut reveals a golden-voiced young man still finding his musical footing as a west-coast singer-songwriter. The acoustic based "Blessed" introduces the album with an optimistic and breezy folk-pop ditty inspired by Jack Johnson's jovial early work and The Dave Matthews Band's playfully meandering guitar solos. But as soon as Dennen's vocals first chime in, it's evident that he's got an almost otherworldly gift that not even his influencers can claim. Dennen's impressive inflections are the star of this album — they unpredictably zig when his music zaggs on songs like "Blessed," but they also follow melody closely, making for more memorable tunes especially on mellow and romantic numbers like "Desert Sunrise." His amazing voice is both soulful and rich in boyish timbre. He doesn't resort to vocal gymnastics, so music critics' comparisons to everyone from Jeff Buckley and Van Morrison to Billie Holiday and Tracy Chapman are truly just (especially the latter on "When I Go") — even if his songwriting skills here haven't yet written the kind of checks that his voice yearns to cash. Dennen's penchant for poetic lyrics on the ballad "Oh the Glorious" hints at things to come.