Local Wire

Caleb Engstrom

Caleb Engstrom is old enough for you to buy him a drink, but young enough for you to still feel guilty about it. This 21-year-old Iowa City boy is living the dream. He dropped out of the University of Iowa (but don't worry, kiddies, he says he'll probably go back), hooked up with indie record label Right Place, bought a van, and, thanks to The Nicodemus Agency, is touring this summer with a couple of his buddies. Some guys have all the luck. Engstrom calls his brand of music "folk . . . alternative folk." His first album, the self-produced Building Day One (2005), is full of lingering vocals and heavy on piano, guitar and drama. But it's got a solid sound. "I'm just trying to write good music," he says. Engstrom already has miles of tour experience and plans to play as many shows as possible between NYC and L.A. before the school bell rings this fall. He admits the shows are mellow, nothing raucous — it's more of a smoke-a-bowl-and-bob-your-head kind of affair. But hey, there ain't nothin' wrong with that.
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C. Murphy Hebert