Cannonball Statman has penned over 100 songs, released over a dozen albums, and toured extensively in America, Europe, and Asia, sharing stages with like-minded artists such as Jeffrey Lewis, Days N’ Daze, and Sunflower Bean. He began making his own music at age 8, needing to channel the trauma of growing up in post-9/11 NYC, and cut his teeth on underground scenes of that era. He is known for his soulful lyrics that Radio Javali calls “great American storytelling”.
Following his 2017-’19 world tour, when LiveTrigger Magazine dubbed him “the king of modern antifolk”, he released the double album Miracle on Neon Clown Avenue in 2022, and did multiple European tours in preparation for the release of Hard to Break in 2023. Each of his albums has its own sound, drawing comparisons to folk, classical, punk, pop, and metal, and all feature his unique guitar style described by Bob’s Aural Delights as “the edge of madness”, a sense of melancholy and fun, and references to his hometown of NYC.
Selected Quotes (2020-’23)
“Instant classic! Album of the year by a mile!” (Stephen Doyle, Salford City Radio)
“…Statman charmed the entire greenhouse. Every now and then he jumped off the stage to make a U-turn after a few chords. The New Yorker also took over the Palmarium with his chatter in between, announcing his songs about the things of life. That’s how we learned that Grow is about hair, and Tiger is about a tiger. But he also brought a song that is “a love song and a murder song at the same time” (I’m Gonna Explode), or a song about longevity that becomes exuberant. It was quite fun to enjoy the man’s songs and honesty.” (daMusic)
“Iconic” (The Leighton Buzzard Observer)
“Great American storytelling” (Radio Javali)
“Cannonball is generally regarded to be the king of modern antifolk, hailing from the same Lower East Side open mic scene that spawned Regina Spektor, Kimya Dawson and The Moldy Peaches.” (Ninetales Collective Bulletin)
“Surreal tales of a New Yorker” (France de Griessen)
Selected Quotes (2011-’19)
“the punkest motherfucker that I’ve seen in a long time.” (Somer Bingham of The Real L Word)
“You can’t fuck with this kid. He puts modern “punk” acts to shame. Very aggressive folk music. This is like acoustic Dead Kennedys. He sounds like he is about to snap and he barks like a dog. I think there is something wrong with him…in the best way possible.” (Crazy & the Brains frontman Chris Urban in PunkNews)
“For starters, Cannonball Statman (who made it in our latest Best of NYC Poll for Emerging Artists) has got the look – with an over-sized afro of curly red hair and a commanding stage presence. The music delivers the acoustic punk attack of antifolk by way of black metal; it’s not unusual for a typical 5-minute song to run the BPM gamut and contain several distinct sections. Lyrically, he embraces smorgasbord surrealism, but the songs always resonate and the audience is never distanced from the youthful anxieties and aspiration that fuel his fervor.” (The Deli Magazine)
“Jesse “Cannonball” Statman met the challenge. With his great mop of curly hair surging as he head-banged and ripped into his guitar, Statman was a bristling ball of energy. Marrying his grunge folk attack to an earnest, off-kilter manner that recalled Jonathan Richman, Statman introduced absurdist songs about being half man-half-black-Labrador-retriever, and spying for the French government by swimming the English channel with entertaining, non-sequitur explanations.” (Creative Loafing)
“Cannonball Statman comes from Brooklyn, New York and delivers a unique blend of speed of light vocalising with an amazing guitar technique which varies between scratchy antifolk and stunning sonic dexterity. His songs are intense, oblique, and teetering on the edge of madness. The stand-out track “Carlos Is On Fire (and Alicia Doesn’t Know)” is five minutes of complex word play which feels like something Paul Auster would have written in the New York Trilogy. One of the best, and most unique, sets of music I have heard all year.” (Bob’s Aural Delights)
“Here the components add up to a stylistic legacy, somewhere between Captain Beefheart and the Velvet Underground. The boy has a feeling for tempo, for dramaturgy, and he also has something to say. Listen!” (Das Klienicum)
Selected Career Highlights (2012-’22)
August 2022 – Released the double album Miracle on Neon Clown Avenue, and did a UK/EU tour for it the following Spring, including a concert with Jeffrey Lewis & the Voltage – album write-up, tour playlist, tour radio interview, tour press
2022 – Wrote his 300th song.
2018 – Commissioned by Auden Lincoln-Vogel and Estonian Academy of Arts to write and record Interdimensional Ice Cream Cake, a series of songs made for and inspired by Lincoln-Vogel’s award-winning short film Zorg 2.
July 2016 – First tour in mainland Europe, with The Grasping Straws – playlist
2016 – Wrote his 200th song.
2015 – made Crazy & the Brains frontman Chris Urban’s Best of 2015 list in PunkNews with Shriekofafreak! – write-up
March 2015 – Supported Current Joys at Palisades in NYC – write-up
March 2014 – Collaborated with Jeffrey Lewis on a cover of “Lady Godiva’s Operation” by The Velvet Underground – video
2014 – Voted one of NYC’s Best Emerging Artists by readers of The Deli Magazine – link
February 2014 – Photographed and written up as part of a New York Times feature on prominent performers in the NYC open mic scene, also including Dylan Mars Greenberg – link
2013-’15 – Became closely involved with a new wave of artists in NYC’s antifolk movement that was emerging at the time, performing with both established and up-and-coming antifolk and antifolk-adjacent artists such as Sunflower Bean, Matthew Silver, Days N’ Daze, Brook Pridemore, David Peel, Jeffrey Lewis, Crazy & the Brains, and members of The Moldy Peaches.
2012 – Changed stage name and band name to the name of his childhood dog, Cannonball Statman, after a bizarre hand injury significantly changed his songwriting and guitar style. Collaborated with the late hip hop pioneer Kid Lucky (video).
Selected Career Highlights (2000-’11)
2011 – Graduated from high school, and began to perform live on a more frequent basis, starting with a packed concert at Perch Cafe in Brooklyn with performance poet Jane LeCroy, and an appearance at the First Annual Hudson Music Festival.
2010 – Wrote his 100th song.
2002-’03 – Was a guitarist, songwriter, and vocalist in Caution Tape, with members of Fiasco.
2002 – Began writing, recording, and performing music and learning to play guitar and sing, forming The Band Of The Land with percussionist and singer Beth Heuer. Released early cassettes on the underground scene in NYC. Started production on short film The Scarf.
2000-’01 – Collaborated with his grandpa, the poet Kenneth Koch, on a series of poetry comics, shortly before Kenneth’s death.
Tech rider for solo performances
Cannonball’s solo performances are done with one acoustic-electric guitar and vocals. For amplified solo performances, he only requires a vocal mic and stand, a PA system, and something to plug his guitar cable into.
He often has merchandise with him on tour, and likes for there to be a table to set up his merchandise, preferably near a power outlet or a light so the merchandise can be well-lit and visible if the space is dark.
Cannonball normally travels alone when he tours as a solo artist, unless he has additional artists on the road with him. He is allergic to shellfish, raw carrots, and some cats. He doesn’t drink alcohol or do any drugs (except for caffeine). He likes to have at least one cup of coffee in the morning, black, with no sugar, either a double espresso or an americano.
Press Kits (.pdf)
To request a version of the Hard to Break press kit for media purposes that includes links for streaming and downloading the album prior to its release, contact Kléo Michel-Valentin SPARK: firstname.lastname@example.org