Hanging outside a west Las Vegas coffee shop, Brendan Scholz looks kind of like a human shadow.
Clad in a black leather jacket with equally dark hair and a tattoo of a spider beneath his left eye, he sits in direct opposition to the rays of sunlight occasionally poking through the storm clouds above.
But Scholz’s demeanor is considerably brighter than his attire, at least on this day.
“I’m forever a dreamer,” he says, speaking of a new project, Mercy Music, that has clearly buoyed his spirits of late.
Scholz has been knocked around the music business a bit, first with pop punks Lydia Vance, who signed a developmental deal with Atlantic Records that ultimately fell through, burning out the band.
Then he started Deadhand, a dusky, hard-driving rock group that’s still active. But Scholz doesn’t envision the band being able to sustain a full-time career in music.
And so he started Mercy Music, which is essentially a solo project at this point, just him and an acoustic guitar.
“It just happened organically, just kind of worked itself out and I went for it headfirst,” he explains.
Scholz has made a trio of tunes available on Facebook, stirring songs that turn the volume down but not the emoting, with inspired singing and subtle Americana influences.
He calls it redemption pop, and true to that tag, the songs feel dauntless and full of promise.
“It’s the most stressed out, the most broke I’ve ever been, but I actually feel the most confidence in this, because everything’s coming together the right way,” Scholz says between drags of a cigarette.
“With this, I can basically do whatever I want on my own terms. There’s no limitation to what it can be. I can go any way with it, and that’s what’s really cool about it. It gives me total artistic freedom to do whatever and then put a guitar in a car and go.”
Scholz has already completed a one-week California tour as Mercy Music and performs tonight at the Beauty Bar, opening for Old Man Markley.
He envisions a time when he will recruit a backing band, but is revelling in the freedom of doing everything himself right now.
It’s given this self-professed dreamer a new reason to dream.
“It’s kind of given me a rebirth,” he says. “I have a lot more hope.”
Contact reporter Jason Bracelin at email@example.com or