Standout Track: No. 2, “Come at Me Gently,” from Petworth singer/songwriter Seán Barna’s upcoming EP, Cutter Street. It’s his first release as a solo artist after drumming stints in a handful of bands (including D.C.’s the Droids We’re Looking For) and the national Broadway tour of The Producers. A strummy ode of love and loss—plus booze—Barna’s tune offers a taste of bare-bones ’70s folk à la James Taylor via raw vocals, soaring guitars, and slow-build piano. Recorded at The Fortress studio in L.A., Cutter Street is set to be released on September 6.

Musical Motivation: “So I drove to the coast/Thinking this time I’ll make the most of this,” Barna croons on “Come at Me Gently.” This nod to the open road isn’t metaphorical: Barna penned the track while driving into California on a cross-country road trip from D.C. “It’s a very poetic thing, you know? Driving through the West,” he says. “I was crossing into the valley from the mountains and the melody just popped into my head. I pretty much wrote the entire song while I was driving.”

The (Un)Happiest Place on Earth: The bulk of Cutter Street was inspired by Barna’s time in L.A., where he briefly worked at Disney corporate. “I hated it,” he says. “In L.A., I was surrounded by so many creative people who were making art and doing what they loved, which wasn’t the case for me. So I quit my job, crashed on a friend’s couch, and put everything that I had into making this EP.” Since returning to D.C., Barna has ramped up his work, keeping a quick songwriting pace. “I have tons of songs,” he says. “I could go into the studio tonight and record an entire LP, but we’ll see where this goes first.”

Seán Barna plays with Filligar at DC9 on Saturday, July 26. Stream “Come at Me Gently” after the jump.