Sunday, May 13, 2007

Jeffrey Gaines ...

My cousin Patty gets the credit for turning me on to Jeffrey Gaines. Many years ago - more years than seem possible to have passed - she was playing his CD "Somewhat Slightly Dazed" and I was instantly hooked. I bought my own copy as soon as I could.

And then, years later, I bought "Galore." And then, Friday, I bought "Toward the Sun." I was in a CD store. So was "Toward the Sun." There was no way we weren't leaving together. I bought it based on his name alone. I didn't listen to it first. "Jeffrey Gaines" on the cover is recommendation enough for me.

I put it on when I got home and holy mother of God, this album. I dig the others (and there are three others I need to buy), but this album, it just speaks to me on another level.

If you haven't heard his tunes, your musical life is poorer for it. I just checked for him on BMG Music Service and I got this:

We're sorry, there are no Jeffrey Gaines albums available at this time.

Below are similar artists you may enjoy.

Lenny Kravitz

Well, yeah. I guess Gaines has a Kravitz feel, but they're very different artists. Kravitz may be more known, but if someone asked me who has more soul as an artist, I'd easily give the nod to Gaines. Not that I don't dig Lenny. I have a couple of his albums. But come to think of it, I haven't listened to them in ages.

I often wonder about the differences between artists who make a big - though not necessarily sustained - splash and those who continue to produce albums over the long haul. Gaines' eponymous album was released 15 years ago. HIs most recent effort, a live album, was released in 2004. Why does one artist garner the recognition while the other remains less known? Maybe it all comes down to marketing. Or maybe some artists are content with a certain - some would say sane - level of success.

Gaines probably doesn't live in a multimillion-dollar house in Greenwich Village, but I suspect he's not living out of a box, either. His web site mentions that when he tours, he knows what song will open a show, but then he lets his audience help determine the rest of the set, either by the vibe of the group or a suggestion called out from the crowd. I love that. Artists like him don't have huge followings but the fans are loyal and know the music well.

I put "Toward the Sun" on in the car yesterday when I drove Brian home after our session. Brian, being a sound guy, automatically looks at liner notes to see who produced an album, and where, and can divine all sorts of information out of a few names and places, things that mean nothing to me. But sound is what he does - oh so well! - and sound is what he knows, so the players are known to him. Apparently, this album was the product of some industry heavy-hitters.

Check it out the next time you're on iTunes or Amazon. Or look for his discs the next time you're shopping for CDs. His albums aren't overly produced. They're beautiful showcases for his voice and his guitars and his lyrics.


Anonymous Liz said...

Hey Beth,
Glad to find another true JG fan!
Can I use this on my jg site?


5:56 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

Hey, Liz:

Sure, you can use it, so long as you include a link back to my site.

Cool of you to tell the world about Jeffrey. He's a truly amazing artist. I look forward to seeing him in or around Chicago some day soon.

7:43 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

I just listened to his cover of "In Your Eyes" on iTunes. Not bad at all. If you like him, you should try out Ben Harper if you haven't already.

11:17 PM  

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