Nice vocals, great harmonies and of course, awsome Country music. I love the uniqness of your music, it really stands out and deserves great attention, I will be playin it here on The Back Porch Show and I will tell all of my friends! - Mitchell Keller 'Borderline Music Networks'
Jeffrey Clarke: Press
Jeffrey Clarke on "Centerstage Minnesota".
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 15, 2009
"Fellin' Fine" by Jeffrey Clarke (Country/Rock Artist from Wisconsin(WI))
Jeffrey Clarke's "Feelin' Fine" album is Country Rock that doesn't stop. His voice is pitch perfect and is complimented by the tight, well balanced instrumentation. Highlighting the vocals is the country style piano that almost plays a duet next to his voice. "Small Town Gone," being led by the drum beat, sounds more than radio ready. Later in the album, the harmonica on "They Got Their Reasons" gives the song the somber self-loathing touch Clarke was looking to achieve. With heart straight from the south, "Feelin' Fine" comes out to 10 terrific songs of Country Rock that would help fill out any great music collection.
-Matt M. and the RadioIndy.com Reviewer Team
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 29, 2009
Jeffrey Clarke + High Bongo + Brother Ali = Awesome
by Doug MacRostie
It's always good to keep an open mind - actually, it's necessary to keep an open mind - when presenting a true variety of music. No matter how much I want to listen to some loud screaming guitars or thumping beats, working at KAXE keeps my mind pried open and experiencing new things. Case and point: I normally wouldn't pick up a Country-Rock CD to jam out to in the car, and I would have missed the crafty and intelligent songwriting of Jeffrey Clarke. He'll be joining me in-studio this Thursday night at 6 on Centerstage MN to talk about his new CD "Feelin' Fine." From Chicago, with lots of time spent around Effie, Jeffrey started playing music at an early age as a drummer but switched to piano and guitar for songwriting and after years with rock and metal bands realized his songwriting and lifestyle were a better fit with country music. I should say, I'm NOT referring to dumbed down, pop-country b.s. - but actual songwriting with stories, messages and introspection that is often lacking in modern country music. Jeffrey will have his guitar along in the studio to perform some live music as we talk about his latest, and best-yet, CD.
How'd you like to introduce your friends to a rising star?
His name is JEFFREY CLARKE, and I guarantee, if you play his (Barstool) CD for your friends, they'll be in awe of your savvy and foresight in picking him as your very first favorite country artist. I tell ya, Slick, Clarke is just what you're looking for: a singer-songwriter whose crisp vocals are perfectly suited to today's country crossover genre: You'll notice quick nods to Willie Nelson, Jim Croce, Neil Diamond, and Jimmy Buffet, to name a few, in his broadly appealing style.
"My musical tastes are so diverse that it would be hard to nail down any specific influences," Clarke says, "but I can say that I pay more attention to the singers who write their own songs more than anything. I also love a boogie-woogie piano; Brad Paisley is a god on the guitar (he seems to be the only current country player that has a very distinct sound and style); and a good song is a good song, no matter what type of music it comes from."
Growing up in the Chicago area, Clarke was exposed to country music largely through the radio station his father listened to, where "George Jones, Merle, Waylon, Dolly -- any of the greats" getting airplay at the time had what would prove to be a lasting impact. Okay, so learning to play the drums and discovering rock & roll took him down a different path for a while -- he beat the skins for "a bunch of different bands," before switching, in his late teens, from drums to guitar and piano. "It is much easier to write songs on the guitar or piano than it is on the drums," Clarke remarks. (Oh, this guy's a keeper.) His band experience diversified as he found himself covering "every rock genre from Heavy Metal, to Classic Rock, to Alternative and even an Ozzy tribute band."
But he wanted to be a songwriter. And the material he was writing just didn't work with the type of music he was playing. "Band members would always complain that I was too mellow, or the song didn't have a hard enough edge," he says. "It wasn't until I went back to listening to country music that my songs, and lifestyle for that matter, seemed to fit."
Lucky for us, Clarke's tender way with a ballad found its rightful comfort zone. Check out "Dance Floor," "All Our Prayers," and the especially poignant "Anywhere." You'll also be a goner for the foot-tapping vibe he spices his upbeat numbers with -- I hear from those who've enjoyed his recent gigs in the Deer Lake, MN area that he quickly gets you dancing your feet off. I can tell you I don't recommend listening to this CD in your truck. There's no room to do a two-step to "Barstool," the first track, and pretty much all you'll need to get hooked on Jeffrey Clarke. This sticky (as in, sticks in your CD player for repeated listening) first album is a fine mix of swing and introspection, with Clarke's tuneful voice transitioning seamlessly. I know what that'll have you doing next -- searching the 'Net for more from him. Give the man time. Geez, first you're reluctant to get into country & western, and now you're greedy? Yeah, he'll do that to you. . . .
Make sure you brag to your pals, Slick, that Clarke wrote all the songs on the CD and played nearly all the instruments -- guitar, piano, bass, drums, and mandolin. Chico Welch gets credit for the fiddle. And that just-right blend of backing vocals is thanks to Bill Ebner and Karen Clarke. Finally, here's another newsy note for you: Jeffrey Clarke is a teacher in the Chicago suburbs when he's not making new country music fans like you're about to be. Obviously a man of many gifts. Treat everybody you know this first of many on CD he'll soon be sharing with a vast fan base. And you're welcome for the hot tip.