Posts Tagged ‘vagabond’

Jeffery Straker Live at Revival, November 27th 2012

December 3, 2012

Calvin Fehr Photo    April 30 2012 455 crop 300DPI sm

I have seen Jeffery Straker before.  And I can show you what I saw, because I also filmed that show and made two little ‘tour vlogs’ out of the performance and backstage antics. (Part One, Part Two)  Needless to say, I love this guy as a performer and a songwriter, so the Toronto CD release party at Revival last week was a priority.

Here I must note that you can distinguish Jeffery now with the addition of a middle name: classic ‘Jeffery Straker’ and the new ‘Jeffery Michael Straker.’  Or JS and JMS for short.  The former, a piano-cabaret riot.  The latter, well…he’s still a riot, but there’s an alternative twist to his sound.  And you could see the difference in the performance when we switched between JS and JMS.

Both were amazing to watch.  I shouldn’t let what I just said confuse you.  Just it was like the difference between…and I’m sure he’ll kill me for this…’Mmmm Bop’ Hanson and the alt-rock trio Hanson which emerged a couple of years later.  Both are awesome…one is fun, the other is fun and refined.

Actually, better…the difference between Til Tuesday and Aimee Mann.

Starting off with the track Rosetta Stone from his new Danny Michel produced album ‘Vagabond‘ set the tone that this wasn’t going to be like last year’s Revival show, which came complete with Burlesque dancers.  Following this up with his first single from the album, Birchbark Canoe was only outshone by the fact that beloved children’s entertainer Fred Penner joined him on stage to play harmonica (his mimed performance of Jeffery choking him on the streets of Toronto brought me straight back to Fred Penner’s Place…for some reason…I don’t know why, Fred never got choked on that show!)

Slings and Arrows and Gone, two tracks from ‘Under the Soles of my Shoes‘ were spot on and showed the similarities between JS and JMS: the songwriting is still there though the underlying mood has changed.  You could tell this performance was honed from years of shows and this recent tour supporting ‘Vagabond.’

I must admit that the two songs that hit me the most were Burn the Boats with some extra help from some very talented vocalists, and the only cover of the night, Shiver Me Timbers originally by Tom Waits.  Really…the Tom Waits track was the one that settled JMS into my mind.  The sombre and pained tones of Waits’ piano from the album ‘The Heart of Saturday Night‘ (during his early blues piano days, like Ol’ 55 and Grapefruit Moon, not the Swordfishtrombonesiness of ‘Rain Dogs’…) was an interesting choice that would not have worked during the ‘…Soles of my Shoes‘ shows.  It would have been like Lady Gaga breaking into Cats in the Cradle.

But it worked last Tuesday at Revival.  Because I wasn’t watching JS…I was watching JMS…and it wasn’t jarring, or strange.  It was actually quiet awesome, and I can’t wait to see more.

You can find Jeffery Straker tweeting away @jefferystraker and on Facebook too.  For all things informative and musical, head to his website!

The Set List:

Rosetta Stone
Birchbark Canoe (feat. Fred Penner)
Slings & Arrows (from 2011 album)
Fallin (from earlier repertoire)
Gone (2011 album)
Burn the Boats (guest vocalists)
Botanic Gardens
Shiver me Timbers (Tom Waits)
Raven
Myopia
Somewhere Between (earlier repertoire)
Sans Souci

Advertisements

Jeffery Straker – Botanic Gardens video

November 13, 2012

Must admit, I already had a soft spot for Jeffery Straker…in part, because I’ve had the chance to work with him on a couple of occasions, but mainly because of his awesome songwriting that bounces between piano pop and cabaret.  His latest album, ‘Vagabond,’ was produced by Kitchener-Waterloo songwriter and producer Danny Michel…another soft-spotty artist o’ mine.

The Botanic Gardens video softens me up even more…probably because of its unapologetic and tongue-in-cheek queerness!  Very fun, very cute, and a great song to boot!

There aren’t very many gay-themed videos – whether they be subtle or over the top – in general.  I mean, Carly Rae went ‘gay’ in her Song Of The Summer smash ‘Call Me Maybe‘ (at least, the object of her affections did) but that was the traditional usage of homos in music videos – comic relief.

In Botanic Gardens, as in Bronski Beat’s ‘Smalltown Boy‘ or Macklemore’s ‘Same Love,’ it’s just a natural part of the story of the video.  Though comparing the three isn’t really fair: Smalltown Boy was an early success at telling the story of rejected gay youth, and Same Love is a modern-day protest song…where Botanic Garden could never be mistaken for ‘political.’

It’s a pretty, well-written song and a pretty, well-filmed video where the main character just happens to be gay…as are several of the passers-by.

Though Jeffery…why you gotta scoot away from the poor bear!  It’s clear he’s into you!!!

…I’m gonna pay for that one…