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The Boiler Room

Cape May NJ

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August 2009


      Remind me next time JG's in town to be at the door well before the advertised doors open time. If only I had ignored the rules and shown up way early, it would have been a totally different show. I walked in right on time only to discover that all the good seats up front were taken so I had to settle for a seat right next to the bar where the focus of the evening was clearly not what was going on up on that stage. Of course that's the deal with the bar scene where the objective is to drink fast until inhibitions are sufficiently lowered and proceed to hook up with the least objectionable target. The hunt is all that matters. I've seen that show before - not a fan. So I like to get in early and sit up front. I've already got a date and actually want to hear the music.

        The hubby and I had spent the afternoon in lovely Cape May, an annoyingly perfect little fairy tale village, where tourists commute to ice cream parlors via foot-powered surreys. Walking through town I felt eerily as if I'd been transported to Sea Haven Island where all of Truman's friends and neighbors are scripted and life is one big illusion. Now I was definitely in the mood for something real. And it doesn't get more real than Jeffrey Gaines.


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       Without fanfare or introduction, Jeff stepped up to the mike and started the set with Happy That, following up with a few more fan favorites...I Know a Man, Shake it Off, Hero In Me... and a request from a young newlywed couple who wanted to hear their wedding song...you guessed it - Always Be. As he serenaded them, they got up and began to dance. Everyone else in the room disappeared as they gazed into each other's eyes. It was a beautiful moment. Near the end of the song, another couple joined them and Jeffrey generously and seamlessly sang it twice to keep the love flowing. Definitely the highlight of the evening.

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      About halfway through the show, the manager announced that it was Jeffrey's birthday and we all sang to him. He seemed pretty uncomfortable with the whole thing like all he really wanted for his birthday was to get back to the mike.

      Jeffrey's banter rambled from his childhood search for the elusive dream girl to the memories that are conjured while performing, recalling the evolution of a song. We couldn't hear much of his monologue back in the happy hunting grounds but I do recall him wishing for a super highway above traffic for professionals so they'd never be late.

  And speaking of above ground...I find it pretty amusing that above ground Congress Hall is about as establishment as it gets while downstairs the Boiler Room projects that kind of gritty underground speakeasy from back in the day where only the cool people hung out. Here's the amusing part: it's just more illusion.

      Even though I was totally digging the lighting FX, the edgy vibe was completely bogus, the "boiler" was downright creepy - right out of a horror flick - and the clientèle, with a few exceptions, was seriously deficient in cool. The cool people would know that it's so not cool to block everybody's view of the stage for half the show while you chat loudly with your friends about your sunburn.

         So now that we've established what cool is not, what is cool anyway? If you're authentic in every way, is that cool...even if you're a social outcast? If you take insane risks to pull off some death-defying stunt, is that cool...even if you end up in the hospital and get arrested? Is Jeffrey cool just because he can sing and play guitar? No, Jeffrey is cool because he was born with it. He may disagree but even if it didn't show when he was a kid, it was there - germinating. And it's got nothing to do with what he wears, drives or does for a living. Cool comes from a deeper place than that. To be truly cool ya just gotta know - and I mean really know - that whatever happens, 'every little thing's gonna be all right.'

Stay cool y'all...


EJ




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Tin Angel


April 2009

 
     April in Philly - ya gotta love it.  Sunny and warm one day, torrential downpours the next. But tonight we got option c; gale force winds and a 30 degree drop in temperature. Just when I'd decided to pack up the winter gear the old March lion came roaring back. Didn't matter though, inside the Tin Angel it was all warm and fuzzy as we spent an intimate evening with Jeffrey Gaines.

Wine and candlelight set the mood as we acknowledged friends, fans and other familiar faces. It wasn't long before JG appeared onstage sporting freshly spiked hair and a western shirt - black with white roses - a clear departure from the usual t-shirt and denim jacket. He retrieved something from his pocket as he greeted us - a pair of blueblockers which he quickly donned to complete the new look.
Was this a side of JG we've never seen before? Some inner transformation now manifesting subconsciously? A deliberate tribute to Johnny Cash and Bono? Or perhaps - and this is a stretch - the lenses make the lights a bit easier on the peepers and the shirt, tried on for kicks just felt soooo good...


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Once he started singing there was no doubt that what we were hearing was pure Jeffrey Gaines. His vocals were golden. As I recall he wasn't very talkative that night. He was so focused you could cut the intensity with a knife.  Jeff was soul personified as he delivered Right My Wrongs , A Simple Prayer and Dark Love Song and by the time he was done cranking up the heat on I'll Have You, I assure you every woman in the place had melted into a puddle and the new shirt and glasses had suddenly become downright sexy.
 
 
 

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     By the end of the night we had gotten our money's worth - 10 times over. He gave us everything. Seeing Jeffrey Gaines perform isn't just going to a show, it's an experience... like the best roller coaster ride ever. Before he takes the stage we strap ourselves in and everything goes dark. He starts off with something comfortable and familiar then he suddenly veers left. He takes us to the highest point then lets go and we're free falling. Then just before we hit the ground he gives us a soft place to land. By the time it's over we feel like we've gone exploring in some other dimension and defied a little bit of gravity. We leave with a big grin...and all we want to do is get back in line so we can do it all over again.

EJ
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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BB King's
New York
January 2009    
 
     The place was jumpin' for a Thursday night but then again this was New York - the city that never sleeps. I was one of the first to arrive so I had my choice of seats - front and center - allright! I was joined by my husband and my niece. We had two hours to kill but it went quickly. It was my niece's birthday so we had our own little party and shared a mountain of nachos. We had barely blown out the candle on her cupcake when the announcer introduced the first act.
    
    
 

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    Matt Lowell was a surprise. With his boyish good looks and clean-cut appearance he'd have blended well on any ivy league campus. He was cute, funny and at ease on the big stage. The surprise was that this kid had a distinctive voice. A little green maybe but that's so refreshing these days. His sound was pure and as he sang  I could hear shades of John Mayer and Ray La Montagne along with echoes of folk balladeers past. Our young poet seemed to posess a wisdom beyond his years and an urgency beyond his experience. I'm sure we'll be hearing more from him.
Check him out at www.mattlowell.com
 
      After a short break, Clara Lofaro took her place behind the keyboard with our talented friend Jamie perched on the cajon. I just saw her at the Tin Angel in Philly a few weeks back and became an instant fan. Her new cd, Perfekt World, has now earned a permanent spot on my mp3 player.
 

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     A versatile performer with strong vocals and dreamy lyrics, Clara wears her heart on her sleeve and compels us to do the same. She captivates us and we are drawn into her world; feeling every bit of her pain and longing as she croons her stories and lighting up like fireflies when she smiles.
   A clueless crowd in one corner of the room was loudly chattering and laughing, totally oblivious to what was happening on stage but it was their loss. They missed out on something special.
Check her out at www.claralofaro.com
 
     The crowd was still buzzing from Clara's set when Jeff sauntered up to the mike, placing his gear bag on the stool beside him. He greeted the crowd briefly and launched into Fear, following quickly with Happy That
    

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Later, as he tuned his guitar, someone shouted "What's in the bag?" to which Jeff responded with his usual laid-back humor, informing us at length that there was nothing magical about the bag and assuring us that it had no future role in the show. Meanwhile, both jumbo screens zoomed in on the bag.
    And speaking of zooming in... I had just got a new camera for my birthday a few days before so I spent half the night playing around with the settings and being completely obnoxious with my flash. I apologize to everyone whom I may have annoyed but you know how it is when you get a new toy.
    Around mid-show, Jeffrey took a minute to plug his new online music store and merch site. He joked about having his own calendar and I didn't know whether to be proud or embarassed to own one.
     I'm sure you all must wonder from time to time why I keep going to show after show but I gotta tell ya - I live for those perfect moments and there were quite a few this night. Wish it Away - greatness. Simple Prayer - incredible. How could I sit at home knowing I might be missing that?

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     Jeff closed with his lullaby to the fans, Always Be, but of course, we demanded one more. Jeff obliged with a rockin' Stones version of Shake it Off, ending the night with a bang.
      Keep checking those tour dates and come on out with us. Life can be an endless cycle of stress and monotony so why not treat yourself to a little fun once in awhile? Take a day for yourself, see the sites of the city then take in a Jeffrey Gaines show. Then you can go back to the routine with a smile on your face and a song in your heart.
 
Later!
 
Liz
 
 
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Tin Angel

November 2008 

 

Homecoming. The word evokes a wave of nostalgia riding in on a crisp autumn breeze, the aroma of burning wood and Thanksgiving turkey, cozy gatherings and celebrations filled with familiar faces and warm embraces. Put the worries on the back burner and join the party. Yes, it was homecoming at the Tin Angel and we all rallied around our local hero to celebrate him home from his recent east coast tour.

The room was packed with old friends and new. All tables were reserved and as latecomers scrambled to claim a stool close to the stage, I settled into my favorite spot and sipped a glass wine, eagerly anticipating the first strum of the guitar.

The pre-show music selection was carefully chosen from a milk crate stacked high with familiar albums from the world of pop;  post-Beatles, pre-Britney. Hall and Oates, Lou Rawls and Dire Straits crooned and wailed as I did some catching up with my JG family.

The lights dimmed…showtime!

 

Clara Lofaro stepped up and parked herself behind a stretch limo of a keyboard. Starting the set with Waterfall, a tune from her new cd, Perfekt World, this Toronto-born dynamo proved to us once again that good things come in small packages. Petite and charming, Clara burst into bloom before our eyes like a desert flower after the rain; fresh, bold and vivacious.

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Backed by wunderkind Jamie on bass, percussion (including my new favorite – the cajon) and vocals, Clara skillfully mastered an impressive vocal range, her style a sumptuous soup of familiar flavors, reminiscent of Barbara Streisand, Sheryl Crow and Bonnie Raitt, with a few secret ingredients that are hers alone. Equally at ease with all genres, Clara can belt it out or take it down to a whisper, altering the tempo as effortlessly as the wind changes direction. She takes us on a journey of sound; down through the depths, earthy, sultry and soulful one moment, and in the next we’re sailing through the clouds.

After her set we chatted a bit and she signed my cd. What more can I say – I’m a fan! Check her out at http://www.claralofaro.com/

 

With the crowd nicely warmed up, Jeffrey arrived on the scene, sporting a red and black bandana over his gravity-defying rocker hair. Love it! He brought a doctor’s bag filled with an assortment of onstage necessities, an energy drink, a leopard print hankie for the sweat…the rest is a mystery but I’m willing to bet there’s a pack of Big Red or Hubba Bubba somewhere in there.

 

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Jeff opened with Happy That and much to my great surprise and delight, followed with the obscure, but beautiful, Make Him Believe from More Galore, which I had never heard him play live before (thanks Jeff). Give it a listen sometime.

As it turns out, this show was full of surprises. The hubby was excited to hear one of his often requested but seldom (if ever) played tunes, Wish it Away, but halfway through Jeff lost focus and gave it up claiming “some things are best left on the record.” In his defense, it is a very long, very intense song. Later, he totally channeled Bowie when he sang Heroes. At one point if you closed your eyes you’d swear it was David Jones himself up there.

His banter covered a wide range of topics, from family issues to his recent tour with Shawn Colvin. Jeff ended with the quintessential rock anthem, Hero in Me and this time I wasn’t the only one singing along.

 

We were treated to another Clara Lofaro set. I had spent the whole first show trying to place why her voice sounded so familiar. Turns out she’s the voice singing When You Wish Upon a Star in the Disney commercial – you know the one where they say “You just won the superbowl, what are you going to do next?”

You can catch her in her hometown –NYC. The last song she played was sweet and sad, filled with passion and longing. I was so absorbed by it that I completely forgot to take note of the title. I’m sure I will get to see her play again someday, maybe opening for Jeff in New York, where she has a large following.

 

Jeffrey returned to the stage in a totally different frame of mind. Whereas in the first set he seemed a little antsy, restless, unclear of which direction to take, this new Jeffrey was focused, synthesizing all of his energy like a Zen master and pouring it all into his guitar and vocals. Starting with You Believe in Me he progressed, without a word, to All of the Will in the World.

On the next song, Nursery Rhyme, Jeff invited our very cute and talented young friend Jamie to sit in. Jeff seemed energized by the beat. I was hoping he would join him again later in the set but the show took a different turn. During Praise or Blame Jeff blew out an amp or something and was forced to go low-tech with true acoustic. I love how he is able to just go with the flow, turning problems into tools for creative expression. He immediately toned it down and played all the profound, soul-searching songs; digging deep and pulling up raw emotion, crafting each song as though it were the first time he was performing it. He revisited Wish It Away and this time pulled it off with perfection, even better than the record. It was so essentially human, ferociously passionate and thoroughly transcendental. Amazing.That was the highlight of the night, the week, the season and an early Christmas present for me.

 

*Happy Holidays everyone!*

 

-Liz

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World Café Live

Philly

November 2008

 

On an otherwise uneventful Sunday afternoon, I took the train into 30th St. station and walked the familiar three blocks to World Café Live. Taking in it’s décor, a seamless blending of modern, urban and art deco design, I found it hard to believe that just a few short years ago it served as a humble plumbing supply warehouse.

I had been upstairs many times but it was my first time downstairs at WCL. Surprisingly, it was Jeffrey’s first time too, an occasion long overdue. The ambiance in the New York inspired bistro was vibrant, chic and spacious. I ordered a basket of onion rings and a beer and waited for the show to begin.

          It had been almost three months since my last JG show and I had begun to suffer from withdrawal but it was soooooo worth the wait. I wish you all could have been there. It was an amazing performance from the moment Jeff stepped out looking sharp in a black jacket, crisp white shirt, black and white tie and gray (was it silver?) vest. He cleans up good! And when he began to sing it was confirmed that this night was going to be something special. 

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 Jeff seemed reenergized from his recent east coast tour.  He totally owned that stage! Completely at ease and smooth as velvet; Jeff  masterfully crafted each syllable, his vocals  perfectly complemented by the unbelievably clear and full-toned acoustics at WCL. It doesn’t get better than this (and the onion rings weren’t bad either).

Jeff opened with I Know a Man and followed with Safety in Self. The crowd loved it. Then he surprised us all by introducing his neighbor, Floreta Shapiro, a gifted cellist from Romania who accompanied him on the next four songs – Headmasters, Hero In Me , Praise or Blame and You Believe In Me. It was absolutely beautiful. I hope she will play for him again. It gave the songs such rich texture. I could almost visualize the layers of sound intertwining like colored ribbons. Jeff ended the set with To Be Free.

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What a show! The man was in his element and lit up the room. I am hesitant to describe this concert with the usual superlatives. They ring hollow in the air and don’t even begin to do it justice. Like watching the night sky light up during a meteor shower or the grand finale of  Fourth of July fireworks, you just had to be there. Some things take you beyond words. Love, beauty and joy resonate in the spirit and nourish the soul. We could attempt to describe it until all words are exhausted, we could use up a thousand rolls of film, we could gather hours of video and never capture the magic. Last night I felt that kind of magic and it was wonderful.

Hope to see you all for Homecoming at the Tin Angel .

 

-EJ
 
 
 
 
JG at Puck
August 2008
(by guest reviewer BAMPFO)

At Puck on Fri. night JG came out to set up and put 3 beers on the stool. I guess he was hoping to drown his sorrows. After singing a couple of songs, he told us he wasn't in a great state of mind & was jet lagged. He had been in Denver, hoping to get into the music scene supporting Obama & wasn't pleased with the outcome.
The good news is that this time, the audience was completely into the show. They cheered & whooped his every move.
I left Puck half deaf in one ear thanks to the howler monkey at the next table.:-) I could see JG transform as the show went on. He started smiling & joking around and eventually gave away 2 of his beers. For a big guy like him, 3 beers is probably nothing but I'd be under the table at the end of one.

Hope you enjoyed your holiday weekend. I can't wait for the school bus tomorrow morning!
 
-bampfo

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The Boiler Room

Cape May, NJ

August 19 2008

 

Every year in late August my family heads down the shore for a week of much-needed R & R. We swim, we play, we eat junk food. This year, to my surprise and delight, there was the added bonus of a Jeffrey Gaines concert (I swear I didn’t know that when we booked the trip)! I grabbed a taxi from the bus station and waddyaknow, the cabbie’s a fan. 

If you’ve never been to Cape May let me tell ya it is sublimely surreal. A perfect little village of gingerbread dollhouses where the flowers always match the drapes and there’s an ice cream parlor on every corner. You’ve got to see it to believe it!

I entered the ballroom and found a spot near the stage. Gotta get there early to get the good seats. The room was tastefully decorated with white linen tablecloths and palm trees. Ghosts of weddings past hovered in the air. I took a sip of wine as 150 locals parked their bikes and began to fill up the room.

Jeffrey greeted the crowd warmly, and somehow I knew this was going to be a good show. He started off quiet but soon found the audience was alive and kicking after all and cranked it up a notch. Wish you could have been there because our man Jeff was in rare form, effortlessly belting out the power notes and artfully mastering each subtle inflection. The sound system wasn’t too shabby either.

Jeffrey seemed relaxed and just happy being in his skin. The salt air will do that to ya. He flattered all the women in the crowd, commenting on how good we looked and bringing out the camcorder. He panned around the room then handed the camera to my friend Becky and put her to work filming the next song, I Know a Man.

After that, he put the camera away and asked for a request. I usually ask for Together but he's reluctant to play it because he thinks it’s better with a beat. I agree but it’s still a great song and I love it. My next choice is  Change Gonna Come but that was too heavy so I decided to go with Your Town and it was just right. Jeff really got into that old school soulful groove and moved right into Who’s Makin Love (to Your Old Lady). Of course that launched the topic of infidelity and guilty pleasures and before ya knew it he was playing Everything.  Now I’ve heard that song a bunch of times and usually I can handle it but this time (was it just me?) it got downright steamy! Maybe it seemed especially scandalous in contrast to sweetness and purity of Cape May or maybe it was just the wine.  

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A few songs later I had to smile and sing along when he sang Seagull, so appropriate for the shore – well, except for the shooting part. I’ve always been fond of seagulls, since I was first introduced to Jonathan Livingston back in high school. Unlike pigeons and sparrows, they really do seem to enjoy their flying. I also like the way laughing gulls always sign off with an “oo.”

Jeff teased us with the intro to Roadhouse Blues and was more than surprised when the audience began to sing 'roll, baby roll.' 

“I didn’t expect that to happen…here where you’re all ridin’ around on your bicycles built for two – I was expecting maybe the Carpenters soundtrack.”

 

 

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Someone asked about the skateboard propped up against a chair onstage and Jeff proudly showed off his new toy – a gift from someone on the west coast. It had the new JG logo and blue truck lights underneath. He  went on to speak freely with the crowd, entertaining us with his stories and answering  random questions with ease. After so many years of performing at every possible venue and event Jeff has developed the skills of a true showman. Like a stand-up comic he deftly handles the crowd with grace and humor.

There was a request for In Your Eyes and Jeff checked his watch, nodding in agreement...curfew time. When the last note was played he wished us all good night and left the stage. The audience rose to its feet and would ya believe this cute little resort town got downright rowdy to bring him back for one more song. We’re talkin’ whoopin' and stompin' here. Jeff returned to the stage and topped it off with Over and Over (another great beach tune) and closed with my favorite – Together! Yes!!

 

Life is good.

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Tin Angel

July 2008

 

Last night, as I waited in line in the overheated stairwell at the Tin Angel, I was excited to be at a JG show again.  It seemed like an eternity since the last one but in reality it’s only been 6 weeks.

I guess it felt longer because I missed seeing him at Concert Under the Stars this year and was pretty bummed. That’s always a highlight of my summer   (I’m a sucker for ambience). 

I was smiling broadly by the time I took my usual seat against the wall inches from the stage.  Yeah, I used to eat downstairs to get a reserved seat and all but now I just grab a burger somewhere and get in line early enough to save that spot right up front.  They are the most comfortable, not to mention the most rest-room-accessible seats in the house. Kinda feels like I’m part of the show up there. I also get a good view of the crowd from that vantage point and can truly see the give and take happening between Jeffrey and his audience. It’s a beautiful thing.

            The opening act was Laura Warshauer.  Wow - honest, bold, original, poetic, intense. I was captivated.  With her voice and guitar she projects the full spectrum of strength and vulnerability.  (photo -- name: (none); caption: Photo by Thaddeus Rombauer - www.studiothaddeus.com)At the tender age of 24, Laura performs like a well - seasoned veteran, and as it turns out she’s been at it since she was 14. It shows. Her phrasing and control were flawless, her expression pure and passionate. 

 

Check her out at http://www.myspace.com/laurawarshauer then go see her live!

            After a brief intro by the new sound chick (I’m guessing George opted for early retirement), Jeffrey took the stage, then doubled back for his guitar. He wasn’t very talkative at first, launching into The Change Has Come, followed by a few JG classics.  Then, as a tribute to Kurt Cobain, Jeffrey played a song he wrote that I had never heard before.  I think he said it was called My Loss.  He lightened up the whole suicide issue with a joke about how he’s too much of a procrastinator to take action with something so inevitable. 

 

 

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After playing a few more fan favorites Jeff began the storytelling phase of the evening. Although he thinks he talks too much during the set, I always love that part.  He’s hilarious and insightful and although much of what he says can’t be taken seriously, we still get a feel for who he is and where he’s coming from.

Last night Jeff talked about his latest spectator sport, watching the intoxicated clubbers letting out at closing time.  I must confess my college buddies and I once enjoyed a similar sport.  We’d sit on a wall at Broad and Spruce at around midnight with a six-pack and play ‘Guess That Gender’.

            Jeffrey teased us with just the intro of several covers, including Born to Run, Wonderwall and something from Thin Lizzy but he did deliver, in completion, John Lennon’s Love Is.  Beautiful.  He ended the set with the inevitable In Your Eyes, a request from the newbies, and left the stage. The crowd demanded an encore and Jeffrey obliged, returning to the stage to play To Be Free and Come Out Tonight.

Ah, another memorable night at the Tin Angel. The cherry on top was walking out with my brand new signed JG t-shirt. Woohoo!

 

Next stop – the Jersey shore. Hope to see you there!

 

-Liz

 

 

 

 

 

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B.B. King’s     May 2008

New York, NY

 

Living without a car can sometimes present a challenge. Getting to New York via public transit was a bit like the movie Planes, Trains and Automobiles, except for the planes (I don’t fly either).  It was more like bus, bus, train, train, cab.  After many delays, mad dashes and rush hour traffic jams I weaved my way through the usual sea of Times Square tourists to BB King’s Blues Club & Grill.  On my headphones I was listening to the big man himself belting out Playing With My Friends, one of my favorite songs ever, accompanied by Robert Cray and good ol’ Lucille.  I made my way quickly downstairs, hoping I was early enough to get a good seat.  It’s just not the same in the rafters. Ya gotta be close enough to see the sweat, the hooks and wires and the subtle little exchanges between musicians.

 

Five feet away from the stage, I settled in at my table with notebook, glasses and pen all within easy reach. Then I set my cell phone on vibrate and ordered a glass of wine.  My husband arrived and we filled each other in about the day’s adventures.  A nice couple joined our table and asked if we knew anything about the featured performer so, naturally, I gave them a crash course in JG 101.  Hope to see you guys next year.

 

Corb Lund was the opening act.  To my surprise, out stepped a bearded young Canadian country singer wearing a white stetson and a Jets t-shirt…that would be, of course, the Winnipeg Jets.  He was backed by a four piece band -complete with lapsteel and banjo- that he affectionately referred to as the Hurtin’ Albertans.

For the most part, their songs were catchy and fun – like what you might hear at a Texas wedding reception.  The third song featured the bass in an experimental fusion intro …very Apocalyptica.  Impressive.  The rest was a zydeco fest -sans accordion- of women, drinking and money (laissez les bon temps roulez),  along with some real downers about war and the fate of animals in the Rocky Mountains.  Although, not what you’d expect to find at a blues club, overall, I reckon Corb Lund was downright entertaining, not to mention pretty darn cute.

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Jeff and the band  - Mike Visceglia on bass (played with Suzanne Vega), Aaron Commes on drums (played with Spin Doctors) and our man Dan Weiss on keys (played with everybody) - took the stage, opening with the classic Happy That and following up with a few tunes from Toward the Sun. After a brief bio of the girl who inspired it, Jeff and the boys broke into a truly funky rendition of Choices. I gotta say Mike an Aaron were amazing performing these songs for the first time. And of course, Dan is just a master on those keys.

 

Next was one of my faves, the pop tirade, Your Town, in which Jeffrey stopped just before the end to place an elaborate and whimsical drink order while the band continued to play. He followed with Belle du Jour, dedicating it to Brooke White (the latest American Idol cast-off) and Shake It Off, featuring some killer bass.  At some point Jeffrey broke a string but with the greatest of ease, he changed it, in what seemed like only seconds, without interrupting the show. That's what being on the road half the year will do for ya.

 

Near the end of the show, Jeff gave a shout out to The Black Rock Coalition for their continued support, then graced us with a crowd-pleasing a capella rendition of In Your Eyes. He closed out the set with the quintessential existential anthem, Hero In Me.

 

As he bid us good night and left the stage, some folks headed for the exit but us die-hard fans, along with a few enthusiastic newbies, roared for more. He returned to the stage moments later for an encore, leading with Always Be, then invoked his recently departed friend and bandmate, Tom Gallagher, to join him and the band on I Like You. Apparently, Tom came through because it totally rocked the house!

 

Heading for home, I knew it would be a struggle to stay awake at work the next day but it was so worth it. Hey, that's what caffeine is for. So, it’s a school night. Ya gotta live a little. Good music, good food, good company. It doesn’t get much better than that.

 

Next stop, King of Prussia.

See ya there!

 

 - Liz

 

 

 

set list

happy that

I know a man

falling apart

beyond the beginning

over and over

to be free

choices

your town

belle du jour

shake it off

love disappears

five years

simple prayer

ill have you

in your eyes

hero

always be

i like you

 

 

 

 
Taylor's
Norristown, PA
February 9, 2008
 

I arrived at the old mill an hour early with a hearty appetite so I ventured downstairs to the Blue Room, an underground cave, where the band was kickin' it old school with a retro funk groove.  I grew up during that whole Sly Stone - Kool and the Gang - Ohio Players era and hearing it again brought on a flood of 70's flashbacks.  I had an awesome salad, bopping to the beat between bites, then headed upstairs to the Loft where there was a whole different vibe...laid back and mellow with white lace curtains and candlelight.  The band had a smooth Maroon 5 sound.  I totally enjoyed the contrast.  It was the perfect set up.

 

Jeffrey appeared in his new favorite hat (it's growing on me), black vest and scruffy beard and I couldn't help thinking "rasta pirate" (huge contradiction in terms there). After the first note I knew he was battling a touch of layryngitis, an all-too-familiar consequence of so many nights on the road.  But of such irritation are pearls formed.  Adversity reveals character and Jeffrey - was there ever a doubt - rose to the occasion, recreating melodies on the spot to accommodate his new lower range.  Gotta say that takes talent and faith, not to mention major cojones...looking out at all those expectant faces not sure exactly what's gonna come out but full steam ahead.

 

Jeff reached down to his toes to pull up the sound, occasionally hitting notes only dogs could hear.  The audience didn't seem to mind at all, responding enthusiastically to each song.  In fact, going by the reaction from the ladies in the crowd, that whole raspy thing was totally working for him...intense, passionate and at times downright steamy!

 

By mid-show Jeff's voice had warmed up a bit and he even belted out a few. Between songs he served up commentary on the political scene and threw in some pretty hilarious stories about his adventures on the road. The man could write a book.

 

In the end, JG knocked this one out, delivering an impassioned and powerful performance and earning a "never-in-history-was-there-a-more-well-deserved" standing ovation.

Amazing.

 

Catcha later!

-Liz
 
 
set list
happy that
i know a man
scares me more
didn't want to be a daddy
to love her inside
hero
come out tonight
i'll have you
talent for surrender
goodbye
sorry the very next day
headmasters
falling apart
beyond the beginning
in your eyes
toast or tea
 
 
 

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photo by J. Johnson

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  Ardmore, PA

  January 19, 2008

 

Once a year there comes a day when we get to celebrate the day we came into this world. We make plans and hope for something special. This year I got my birthday wish. On Saturday night I drove up from Philly with a few of my favorite people to check out the scene in beautiful downtown Ardmore. 

Milkboy Coffee is a sweet little spot, offering something for everyone and making a real effort to promote local talent and build community. We could use one of those in every neighborhood.

Sharon Little opened the show. I had seen her on the 10 Show and was excited to see her live. A bit raspier than usual, Sharon started out tentatively crooning, at times barely above a whisper. As she warmed up, Sharon began to sway with the music like a cobra in a trance. Sultry and soulful, her vocals artfully played the strings of our emotions as Scott Sax showed us some skills on the strings of his guitar. Sharon pulled out all the stops on the last 2 songs leaving the crowd fired up and setting the stage for our hometown hero.

Jeffrey appeared in his black leather jacket (love it!) and black popcorn knit hat (not so much) but I gotta give him big props for bringing along the best accessory ever – the new band! Dan Weiss on keys (awesome!) and Ryan Vaughn on drums (yes!). I guess the stars were all aligned when these  three guys got together because there was magic happening up on that stage. I swear that was Billy Preston groovin' on Together and by some miracle of tech wizardry that keyboard produced a mean bass guitar on Over and Over.

 

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photo by J. Johnson

I have seen many - and I do mean many JG shows in recent years and each one is different. This wasn’t your typical singer-songwriter café performance.  This was a big stage performance – and Jeff was a rock star. Looking totally comfortable in his skin, he was just so cool and relaxed up there like every living creature in its element. By mid-show he owned that stage. Even the hat was working for him. I have  heard Jeffrey perform with a band on several occasions  - and they rocked - but this time I could feel the love. They  were so giving and supportive and seemed genuinely happy to be there. It just felt right. Jeff was really digging the vibe as was the crowd who started out politely sipping their wine and coffee but ended up on their feet demanding an encore. Jeff returned to the stage but sat at the drums and began to play! [It's on youtube if you want to check it out...visuals aren't great due to low lights]. He invited anyone who played guitar to come up and sit in but there were no takers so he just kicked it with our new friend Dan.
Jeff closed the show with Simple Prayer during which Ryan skillfully transformed the plea into a march, underscoring the lyrics. Wow! I hope these guys stick around for a while. There was some really good energy there.  I know they've only played together a few times but they’re ready to take this act on the road.
 
Til next time...
-Liz
 
set list
 
falling apart
beyond the beginning
to be free
headmasters of mine
i know a man
come out tonight
life of the living
over and over
hero
scares me more
together
in your eyes
without you
shake it off
always be
five years (JG on drums!)
simple prayer
 
 

Tin Angel        

November 24 2007 

Thanksgiving is a time of homecoming and once again Jeffrey's 'family' gathered in Philly to celebrate their homeboy. We also came out to celebrate 15 years of great music at the Tin Angel.

So much talent has graced that stage. Emerging artists, folk heroes and music legends have all stood there on that small raised platform and filled the silence with their incredible sounds. Saturday night was no exception.
Thanks to SEPTA, I arrived late and had to sit waaaaaaay back at the bar. I barely caught the last song of Anna Egge, the opening act.
Jeff came out and started to play. He warmed up with the first three songs before saying a word. Then he thanked us for our enthusiastic response. After that, he began to loosen up, playfully throwing in a few old covers while we all sang along. The room was filled with warm fuzzies and Jeffrey kept on giving. No one wanted it to end. Of course all good things must and he closed the show with a few of our favorite JG tunes.  See y'all at the next one.

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photo by Mary Leies

set list
 
Fear
Right My Wrongs
To Love Her Inside
I Know a Man
No, I Don’t Think So
Change Gonna Come
Safety In Self 
You Believe In Me
Choices
All of the Will in the World
Elliot
Falling Apart
Over and Over
Don't Let Me Down
Seagull
Rock Steady
Beyond the Beginning
Come Out Tonight
Dark Love Song
In This Lifetime
In Your Eyes
Hero
Always Be

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Concert Under the Stars
King of Prussia. PA
July 1, 2007

I know this isn't the kind of venue that would normally warrant a review but I'm writing for that small group of devoted fans like me who were not able to make it out and feel the need to share the experience.
I look forward to the Concert Under the Stars each year. I love that feeling of community as a few hundred of us spread out our blankets and camp out on the lawn for a few hours with our cold chicken and potato salad and settle in for some sweet summer sounds.
My good friends and I drove up from Philly, arriving just as the sun was setting. My usual spot is front and center but seeing as the show had already begun and we didn't want to distract from the performance, we set up our blankets a few rows back.
The opening act played mellow folksy tunes as a dad chased his barefoot toddler through the grass, grabbed him by his little tie-dyed shirt and flung him over one shoulder. Beside me, a middle -aged couple raised their glasses in a celebratory toast.
At twilight, Jeffrey arrived and tuned up as I reached for my jacket. It was cool for July and I was so glad I had brought it along. He opened with Happy That, as is customary for such happenings.
Of course, it wasn't the usual crowd but I hoped Jeff would find that connection with the crowd early on.  Unfortunately there were technical difficulties and the first few songs seemed a bit lifeless as he tried to correct the sound.
Jeffrey perked up a little when a couple of teenage girls brought him a cup of lemonade. The give and take had begun. Jeffrey thanked the girls and introduced himself, mentioning his websites and "complaining" that people use his myspace page to hook up with each other.
I gotta say that my jaw dropped when he chose to play Everything. That's not s'posed to be in the family show set list! I mean there were babies and grandmas out there. What was he thinking? I was relieved to hear that he cleaned it up, throwing Wild Thing into the middle of the song. That was pretty cool - it got the crowd going so maybe that was just to grab our attention. After that the energy shifted into a higher gear. My posse whooped and cheered to keep it going and it was contagious.
There was a request for Anything New (or were they just asking for anything new?)- my theme song - and Jeff graciously complied. Then he surprised us all with The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face - loved it! A few songs later there was another surprise when Jeff announced that since it was such a nice night he wanted to play a couple of instrumentals(yeah - new stuff!!). They were beautiful.
"That's how the songs sound before I mess them up with words."
As darkness fell and a few stars blinked overhead, the crowd was totally on board, eagerly awaiting the next tune and Jeffrey announced, "I guess it's In Your Eyes time." One half of the audience cheered while the other half protested, knowing we were near the end.
"Well, it's either that or Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog." There were cheers in response to that silly song we all know so well. Jeffrey playfully teased us with a line and then went into that other standard highly-requested song.
Jeff continued to play but made it clear that it was getting late and time to say goodbye. When the crowd protested, Jeff came back with, "you all want me to break curfew right in front of the police station? Nothing's changed." He went on to accuse us of being just like the kids in school who always got him into trouble. Near the end he played the song I kept yelling for all night, Change is Gonna Come and I believe he closed out the set with our favorite love song...Always Be.
As I folded my blanket and headed out I was feeling warm and fuzzy and satisfied. We walked back to the car down a winding path surrounded by willow trees lit up with fireflies. It was magical. I lingered for a moment or two and then smiled...all the way home.

Pleasant dreams,

-Liz

 
WHITAKER CENTER
SUNOCO PERFORMANCE THEATER
PRESENTS
JEFFREY GAINES
 
May 2007
The evening started with singer/songwriter Patty Larkin, a very different and unique sound with exceptional guitar playing abilities. this was the first time I ever saw her live and she was
very entertaining and charming. Her lyrics were inspiring and her musical abilities with the
guitar were awesome.
 
That brings us to Jeff, what can I say that we don't already know. It's like a kid at Christmas time I was excited and ready to see what Jeff had in store for us tonight.
I did not bring a note pad or a pen so I'm not going to list the songs he played one
by one, but we all know the drill for the most part. I will say however Jeff put a different
twist on a couple of his songs that he played that night that I never heard before.
It was a nice surprise and I enjoyed the different sound.
 
Every time I see Jeff it's like the first time. Jeff is always fresh with his sets and mixes everything up nicely. As we all know Jeff is a top performer in this industry and continues to step upward in song writing and stage performance shows.
I wish him only the bestin the future and look very forward to the next show and the next album.
 
To some the night up - AWESOME, DYNAMIC, FRESH, EXCITING. See you soon!!
 
-"DORAZ"
 
 
_____________________
 
FLP Book Festival
April 2007
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It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon on the parkway. Spring was in the air and the sun was "shining brightly." Great weather considering the week before we had had snow and torrential rains but hey, that's Philly in April. 
I perused the vendor's booths and made a small purchase or two, then began to seek shelter from the unseasonably scorching mid-day sun. I found a shady spot under a large evergreen and made my nest, just in time tio catch the end of the juggling act, while I lunched on a flavorless hot dog and watery lemonade.  As the jugglers rode off on their unicycles, I settled in to hear some good music. One Ring Zero began to play and I gotta tell ya - I was not feelin' it. I'm usually pretty open to innovation but as my daughter put it "(their sound was) like the mother ship landing only not as good because there were no little green men."
John Flynn was up next and, though I was disappointed that he didn't play any of our WXPN Kid's Corner favorites like "Roadkill Cafe"  and "My Brother Ricky's For Sale," I really enjoyed his genuine, down-home brand of humor and pure folk sound. As a cool breeze blew through my hair, I was transported back to the days of Dylan and Guthrie. 
When the hour was up, WXPN's Michaela Majoun approached the mike and introduced our favorite guy - flashback to the TLA! Jeffrey appeared in a black t-shirt and denim vest, carrying his trusty sidekick "Ol' Black." (I just made that up. Someday I'll have to ask him if he has a name for her)
What else could he open with on a day like this but Happy That - just as I expected. What I didn't expect was that a song or two later , while adjusting his capo, Jeff broke into a spontaneous, arresting, consciousness-raising, a capella version of Why, commenting on the current crisis in Philly, my home town. Sadly, it was prophetic as well. Monday's news reports were bleak.
Thus began the intensity of the show. I use that word often to describe Jeffrey's shows but it seemed that this show took it to a whole new level. Maybe it's because I was coming from an emotional place to begin with, after a standoff with my husband. We weren't speaking and there was so much left unsaid. My heart was on my sleeve, providing fertile ground (forgive the mixed metaphor) for Dark Love Song (wow)  followed by Beyond the Beginning, which Jeffrey dedicated "to puppy love and how you're never too old for it."  Then came I'll Have You. That song always gets my heart beating a little faster (how could any girl resist that?) but today it really got to me. Always Be had a similar effect. I had to shake it off. So I passed out some JG cafe cards and chatted with the crowd a bit.
Jeffrey ended the set with What can I Do, dedicating it to Earth Day. Great choice! We were totally in synch on that because I had been passing out earth day bookmarks that day with the same title!
For the first time, I was relieved that it was over.  As always, Jeff put on a great show, but I was an emotional mess. So I shared information and concert memories with a few fans and by the time Jeff came out to mingle, I had regained my composure to some extent. I managed to say hello and introduce my teenage daughter ( I felt like Elsa bringing the cubs to meet her surrogate family). She claims not to be a fan - she's into metal - although she has asked me to crank up the volume on a few of Jeff's songs. She said she had some advice for Jeffrey but when the time came she got tongue-tied and may have ended up insulting him. Sorry, Jeffrey. She told me later that what she meant to say was that he should play with a band more often. I agree...maybe just a few times a year, anyway. 
 
Catch you at the next one!
 
-Liz

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Tin Angel           April 14, 2007
 
The hubby and I are celebrating our 20th anniversary. Wow - 20 years is a long time to be married to somebody but y'know, human beings are such complex creatures, it takes a lifetime to really know somebody. Maybe we never really get to know who anybody really is - beneath all the battlescars and the brainwashing, who are we? To use a line from Pee Wee Herman "it's like unraveling a sweater that someone keeps knitting... and knitting."
Yeah, it's been a bit of a roller coaster ride as I guess is the case for most long-term partnerships. People grow and things change - that's life. Still, it's rare in this age of instant gratification to hang out that long in spite of all the challenges. It certainly is something worth celebrating. And our favorite way to celebrate is with food, friends and music.
 
The Tin Angel unknowingly hosts a family reunion several times a year- the Jeffrey Gaines family. We share a bond of love, loyalty and humanity which transcends age, race, gender and distance. We connect on a level which is sadly vanishing from the world today, beginning with our own homes. Enough social commentary.

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Photo by Jacques-Jean Tiziou

Carsie Blanton opened. What a breath of fresh air! She stepped up to the mike in her flowered mary janes with a Virginia-peach colored rose in her curly brown hair. Neat and petite, her voice poured out sweet as blackberry wine. A bit old-fashioned, Carsie's  innocence and vulnerability stands out in contrast to the fast-paced, jaded mentality of contemporary urban life.
After recording my first impressions, I really listened to the songs and began to appreciate her as an artist. Carsie's phrasing and melodies were innovative and I found her style charming and irresistable. The tunes were catchy and the words well-crafted. What really impressed me was the fact that at an age when most of our days centered around tv, telephone gossip and the contents of the family fridge, Carsie was emerging as a talented singer-songwriter, rivaling the likes of Janis Ian and Corinne Bailey Rae.
Check her out at www.carsieblanton.com
 
Jeffrey took the stage with a sense of purpose, launching into musical commentary on the war and starting out the set with Fear. Pretty heavy stuff, but just when we thought it would be one of those serious moments Jeff announced that he's finally discovered why his music isn't on the radio - it needs more yodeling. "So," he warned us, "...coming soon - yodeling. Until then, I'm serving up content ...a lost art". We all responded with cheers and applause as Jeffrey returned to his usual set of crowd-pleasers, only there was fire in the music tonight.  More passion, more intensity than the last show. Of course, I've been out of the loop since the fall so perhaps it's true that absence makes the heart grow fonder. It is also true that  the 'King of the Burg' has been playing continuously over the past few months and his skills were sharp and on tap... as was his wit. After a song or two, he stepped up to the mike with, "I ain't sayin' nuttin' to y'all tonight. After Janet Jackson things tightened up and now Imus...so I ain't sayin' nuttin' tonight cause ya can't handle it...now what's Imus gonna do... that's a face made for radio."
Later, in the middle of the guitar solo in Come out Tonight, Jeff  blurted out, "Dream Sequence!"
Jeffrey threw his entire body into every note, totally rocking Over and Over and near the end of the set turning in a riveting performance of What it is.
Yes, Jeffrey tore it up tonight, buzzing on red bull, he smoked those guitar riffs. It was a blast. I came out to hear a singer-songwriter but tonight there was some serious rockin' on stage!
 
Set two was a bit strange. I'm sure it had everything to do with those 3 scowling guys sitting front and center. Jeffrey takes his emotional cues from the audience and, in stark contrast to the first show, this was not a party crowd. I kept glancing over to see if they were getting into it and, though eventually I saw them each crack half a smile, they just weren't into being there. They just sat there like they were made of stone, their faces daring Jeffrey to entertain them. Kind of hard to have fun when "the man" is staring down your throat like that.
Jeff took up the challenge. Using words as his weapon of choice, he came at them with Headmasters and later Praise or Blame. My heart always swells with respect whenever he plays that song. Being from all of those oppressed groups, I always feel that, just for one brief moment, someone is feeling my struggle and championing my cause. It's like that's my big brother up there defending me from the neighborhood bullies. I also get that surge of admiration when he plays A Simple Prayer and Hero.
 
There were so many highlights in the show it's hard to recall them all. After awhile I just quit taking notes. It's so much more fun to participate than to scribble in a book. That's one reason I stopped taking pictures. I'd rather experience the moment fully than focus my energy on recording it.
At the end of the show, Jeffrey sang Together just for me at the request of my hubby. He doesn't sing it often because he says it needs that beat - I agree the drums add a definite kick but I just love to hear him use all the power and texture in his voice and that song really opens it up.
Every time I come out to a Jeffrey Gaines show it's just like the first time - dynamic, thought provoking and just plain fun. If you can't remember the last time you saw him live it's been too long. Check out the upcoming shows. Hope to see you at the next one!
 
-Liz
 
 
set 1
fear
falling apart
beyond the beginning
i know a man
over & over
love disappears
freebird
to be free
toast or tea
come out tonight
didn't want to be a daddy
just one thing
i'll have you
what it is
always be
shake it off
in your eyes
tainted love
in your eyes
hero in me
 
set 2
scares me more
goodbye
life of the living
hold me
dark love song
headmasters of mine
happy that
i know a man
safety in self
praise or blame
falling apart
i'll have you
toat or tea
in this lifetime
leave her to me
love disappears
all of the will in the world
in your eyes
breakdown
together
beyond the beginning
hero in me
come out tonight
______________________
 

Friday, December 15, 2006

 

Stir It Up Coffeehouse 

Mullica Hill, NJ 12/15/06

Guest reviewer : Jim Otama

Tonight, I went back to Stir It Up Coffeehouse in Mullica Hill.  I've been there four times now, and each trip was for the same reason - to see Jeffrey Gaines!  It's a great, intimate setting, and every show is unique, so I love seeing him there (and he'll be back in just two more months!)

I got there not too long before the show was supposed to start.  Jeffrey was already up front, tuning his guitar and getting ready.  When he was ready to go, they brought down the lights and closed up the counter so the focus would be on the music.  Before he started, someone asked Jeffrey if he would be playing Christmas songs, since it was billed as a special holiday show.  He just laughed and said no...  I think the first time I saw him there it was also a holiday show...  I specifically remember getting stuck behind the fire engine that Santa was on that night...  Jeffrey didn't do any Christmas songs then either...

Gaines started the show with a really nice rendition of Happy That, but I thought he had too much echo on his vocals and guitar.  It was also a little too loud, creating a little bit of feedback when he'd get to the louder parts of the song.  He must have fixed it though because after a couple songs, I didn't notice it anymore.  Jeffrey introduced the next song saying he must have thought it was still the '60s when he wrote it, and he thought people would talk about the message behind it.  The song was Falling Apart, which he followed with Beyond the Beginning.  He just kept playing songs for a while with Scares Me More, I Know a Man, Safety in Self, and All the Will in the World (which I don't remember seeing him play before).  Before the next song, he said his name and said that he was playing "the catalogue."  I was getting a little worried that he might go through the whole show without talking much, but his stories are always great!

He started playing I'll Have You, which is a very cool, haunting song, but he stopped after the first verse and said that it was just too intense and he couldn't play it.  This was where he started talking a lot more, and it became more of the "storyteller" show that he normally puts on at Stir It Up.  He talked about how he sometimes plays songs much like they are on his albums, but sometimes he'll change it up, and this time, this song sounded so good that it couldn't get any better so he didn't want to keep going and screw it up...  Instead, he went on about how he'll write songs about anything, so people have to be careful around him because they'll go out on Friday, and there will be a song about it on Monday.  Then, he talked about how he used to live on 3rd & South Street in Philadelphia, so he could go to shows around there all the time without having to pay the cover because he would play the places so often.  He mentioned something about going to see a band he knew from Lancaster that was playing at the TLA, but then he talked about going to see some girl play, and he felt like he was wrapped up in her fantasy world.  He wondered if she had any idea what was really going on in the world, but said he might have been more cynical than most because he didn't have much money and would be hanging out with homeless people scrounging for food, so he knew first-hand how bad it could be.  So that inspired him to write the next song, Sweet Janine.  After the song, he talked about recording it and how it was the first time someone gave him money to record, so he wanted to do everything he could in the studio like play piano and mess with other effects like backwards tracks.  He talked about how much fun he had with it and how he played around a lot on the recorded version of that song (which is way too upbeat and overproduced, imo - I preferred the simpler version he played live).  I think that was actually the first time I ever heard him play that song, despite seeing him quite a few times by now...

For his next song, Jeffrey went back to a request someone had called out a little while ago, I Like You.  At the end of the first verse, he had to stop to fix his mic, but went on to finish the song.  Afterwards, he talked about how recording Somewhat Slightly Dazed was one of his most fun summers and how he really liked touring with a band for that album after touring solo previously.  He talked about opening solo for Melissa Etheridge, and while it was a great experience, it was kind of lonely outside of the half hour he was on stage (especially since Etheridge's crew wasn't into him because he didn't have the right "equipment").  Then he went into having to fly red eye's a lot, but he can't sleep on planes, so everyone would go to sleep and he'd have nothing to do.  So one time, he asked one of his band members to write a line for him, and he'd make it into a song.  The line he got was "seventeen rodeo clowns."  Jeffrey took that and realized there were seven people with the band including lighting guys.  So he took "seventeen" and changed it to "seven green."  Then, instead of "rodeo" he used "Romeo" since they were always trying to pick up girls.  He left "clowns" alone since it was accurate, and that became the first line to his next song, Shake It Off. 

After the song, Jeffrey talked about being in upstate New York recently and how they have really good radio stations up there.  He talked about how he heard a Ramones song while he was up there and how it got him wanting to rock out.  Music is one of the only things that really moves him, and he ties it to relationships with people because he'll usually have music playing when he's hanging out with friends.  He didn't seem to know where to go from there, so he asked if anyone had any requests, and got a few at once.  He decided to play Always Be, which sounded really good.  He's got a lot of hammers and slides and bends in that song, and it just creates some very cool sounds.  Next, he played Everything, which was another request, but he broke a string during the song.  At that point, he went into a little bit of Wild Thing before coming back to finish the last line of Everything.  He said he bought the strings once when he was in New Orleans, and they were some kind of jazz strings that were the thickest he'd ever seen (12-56 gauge, I think he said).  Because they're so thick, they also have to be pretty tight, so that's why the string broke.  This was the first night he was using them, so he was thinking it was time for them to go back in the glass case in New Orleans. 

He said he was trying to think of songs to play where he didn't need the G string that he broke, and he decided to play his Peter Gabriel cover, Your Eyes.  He said that was his blessing/curse song, then went off on a tangent about someone suggesting that he put his songs into ringtones to make money.  He hated the idea and didn't want his songs to interrupt people so they could talk on the phone.  He also joked that he wouldn't want people to answer them because he'd be saying "the best part is coming up."  However, he did say that if Neil Young starts letting his songs to become ring tones, Jeffrey might consider doing it with his own songs...

Gaines moved on to talk about his next song.  He said he wrote it after seeing the Legends of the Fall where someone dies within an hour of going to war (I never saw it myself).  Then he talked about the change of power in Washington and maybe the Democrats could help get the troops out of Iraq while he began to play the song, A Simple Prayer.  It's a great song that I haven't heard him play too often...

After the song, Jeffrey drank some of his Newcastle beer then somehow go to talking about seven year olds drinking it...  He said when he was seven, he was too busy analyzing inkblots with the grade school counselor.  They kept asking him about them, and he said "like I'm really going to give up my dad -  he'll work it all out in song eventually."  I really have no idea what he was talking about there...  Anyway, he played Hero in Me next, then started saying that everyone should gather up their bags and things.  He played a little bit of David Bowie's Suffragette City, which sounded very cool, to end the show.

Unfortunately, the show was a little shorter than usual.  There was another show at 10:30, and the last few times I've seen Gaines at Stir It Up, he went right up to that time.  Tonight he ended at 9:30, so the show was only an hour and a half long...  I think it may have been because he broke a string and was finding it tough to think of songs he could play without it.  Either that or the owners finally told him he had to finish up sooner so they could get the next crowd in...  Regardless, the show was still great, as was the crowd.  Jeffrey got a great response to every song he played throughout the night!  He played a bunch of great songs and included a lot of interesting/humorous stories, so the show was well worth the trip!

By the way, Jeffrey Gaines has a handful of shows coming up in the area, including a full band show at Grape Street on 1/15 (tickets on sale NOW!) and an encore performance at Stir It Up on 2/17.  Two very different shows that will be great in their own ways...

 
 
 
 
 
Bridgetown Pub
Mt Holly, NJ
August 27, 2006
 
On a damp and dreary Sunday evening, I was surprised at how many brave souls ventured out just to hear some good music. In this electronic age when we can just push a button and get crystal clear digital recordings from our mp3s, pcs, and tvs, I applaud those of us who still value the live music experience. It's a whole different thing....the energy, the ambience, the give and take and the uninterrupted vibe.
 
The Bridgetown Pub is a cozy little spot but the layout is far from ideal as a music venue. The stage is this tiny little raised platform that would serve better as a breakfast nook. The room is arranged in such a way that almost a third of the audience can't even see who's playing up there, which naturally sets up a division in the crowd between those who are really into the music anfd those who are engaged in lively, and often loud, conversation.
 
Opening for Jeffrey was Lili Anel. Those of you who were fortunate enought o catch the Steel City show earlier this year will remember her (scroll down for the review). Lili's voice is powerful and expressive as is her playing style. She immediately grabbed the crowd's attention as they responded with a loud burst of applause after the sound check. Lili opened with some high energy pieces then showed a softer side with a beautiful tune called The Wrong Time.  And even though we often had to strain to hear her over the bar conversation, there were moments when her strong vocals and passionate guitar style lit up the place like a Christmas tree. She ended her set emphatically with the quintessential "talk to the hand" song, The Way Out.  Maybe most of the folks there hadn't heard her name before but I bet they'll remember it now. Check her out at www.lilianel.org.
 
Jeffrey sauntered onto the stage and opened, as he often does, with Happy That - good choice for warming up the pipes as well as the crowd. He seemed to play it with more gusto than usual, commanding our attention - or maybe he just had the sound guy max out the volume to shut down the bar conversation.
I hate that I'm even about to say this but there was something very Lenny Kravitz going on with him - y'know, that kind of aloof, misunderstood, rock star vibe. He just didn't seem to make his usual instant connection with the crowd - like his mind was somewhere else for the first few songs. Well, whatever it was, Jeff was able to shake it off (pun intended) and rock the pub.
Early in the set Jeff asked for a glass of the "home brew" a.k.a. Jersey tap water, then launched into an impromptu Jackie Wilson classic.
A few songs later, his energy seemed to be fading so he took a break to chat with us for awhile. He talked about growing up in the shadow of his older sister, whose pursuit of the spotlight fueled his own ambitions. Jeffrey went on to describe how he, along with siblings and cousins, would mimick the Jackson 5, as he practiced with his first guitar - which to the untrained eye appeared to be an ordinary tennis racquet.  
Somehow he segued to the story of a high school road trip to see Bon Jovi - pretty funny stuff.  I almost forgot there was more music coming. He was just shooting the breeze. He even brought up the topic of new material..."you guys want new music from me (cheer from the crowd) but I can't even keep track of the songs I have."
Eventually, Jeff picked up the guitar again and played one just for the females in the crowd, I'll Have You, the ultimate seduction song (of course it could also be a stalker song, depending on how much of a romantic you are). When the song was over, Jeff examined his guitar - guess he broke a string or something - and traded for the sunburst, then played the standard request, In Your Eyes.
There were a few surprises in the set. At one point he got a litle crazy and played some Black Sabbath and then a few tunes later melted our hearts with a rare live performance of The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face.
Near the end of the show, Jeffrey announced that he had just played a 3 hour show the night before so he didn't know when to stop playing. Lucky us. He ended the set with Over and Over which flowed into Dear Mr. Fantasy.
After a brief ovation, Jeff quickly returned to the stage doing a human beat box  - both American and European - and officially ended with Come Out Tonight. But he just couldn't help giving a nod to Bruce  with the classic Jersey anthem, Born to Run. Ya see, ya never know what might happen at  a Jeffrey Gaines show. Come out and see for yourself. Next stop Milkboy.
 
set list
happy that
fear
scares me more
falling apart
shake
belle du jour
i know a man
safety in self
beyond the beginning
love disappears
dark love song
i'll have you
in your eyes
all of the will in the world
hero in me
fall you fool
some black sabbath tune
to love her inside
always be
first time ever i saw your face
to be free
over and over/dear mr. fantasy
come out tonight
born to run
 

We have a rare opportunity here to have two different reviews for the same night...check it out...

Jeffrey Gaines @ the Tin Angel in Philadelphia, PA 8/5/06
(first show)
by Jim

I finally got around to seeing Jeffrey Gaines again last night...  He's been in the area a few times since I last saw him, but I either had a conflict or
decided not to go for some reason..  I haven't really been terribly excited about seeing him for some reason.  I think part of the reason is I've been spoiled by the fact that he's been at Stir It Up in Mullica Hill a few times, which is only about 15 minutes away (and no tolls!), so I don't
really feel like traveling further than that to see him...  Last night I finally decided to make the trip though...
He was doing two shows at the Tin Angel (they always do 2 shows on weekends, but usually it's two different acts).  I decided to go to the early show for a few reasons.  First, I had to get up early to help my sister move, so I thought I might be getting pretty tired by the time the second show ended (probably after midnight).  The trains also run more frequently around 10 than they do after midnight, so I figured I wouldn't have to sit around waiting for one quite as long (that worked out quite well too).  The one time I saw both of Gaines's shows at Stir It Up, the second one was a lot more fun, so that was the one thing that made me want to hold out for the later show, but I decided the other reasons were better and headed out early...

I got there a little late (thanks to just missing one train, which was early, then the next one being late), but luckily, the show hadn't started
yet.  After a few minutes, Hannah Bingman came out to open the show.  I was actually a little surprised that there even was an opening act.  Every show I've seen at the Tin Angel has included an opener, but most of the time when
I see Gaines, he's the only one that plays.  I was really glad she was there to open the show though because I thought she had a great set!  It was just
her playing an acoustic guitar (much like Jeffrey).  When she came out, the crowd clapped for her, but it wasn't an overwhelming response.  She got up
to the mic and said "it's okay.  I've never heard of me either," which was pretty funny (even if it is a joke I've heard others use before).  She's a
singer/songwriter and seems to have a bit of a southern twang to her voice, even though she said she's from the Harrisburg area.  I thought her music was very interesting.  She had a great use of different rhythms, tunings, and chords that made it very unique.  I bought one of her CDs (she alreadyhas 3 - two studio albums and one live one - and she's only 22!), and the couple songs I remember her playing are Finished Finè Done (which she introduced saying it is about being small and mighty when she realized she
was too small to play basketball and switched to guitar), and Long Time Coming.  I think she may have also played I Still Carry Your Picture Around, but I'm not positive on that one...  There was also one song she said was about procrastinating, then joked that she'd play it later...  By the end of
her set, she seemed to win over the crowd (she actually did a pretty good job of that with her first song), and she was getting a pretty good ovation
when she left.  Although her music is very different from Gaines's, it fit the show very well.  Unfortunately, she doesn't have any more Philly-area shows planned right now, but she does seem to play a lot out near Harrisburg.  Hopefully, I'll get a chance to see another show soon...

Jeffrey Gaines came out and started with I Like You.  After the song, he went into a big discussion about when he started playing music in 1979 when he was in middle school.  There was a group of guys in the school band, but they didn't have anyone that was ballsy - "because they were in band!"  So, they asked Jeffrey to join to be that guy.  His first show was at some mall
in Harrisburg, and he talked about singing Stairway to Heaven, which included a sax solo because they didn't have a guitar in the band, but that solo was really good, and that was when they really started getting into it.   Then he talked about another show where he played to a hospital, and he thought the people there were just as crazy as he was.  And this was all how he originally got into music...
Next, he played You Believe in Me, after which he started talking about Hannah and how she's so young and creative.  He started complaining about so many young musicians being so concerned with selling stuff that they're more
excited to get off stage and sell than they are to actually play.  He likened them to politicians with guitars.  But Hannah is up there playing
for herself, and he respects her for that (which is also why her music sounds so interesting - when you don't write to what you think others want,
you're able to create something unique).
The next song was Falling Apart, then Jeffrey started talking (yeah, he did a lot of that) about sound systems in cars.  He mentioned that some people talk about what's under the hood, but it used to be more important what kind of sound system you had.  Then, he talked about how some people still have systems like that where they're in the car ahead of you, and it's making your windshield vibrate.  Then you think about how they're actually in the car with that music...

Next, he played Beyond the Beginning, and while he was tuning, a guy walked up beside the stage (you have to walk past the stage to get to the
bathrooms, which are behind the stage - very odd) and put out a fist for some kind of hand-pound thing...  Jeffrey didn't really know what to do, so
he started talking about what a geek he is, and how his secret identity has been revealed (as he pretended to push glasses up his nose).  He talked about how he's not a very social person surprising based on how social he seems to be on stage), and there will be meet and greets in his name, and he doesn't know how to act.  He'll feel like he's butting in on other people's conversations until he just kind of backs away and stands in the corner at his own party.  Then, he'll find someone like Hannah, also in the corner, and they'll go up to the roof with a bottle of champagne to have their own party.
His next song was Scares Me More, after which he started talking about the feel of the show.  He said he's been playing the Tin Angel since it opened,
and some nights he'll come out and be a showman, but tonight felt more like
a Behind the Music night because of all the stories he was telling.  While I really liked his stories, and he's usually pretty funny, it really did break up the show a lot.  It made it tough to get into the music.  It kind of felt like I was just waiting through the songs to hear him talk again, which is sad because they are very good songs.  Still, I was having a good time, so I can't complain...
He introduced the next song saying he wrote it for a girl that was deep.  He wanted to cover up his "Shallow Hal," so he wrote this song to impress her, Hero In Me.  Then, he followed a song immediately with another song for the first time as he played Fall You Fool, then went right on to I Know A Man. He started to play another song, but cut it off.  He asked someone in the crowd what they wanted to hear because he'd been indulging himself all night.  But where else can you do that?  Then he started talking about how he'd like to have a radio station and just play Gaines songs all day and all night.  He started doing a radio announcer voice to show what he'd be like on the radio...  It was pretty funny.
I forget what the next song was, but afterwards, Jeffrey said he heard someone call out for another song from the More Galore CD that was included
with later printings of the Galore album.  He said he recorded it in Steely Dan's studio, and he just went in with his guitar and played some covers
that he liked.  He also talked about how there was a guy working there that seemed to be gay, but he said he was hetero.  So, Gaines tried to get him to
admit to being gay, but that never happened, so he's still not sure...
The song that was requested was Riot Act, which is an Elvis Costello song,  Gaines said he didn't really remember it and when he recorded it he had notes in front of him.  He did play a small piece of it, which he said was the best part of the song anyway.  He also played a little bit of another
Costello song and talked about how cool he is.
Next, he played A Dark Love Song, which was really good.  Then, he started talking about how he'd like to have hit songs.  When someone like Billy Joel or Elton John does a show, they know what they're going to play.  They could play for an hour and a half and not play all of their top 10 songs.  This was all because Gaines was having trouble figuring out what to play during
the night.  He said when he does a show, he pretty much knows someone wants to hear In Your Eyes, but that's about all he knows.  All the times I've
seen him play solo, I don't think he's ever had a set list.  He just goes out there and plays whatever comes to mind.  But on this night, he was
having trouble deciding what to play.  He said he was hearing a few songs in his head at once, so sorting through them was tough.  Sometimes he'd start a song and decide he doesn't really want to play it.  It's kind of cool because you never know what you're going to see.  And while I like the
free-flowing, stream of consciousness type of show he does, it might be a good idea to have some kind of set list, just so he has something to fall back on when he runs into trouble...  But I'm glad he doesn't just go out and play a bunch of hit songs.  I've seen Billy Joel, and he mixed in quite
a few songs that I never even heard before, like Zanzibar, Stiletto, and A Room of Our Own.  Those were the songs I liked hearing the most.  I think if
you're really a fan of a certain artist, you want to hear those songs as much or more than the big hits (and I'm not even that big a Joel fan).  It's
only the casual listeners that are looking for the hits, and I don't think a show should be catered to them, although that may be the best way to draw
the biggest crowd...  But now I'm going off on my own tangents...
Before his next song, Gaines talked about how there was a contest once where they gave him away as the prize. So he went to meet the winners, which were some kind of valley girls or something, and he didn't understand how they
liked his music...  Then they told him that they hear it at clubs with a dance beat underneath it, so he started doing a beat box kind of thing in
the mic to show us how they heard his music...  very unusual...
He moved on to his next song, Goodbye, which I really like.  Then he just kept going with different songs for a while with To Be Free, and Toast and
Tea, before finishing his set with Always Be.
Jeffrey left the stage, and the sound guy asked the crowd to bring him back, which got a huge ovation (as did the last few songs, as each one felt like
it could be the last).  Jeffrey came out and ran through the crowd, shaking hands with a bunch of people.  He got back up on stage and started talking about how he'd like to have a dance band with him to play along because he was having fun.  He also started talking about Iron Butterfly for some reason, but I don't really remember what he was saying...  He couldn't decide what to play, and started In Your Eyes, but then stopped it saying he
wanted to play something else, which got a bit of a disappointed groan from the crowd.  Instead, he played Happy That, which is another really good
song, then ended the show with Without You, which is a nice slower song to go out on.

Once Gaines got into playing his songs, I started to really get into the music.  The first half of the show was more about him talking, which was
fun, but it made it hard to get into the music.  It was definitely a fun show though, and I was happy to find another good musician in Hannah Bingman.
 
Jim
www.myspace.com/otamamij

 

Tin Angel   August 5, 2006
(second show)
by Liz
Maybe it was the heat bulding up from all those 100 degree days but last night Jeffrey was on fire! He burned with a passion and intensity I haven't seen the past few shows. Of course the last two shows I saw were community "art in the park" kinda deals so not too surprising.
It's always a tough call when he does these back to back shows at the tin Angel. First show, second show or both? Naturally,I prefer to do both but it's not always an option. This time I was returning from my brother's family bbq in Jersey so I never would have made the first show. Small world - I met a guy there who's a long time JG fan. His name was Joe and he wanted to know if Jeff's got any new music on the horizon. Well Jeff? I brought him up to date with what I know, gave him my jgcafe card and tried to convince him to come out to the Tin Angel but he and his buddies are pretty set on waiting for the new material. Joe, if you're reading this, you missed  a great show. And even though I'm just as eager as the rest of you to hear the new stuff  - any day now, right Jeff?- I would still rather hear live classic JG songs any day than all the brand new stuff they're playing on the radio.
I've been to dozens of Jeffrey's shows and no two are ever alike. Scroll down and read for yourself. I'm an observer and I get into the subtle nuances. The vibe of the venue, Jeffrey's stories, the song mix, the conversation and just being surrounded by a group of people who really appreciate good music sans hype, who have dug their way through the mounds of crap they're selling to find the real thing. Okay enough about that. 
They say good things come in small packages and Jeffrey's opening act, Hannah Bingman, was no exception.  Although she appeared to be this timid little thing - fresh out of high school, Hannah was a breath of fresh air. Refreshingly real with that irrisistable charm of  wit and humility, Hannah shared her human frailties, commenting on her life experience  as an objective idealist.  With an occasional twang of country, Hannah's vocals  reminded me of Jewel but her unusual chords and phrasing made her stand out as an original and made the audience pay closer attention to the subtle truth of her words. My favorite songs in her set were "The Way Things Ought to Be," "Finished, Fine, Done" and "Stormy Weather."
I appreciated the fact that she took some creative risks like playing the blues with a whimsical, lighthearted feel - reminiscent of Leon Redbone.  Hannah Bingham was definitely a good choice as an opener. We'll be hearing more from her.
 
Jeff started the set with a really smoking version of Fear. I wasn't really crazy about the song until I heard it on this rare live cd but this version was just as good -better vocals although I do miss the other instruments.
Anyhow, Jeffrey attacked the strings like he was channeling some repressed anger - music is good therapy.  He drew us back in with Beyond the Beginning ( I think he really enjoys taking us for a ride on the emotional rollercoaster) and followed up with a song from the early days that I had never heard before How Can This Be So Wrong (I'm guessing at the title)
It was nice to hear something different but in my opinion he could have left that one on the shelf. After a few familiar tunes Jeff surprised us by scatting a bit during Elliot. It was a nice change. He should do more of that. Next up was a song I wish he would play more often, Talent for Surrender.
Jeff, the comedian, took over the show for awhile and told a few hilarious stories. He had us all cracking up about how crazy things got at the Tin Angel on New Years Eve I was there! I think there's a review from that night on this page somewhere) and then pulled a switch on us and went right in to Dark Love Song - there's that emotional roller coaster again. In the middle of the show, someone in the crowd yelled out a request for Footloose and Jeffrey shared his experience touring with the Bacon Brothers. They classified Jeff's music as SoFoCoRo (soul-folk-country-rock) or was it FoRoSoCo? He was having a blast with those guys until Kansas City when they did Footloose and one of them gestures for Jeff to join them onstage, hands him the mike and says "Take it Jeff!" and he had to fake his way through it. "I never saw that movie." After that the brothers were a little stand-offish. Near the end of the show there was a request for I Wish it Would Rain and Jeff did a nice job on that. I wouldn't mind hearing it again. His voice is so perfect for the old school R&B.
After Jeff left the stage we were all psched to bring him back for an encore but George, the sound guy jumped the gun with the goodbye music and brought up the house lights. Bummer, but as usual Jeff gave 120 % so there was no room for disappointment. Next stop...Mt Holly. See you there!
 
-Liz
 
 
set list
Fear
Beyond the Beginning
How Can This Be So Wrong (?)
Faling Apart
Scares Me More
No I Don't Think So
Elliot
Talent for Surrender
Toast or Tea
Dark Love Song
Anything New
Love Disappears
A Simple Prayer
In Your Eyes
Headmasters of mine
I Wish It Would Rain
Always Be
 

wishingtree.jpg

Abington Art Center
Abington, PA
July 13, 2006
 
On a muggy Thursday night in July, 500 people made the decision to leave the comfort of their air- conditioned living rooms and come out to the park to hear some good music. They packed blankets, frisbees and sandwiches and gathered on a grassy hill in the middle of a sculpture garden surrounded by tall trees. It was almost like one of those be-ins from the 60s. Earlier in the day the skies were threatening but by showtime we sat under a beautiful canopy of blue.
 
Jeffrey arrived onstage and Becky and I immediately agreed that we're liking the new "do" ...now he looks like the guy on the Galore poster. Before he started to play we began guessing which songs he'd choose for the occasion (we like to play these silly games - it's more fun that way). We were right on target with the first two songs. Jeff opened with Happy That and followed up with Falling Apart. That's a roller coaster all by itself - top of the world one minute and the next it all comes crumbling down.
 
A few songs in Jeff broke a guitar string and encouraged us to sample the potoato salad while he made the repair. Then he began singing Daydream Believer - a capella. Many of us over-30's joined in. I was a huge Monkees fan so I was totally in that group. At the end of the song Jeffrey shared the story of how he met his childhood idol, Davy Jones.
 
Occasionally, my attention drifted from the stage to watch the kids playing. ..throwing frisbees, doing cartwheels. Several of them gathered around The Wishing Tree, draped with rope and colorful fabric strips. One by one they pulled out more strips and tied them onto the tree. We were fortunate enough to have ringside seats for another enchanting performance on the lawn. A little 4-year-old blonde girl danced expressively for a good half hour, totally uninhibited by the crowd watching her every move.
 
Later in the show, there was a completely magical moment when a litlle 2-year old girl in pink wandered to the stage and Jeffrey played a quiet tune to her. She threw up her arms, twirled and squealed with delight. He was the baby whisperer and In that moment they connected through the music. It was totally transcendental.
 
There were a few slightly older fans in the crowd as well. As I scanned all the faces, I could see several folks singing along to the more well-known JG tunes. Fireflies announced the arrival of twilight as the show came to a close.
 
Hope to see you at next week's All About the Music Festival on the Camden Waterfront. I'll be taking the ferry over from Philly. I recommend you come a few hours early and check out the new aquarium. t's pretty awesome with the new shark tunnel and everything. Maybe I'll see you there.
 
-EJ
 
 
 
set list
Happy That
Falling Apart
Sacres me More
I Know a Man
Beyond the Beginning
Anything New
Hero
Over and Over
Daydream Believer
You Believe in Me
So Many People
To Be Free
Together
Love Disappears
Don't Let Me Down
Sweet Janine
Redemption Song
To Love Somebody
In Your Eyes
Always Be
Headmasters of Mine
Without You
Summertime Blues
 
 

Curtis Arboretum
Wyncote, PA

June 25

The rain may have driven us indoors but it didn't dampen our spirits...not with Jeffrey onstage. The man delivered - as usual. What wasn't usual was the crowd. Being that it was a community concert in the park, the audience ranged in age from 2 to 92. I could see Jeffrey's wheels spinning as he faced a sea of blank stares. It was obvious most of these folks had never seen or heard the likes of him before. I was thinking, "Okay, this is gonna be a challenge," but I never doubted he'd win them over in the end.

He started out, as he often does on these occasions, with
Happy That,
then proceeded to mix it up as he took in the demographics and attempted to plug in to where this crowd was living. The room filled up quickly until there were over a hundred with standing room only. Toddlers scampered around the room as family's sat on the floor, unpacking their picnic suppers and juiceboxes.

I sat with my friend, Mariama. It was her first Jeffrey show and she loved it. It's always a blast when you turn somebody on to something you love and they love it too. We were discussing the big question - why isn't Jeffrey more famous (don't get me started!) - with the guy in front of us. His name was Anthony and he was there with his wife Michelle and his daughter Taylor (or was it his wife Taylor and his daughter Michelle?) He's a fan from waaaaay back and he totally gets the whole political agenda of the music industry. Most people these days don't even question what's being served up by the powers that be so it's always cool  to to find someone who sees the little man behind the curtain pushing the buttons.

There were a few other fans in the crowd. I could hear them clapping as Jeff played the intro on some songs and occassionally I could hear someone singing along. It was nice to hear a few tunes we don't get to hear in Jeff's usual set like
I Wish it Would Rain. Jeffrey's voice is so perfect for classics like that. He did the Temps proud (I think I was the only one singing along to that tune).

Seems like we just got started and it was time to go. Jeffrey wrapped it up with
Always Be
and In Your Eyes. It was a tough crowd but Jeff warmed them up nicely and by the end of the show he was rewarded with a well-earned standing ovation. 
 
Hope to see you in Jenkintown! 

-EJ

set list
Happy That
Falling Apart
I Know a Man
Safety in Self
You Believe in Me
Beyond the Beginning
To Love Somebody
Hero n Me
I Wish It Would Rain
Scares Me More
Seagull
Over and Over
Change is Gonna Come
To Be Free
Right My Wrongs
Dark love Song
Anything New
To Love Her inside
Redemption Song
No, I Don't Think So
Headmasters
Always Be
In Your Eyes
 
 
 
Concert for South Africa
Univ. of Delaware
May 8, 2006
 
Backed up by Delaware's own Three Legged Fox, Jeffrey rocked the house to benefit children in South Africa.
 
The set included... Redemption Song, Get Up Stand up, Change Gonna Come, Falling Apart and In Your Eyes
 
Good music....good cause.
 
-Becky
 

southafrica.jpg
Jeffrey with Delaware's own Three Legged fox

Milkboy Coffee
April 2006

I have a new favorite venue... Milkboy Coffee! Located in Ardmore not far down the road from where the Point once stood (moment of silence). Yes we'll miss the place but there's a new kid in town and it's fast becoming the new hub for great music and...just a cool place to hang out. The owners, Tommy and Jamie, also run Milkboy Recording Studio.  I love this place!
Everything about it is first-rate... the lighting, the food, the atmosphere, the seating and above all - the (((sound))). It's incredible! Ya gotta come and check it out for yourself. And hearing Jeff play there was like Christmas wrapped up in chocolate.
It was a good size crowd  - about 70 of us - and since there was no drinking or smoking, it was all about the music. Jeffrey strummed a few chords and announced that if he gave out awards Milkboy would win for best sound.
He was totaly digging on his own voice and guitar licks. It was obvious that he was having fun up there and we were all happy to be a part of the magic. He was phenomenal!  During the song, Over and Over, Jeffrey asked if anyone had sugar packets or something to shake. Two girls in the back produced egg shakers and played along...it sounded great. I'm sure he'll play at Milkboy again and when he does I'll be first in line! It was a new venue for Jeff but having just returned from a last minute gig in California, he seemed glad to be home, content and comfortable in his own neighborhod. 
So what's Jeffrey been up to thse days? "I spend my afternoons just enjoying the day."  Wow! When's the last time I did that? After attempting to coax his newly-adopted kittens out from under the fridge, he plays guitar, paints a little, and watches squirrel babies at play from his window.  If you ask Jeffrey what he's working on lately, he'll tell you, 'I'm trying to do as little as possible...in school I used to sneak out the window everyday and I'm still doing that as an adult." 
Ya gotta love this guy!

Set List
Happy That
Falling Apart
I'll Have You
I Know a Man
Safety In Self
Sweet Janine
You Believe in Me
Scares me more
Beyond the Beginning
Over and Over/Dear Mr. Fantasy
First Chapter's Last Page
Dark Love song
What It Is
Headmasters of Mine
Right my Wrongs
A Simple Prayer
Change Is Gonna Come
Pap Was a Rolling Stone
Hero in Me
Always Be
To Be Free

http://www.milkboycoffee.com

 


Tin Angel   April 2006
 
Yeah, I know you're busy and money's tight and all that but come on, you're missing out on the good stuff. No excuses, ya gotta come out for the next one! Take a break from taxes and deadlines and family issues and treat yourself to some Jeffrey Gaines. The man was in rare form last night as he took the stage for the second show.
Opening for Jeffrey was the very talented Melody Gardot, whose unique vocals (reminiscent of Ricky Lee Jones and Leon Redbone) and well crafted lyrics convey her feelings of loss and longing with a smoky underground vibe.
Jeffrey opened the set with Falling Apart and proceeded to tear it up on the guitar, alternately attacking and caressing the strings throughout the evening. It's an amazing thing to hear him intertwine rhythm, bass and percussion, along with a sprinkling of grace notes (for flavor) with such ease, as natural as breathing. If that weren't enough to make it a night to remember, Jeffrey's vocals were superb - warm, soulful and expressive. And if you thought that's as good as it gets, it gets better! Jeffrey played all my favorites, including some songs that rarely make it to the stage like Wish It Away. I don't even think he had a set list for the show. He just seemed to take his cue from the crowd vibe. And speaking of the crowd, the icing on this multi-layered cake is that the crowd's energy was strong, enthusiastic and supportive. We sang, we clapped, we danced.
Jeff's energy seemed to pick up midway through the set as he began to feed off the energy of the crowd. As he paused to share a few stories, Jeffrey commented on smoking, 80's big hair and American Idol. He even threw in a plug for motocross. He added wryly, " when you have hits you don't have to have stories,"  but I happen to love the stories and as far as I'm concerned he's had many many hits.
Jeffrey ended the show after playing 25 songs! I don't know how he does it, playing back to back 2 hour sets. He must totally crash for the next 3 days. He closed with our favorite lullaby - Always Be. There was no need for an encore, he played everything- well, except for "Everything" but I guess he has to save something for next time.
 
- EJ
 
set list
Falling Apart
Happy That
Your town
Leave Her to Me
Promise of Passion
Dark Love Song
Beyond the Beginning
Over and Over
Why
Safety In Self
Wish It Away
All of the Will In the World
To Be Free
Without You
Scares Me More
Right My Wrongs
ASimple Prayer
Anything New
Headmasters of mine
Choices
Together
Hero In Me
In Your Eyes
Shake It Off
Always Be
 
 

B.B. King Blues Club & Grille January 2006

Okay so it was a rainy Wednesday night so you did the sensible thing...stayed in, did your homework and went to bed on time. But I gotta tell ya...you blew it big time cuz the grille was smokin! 

Got a lot to say about this one. Danelia Cotton opened the show and WOW was I blown away! The girl’s got pipes! If you can imagine all the talent of Janis Joplin, Bonnie Rait, Tracy Chapman and Melissa Etheridge rolled up in one powerful package you might come close to describing this dynamic performer. And that microphone up there – it was just to make the stage look pretty. She was accompanied by lead guitarist,  Mark (what was his last name?) and they worked together like a finely tuned machine. Danelia moved easily from crooning soulful blues to a full on rock wail. Her cover of a Dylan song, stopped us in our tracks and made her name unforgettable to those of us in the crowd that night. All I was thinking was that Jeff had a tough act to follow. Danelia had raised the bar.

 

But the man in black stepped it up. Backed up by the Parallax Project (Paul on bass, Mike on drums), JG broke out of his usual laid-back style and stormed the stage, giving us a night to remember. Starting the set with No, I Don’t Think So, it wasn’t long before we were caught up in the energy. He was working hard up there.

 

There was a rumor that someone important was in the crowd and that would explain why Jeff seemed a bit uncomfortable up there. Several times he forgot the words and his chats between songs weren’t quite as fun and relaxed. He was definitely feeling the pressure.

 

As you all know, I am a die-hard fan and although it was an amazing show there were still a few things that bugged me. I’ll mention them briefly and then get right back to the love. First, I thought the volume was unnecessarily high – there was even distortion. People do that to cover up the fact that they can’t sing. Would have been nice to hear the man do what he does best.

 

And what was up with the interpretive dance? About halfway through the show, Jeff pulled a girl up on stage who proceeded to do a freaky dance to Love Dissappears. Who is he - Usher now? No one even gave props to Matt Thomas’ accordion solo. That was weird.

 

Finally, there were a few songs I’ve been waiting to hear Jeff play with the band (songs he says need a beat to do them justice) and he left me hanging. I realize the man has his reasons – I figured he was staying away from the quiet introspective stuff, opting for edgier rock tunes – but if I were choosing songs to impress whoever it was I’d have definitely included these in the set:

Over and Over, Talent for Surrender, Together, Your Town, Change Is Gonna Come, The Waiting or Thank You. Guess there’s always next year ( And I’m still waiting for Wish It Away).

 

I was kinda glad he didn’t play In Your Eyes. Don’t get me wrong. I really liked that song when Peter Gabriel first released it - and did you see that scene with John Cusack in Say Anything? Love that! I think Jeff’s version is amazing. It’s urgent , passionate and powerful -  he really made it his own. It’s just getting to be like when they keep playing your favorite song on the radio every ten minutes. Y’know?  I’m just feeling like Jeff’s too good to have to depend on that to keep us coming out. It’s time for a new classic.

 

Back to the love…obviously Jeff’s been holdin’ back on us ‘cause there was some serious rockin’ goin’ on up there! Love to see the man sweat! Jeffrey ended the show – after 21/2 hours! – with an encore which included a cover of Elvis Costello’s Peace Love and Understanding. Wish he would do more band shows – not every time, but maybe like 4 or 5 times a year at least. Gives us regulars a chance to experience a different take on the music.

Okay Jeff, now that we know you’ve got it in ya, you’re gonna have to bring it every time. We want to see you sweat!

 

Next stop – Grape Street!

 

SET LIST

  1. No I Don't Think So
  2. Choices
  3. Happy That
  4. Scares Me More
  5. I Know a Man
  6. Safety In Self
  7. You Believe In Me
  8. All of the Will In the World
  9. Falling Apart
  10. Beyond the Beginning
  11. Over and Over
  12. To Be Free
  13. Dark Love Song
  14. Love Disappears
  15. Nursery Rhyme
  16.  I'll Have You
  17. Sweet Janine
  18. Without You
  19. Hero In Me
  20. Always Be
  21. Peace, Love and Understanding (Elvis Costello cover)
  22. Shake it Off

*****************************************

 what a terrific show! you rocked last nite at bb kings! if i loved your music already, i loved it 100 times more last nite. i have never seen you with a full band, and i LOVED IT! i cant wait to see you all again very soon! the nite was perfecto! please come back to nyc soon, with the full band! amazing!

- Purple

 

****************************

Steel City Coffeehouse January 2006

I was extremely fortunate to have been asked to be the opener at Steel City Coffeehouse this past Saturday.  I’ve loved Jeff’s music since the very first record.  Was always asking the first label I was signed to, to get me an opening slot/work with Jeff.  It’s taken a bunch of years, but I’m glad I had the opportunity.  I had a great time, but most importantly, Jeff put on an amazing show.  If I’m not mistaken he played 2 hours.  He was extraordinary; great singing, great playing and great songs.  What a great night!

  Lili

lili@lilianel.org

********************************************

I had a great time at Jeffrey's Steel City Coffeehouse show! This was my first
time seeing Jeffrey Gaines and to my delight he played a killer 2 hrs with great
stories in between songs. I didn't realize the guy was so funny. His opening act
Lili Anel, was a real treat too and I'm rarely impressed with opening acts.

Before Jeffrey left the stage he gave Lili an embrace and then had her join him
for a curtain bow. What a classy guy, giving props to his opening act. He
mingled with his fans after the show and was gracious enough to allow people to
take photos and sign autographs. I will surely see Jeffrey Gaines again in the
near future!

- Rob

jgta3a.jpg

 
Tin Angel
November 2005

I settled into my favorite seat, inches from the stage and glanced around the room. After months of seeing Jeff at venues that were too big or too small this was just right. Surrounded by old friends and fans from way back, the Tin Angel felt like home...with its tattered curtains, folksy mural and my man George on sound.

Trisha O'Keefe was the opening act. Remember that name, you'll be hearing it again. She's got talent and style. Playing her own brand of acoustic rock, Tricia croons like Etheridge and belts' em out like McVie. Her lyrics are heartfelt and intelligent and her vocals strong and passionate. You can check her out at TrishaOkeefe.com.

Jeffrey appeared in his usual black attire and started the set with Happy That, approproiate for the weekend after Thanksgiving. He went on to share his holiday experience with us..."I wasn't the star at the table. I didn't bring anything, I didn't cook anything, I didn't clean up anything...I was just the guy that passed the mashed potatoes."

Between songs Jeff filled us in on another important event in his life...meeting Davy Jones. We all shared a retro moment as he recalled Jones' appearance on an episode of the Brady Bunch.

Jeffrey played a good mix of recent tunes and classics and many of us sang along. At one point he closed his eyes to dig deep for the emotion. He stopped in the middle of Love Disappears to comment on his struggle. "My music is so intimate I can't even perform it...If I perform it, I can't feel it and if I'm feelin' it I can't perform it."

Near the end of the show he introduced the song In Your Eyes with a great quote, "You are responsible for what you tame." Then he surprised us with a new piece he's working on. He had trouble getting his guitar back in tune after that but managed to get through a few more tunes, ending the set with Always Be.

The second show was packed! There must have been close to 120 in the crowd - almost double the crowd of the first show. All of us die-hard fans who were there for both shows moved over to the high stools on the right. By then we had all had a drink or two and were nicely warmed up by the time Jeff emerged for the second set. With our inhibitions carefully set aside we all cheered, whooped, sang and danced. Yes it was a party on our side of the room. At first the new people gave us questionable sideways glances but they quickly surrendered to to our irrepressable enthusiasm and joined in. They weren't alone. Jeffrey also took his cue from the crowd and tore it up!

Next stop...BB.King's.

-EJ

 

Set List (first show)

  • Happy That
  • Beyond the Beginning
  • Falling Apart
  • Scares Me You Believe in Me
  • Safety in Self
  • Praise or Blame
  • Over and Over
  • I Know a Man
  • Nursery Rhyme
  • Sweet Janine
  • Without You
  • Anything New
  • In Your Eyes
  • Instrumental
  • Dark Love Song
  • To Be Free
  • Always Be

second show

  • Fear
  • Falling Apart
  • Beyond the Beginning
  • Hero in Me
  • Safety in Self
  • You Believe in Me
  • All of the Will in the World
  • Life of the Living
  • Toast or Tea
  • Goodbye
  • I Know a Man
  • In This Lifetime
  • Shake it Off
  • Always Be
  • Dark Love Song
  • Sorry the Very Next Day
  • What It Is
  • In Your Eyes
  • Happy That
  • Headmasters of Mine
  • Freebird (1/2)
  • Love Disappears
  • Together
  • A Simple Prayer
  • Come Out Tonight


Cleveland, OH

October 2005

Last night Marshall, Melanie, and I attended a Jeffrey Gaines performance at John Carrol University. To be more accurate we attended said performance after transversing the hell that is Fairmount Circle. (I'm convinced that Cleveland's Hellmouth lies beneath the circle) 
  The performance was in the Underground, John Carrol's cafe extension/performance space, the small space made for an intimate performance. Jeffrey was very personable, sprinkling anecdotes, conspriracy theories involving Elian Gonzalez and George W, and tales of being a musician on the "fringe" inbetween songs. 
  After going on about how great the punch provided by the student union was, Jeffrey begin his accoustic set. He opened with a rousing rendition of "I Know A Man", and went on to play "Hero in me", "Anything New", and of course his cover of Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" which recieved a decent amount of radio play a few years ago. As a special treat, Jeffrey also performed a very..."spirited" rendition of "London Calling" by the Clash completed with a cockney accent, mangled words, and a few something somethings thrown in for good measure. (There were many more songs but those are the titles I remember.) It was a great show and was a different experience than seeing him open for Heart in 2002. Afterwards Jeffrey took the time to speak with every audience member, sign merchandise, and make sure that we finished off that great punch.

  - Anonymous JG Fan


Concert Under the Stars

September 2005

We placed our blanket as close to the stage as possible without actually being onstage. I sat with a group of friends and long-time fans, one of which was none other than Ace, our favorite Dirty Linen reporter (it’s not to late – you can still order your copy of the June/July issue with JG on the cover).

 As I waited for the show to begin, I took a look around. It was a beautiful late summer evening. The sky was an amazing canopy of blue with swirling clouds of white, coral and lavender. Scanning the lawn, I saw mostly families, and a few couples, many in bare feet. Among the coolers, beach chairs, and blankets there were grandparents, babies, dogs and kids playing cards. 

It was a festive atmosphere. The stage was set up under a nostalgic gazebo, beside a lovely pond. A thick grove of trees was the backdrop for a string of concession stands, selling lemonade, pinwheels and inflatable Spiderman toys. A few bikers and rollerbladers circled the area as a guy selling soft pretzels worked his way through the crowd and in the distance I could hear the playful melody of an ice cream truck. I slipped off my sandals and settled in.

By the time the opening act was introduced, a crowd of over 500 had gathered.

Kate Gaffney, a local singer-songwriter, strummed several tunes whose themes of love, loss and being on the road brought to mind early Joni Mitchell. Her voice was deep and folksy as she serenaded us, accompanied on several songs by her violinist friend Raquel. Her chords seemed sad and reflective yet somehow playful and comforting.

Between sets, local students collected donations for the Red Cross Hurricane Relief Fund and as darkness fell, Jeffrey arrived. As he began to set up, I noticed that a few stars had appeared along with the glow of neon light sticks and other sparkly toys.

Jeffrey greeted us and commented on the beautiful scenery and weather. It was a natural segue for the opening song, Happy That. He was wearing his usual denim jacket and Nike sneakers but this would not be a typical show.

Jeffrey shared with us a request he got from a long-time fan in the parking lot for the very early songs – we’re talking 1989! These were songs he performed at local colleges long before his café and rock club days. At first he had a little trouble remembering the words and wished for a teleprompter then he got it together and went on to play 3 songs I’d never heard before. As he played these tunes from waaaaaay back, there was a definite change in his energy as if he were possessed by the spirit of his former self.

When Jeffrey paused to take requests a tiny voice emerged from the darkness asking for The Waiting. She couldn’t have been more than 6. Jeffrey joyfully complied and we all sang along. When it was over we heard a small “Thank you.”

I think it was at this point that Jeff asked the sound guy to bring up the reverb on the next few songs.” Let’s make it sound real pretty for the people. Life is real enough, let’s put some sugar on it.”  Then he played Dark Love Song. It was amazing outside in the darkness accompanied by a chorus of crickets.  A few fireworks went off in the distance, making the moment a bit surreal.  Time seemed to stand still. He went on to play What Can I Do and To Be Free, then he paused for a moment to tune up and I jumped on the opportunity to yell out a request for Change is Gonna Come. He nodded and proceeded to sing it beautifully. It was deep and soulful and I never wanted it to end.

In the back of my mind somewhere my logical brain tried to advise me to check the time as I didn’t want to miss the last bus back to town (I don’t drive so I need to rely on the kindness of friends and the Philadelphia public transportation system) but I was so into the moment I didn’t even want to know. If I had to sleep in the park I wasn’t going to miss one minute of this show. It was pure magic.

During the entire show, Jeffrey just beamed. It was a gorgeous night. There were close to 600 people there to see him and there was a small group of us loyal Jeffrey fans right there front and center, cheering, clapping, dancing, swaying and singing along. He was enjoying it as much as we were and it was obvious he wasn’t in a hurry for it to end. He played for at least 2 hours and sang a record 25 songs! When he wished us all a good night  he promised to come back next year. Hope to see all of you there!

Later!

-EJ


 

Set List

Happy That

Beyond the Beginning

Falling Apart

Scares Me More

Didn’t want to Be a Daddy

I Know a Man

All of the World

You Believe in Me

A Million Days

Annie

Toast or Tea

Growing Stronger

The Waiting

Dark Love Song

What Can I Do

To Be Free

Change is Gonna Come

Right My Wrongs

Hero In Me

In Your Eyes

Always Be

Come Out Tonight

Life of the Living

Over and Over/Dear Mr. Fantasy

I Like You 

 
Wildflower Cafe
August 2005
 
When Dorothy opened the door leading her from Kansas gray to the explosion of color and possibility in the world of Oz, she didn't just step into a new place but a new way of being. I had that same feeling on Friday night as I entered the Wildflower Cafe; an eclectic, festive, playful, artsy, beautiful, magical, surreal, psychedelic, trippy, hippy hangout. The only thing missing was the lava lamp. This was not just a venue but a total celebration of sight, sound and experience.
 
Looking up, the first things you notice as you come in the back door are the fluffy 3-D clouds hovering near the ceiling. A flash of movement catches your attention as your eyes are drawn to the large aquarium inhabited by the most enormous koi and catfish. The room was small and seating was limited but I made my way to the front and settled in for the night on a tie dye covered inflatable mattress. The stage was lit with candles and Christmas lights and on the side wall, beside a gallery of paintings, there was a mural of a large red flower and a hummingbird. Are you feeling the vibe yet?
 
The opening act, Spider (I didn't catch the rest of his name), had already begun and he was just as authentic as the cafe. This young, idealistic, humble, sincere, sensitive, poet crooned to us sweetly of life and love. He spoke of his admiration for Jeffrey and paid tribute by performing his favorite, Sorry the Very Next Day, to close the set. I was a bit skeptical at first but his pure folk vocal captured the essence beautifully.
 
As Jeffrey entered the room, we all surprised him by singing Happy Birthday (his birthday was the day before). Jeff smiled broadly, thanked us and took the stage. He thanked the owner for having him back and said he was honored to be there in such a beautiful place. He went on to give high praises to the creativity and resourcefulness it took to create such imaginative ambience.
 
Jeffrey opened the show with Happy That and proceeded to mix it up with old and new favorites. The sound system was excellent and Jeff's voice flawless. A few songs in he played Right My Wrongs and the crowd sang along. Of course there was the usual sing-along to In Your Eyes as well but that's pretty much a given at Jeffrey's shows.
 
At some point, a wayward candle began to smoke and spread fire onto the surface of the floor speaker and in one swift motion, Jeff stomped out the flame and returned to the mike without missing a note. It was quite impressive. After the show, the owner brought out a cake and Jeffrey had no trouble putting those candles out either. Happy Birthday Jeff. Hope your wish comes true.
 
- EJ
 
Set List
(somewhat in order)
 
Happy That
Falling Apart
Scares Me More
Beyond the Beginning
Didn't Want to Be a Daddy
I Know a Man
Headmasters of Mine
Dark Love Song
Hero In Me
Shake it Off
I'll Have you (half)
Toast or Tea
Over and Over/ Dear Mr. Fantasy
Sweet Janine
Right My Wrongs
To Be Free
In Your Eyes
Always Be
Come Out Tonight
 
     ****   ****   ****   ****   **** ****   ****   ****   ****   ****
 

***This week we have two reviews from Steel City. Awesome!!
Thanks guys! Keep up the good work!
 
Steel City
(August 2005)
 
Hopefully I'm getting a little better at writing these things.
Living In Long Island NY, if you were to ask me to go 1 mile for a quart of milk I would say "no way" in fear that the traffic would never let me get back home. But tell me that my favorite singer-songwriter Jeffrey Gaines is playing 150 miles away and I would say "it's time for a roadtrip".  So on a sweltering day in August we did just that.
 
  We set off to a place called Steel City Coffee House, somewhere in PA. A small venue,holding about 80 people, I liked the place as soon as I entered. A good atmosphere with brick walls, exposed ceilings and murals scattered about. As I sat , I realized it was hotter inside than it was outside. It seemed the AC was not doing it's job. As the place filled up the hotter it got. Steel City has a BYOB policy in which I quickly exercised getting an ice cold 6 pack to try and beat the heat. But man it was hot!
 
I always anticipate Jeffreys arrival with a big smile on my face. I think his entrances are great! Tuning up and checking sound, I kicked back, forgot about the heat and listened to Jeffrey fill the air with that magical sound that takes his fans to that special place.
 
Coming staight from NYC, he appeared to be tired. He confirmed that, telling us in his own storytelling way that he didn't sleep much the night before. He ordered up a double espresso and within minutes he was back to his usual form. He played a lot of his slower songs, a bunch from the first album...which is always incredible to hear. I wondered if it was just too hot to play. He talked a lot tonight...more than usual. Anyone who has ever seen Jeffrey knows he is an incredible storyteller. As I looked around all I saw where huge smiles and wide eyes...as if we were all little kids following the pied piper. The effect that he has on people is just amazing!
 
His voice just seems to get better and better each time I see him...better with age as they say . The version of I'll Have You was just outstanding and one I have'nt heard him do in a while Choices always get you thinking.I can't wait for his next CD which I think will be out soon.
 
The passion that Jeffreys dedicated fans have for him is at a level I have never seen before. Just look around you next time at one of his shows. He makes people glow in his presence. The music that he makes touches us all in a different way, maybe makes us see things in a different way. He is our voice. For that I am grateful.
Never too old to learn.
 
Thanks,
Kenny
 
Set List
Happy That, Beyond The Beginning, Didn't want to be Daddy, Choices, I know a Man, Safety in Self, Fear, Over and Over, Hero in Me, I'll Have You, PG Song, To be Free, Always Be, Without You, Dark Love Song, TP song 

Steel City
(August 2005)
 
Hey there!
I am still so "full" from Friday's night gig, that I just had to write.  What an
outstanding experience (again)!  It was one of the best nights out I've had in
recent memory!  I don't think the smile left my face the entire evening.

First, Jeffrey was outstanding; he was soulful, funny, sexy, introspective...I
was happy to hear him sing quite a few songs from his first CD, as those are
the songs my friend, Jen, played for me when she first introduced me to
"J.G.'s" music.

The venue was a quiet little coffeehouse (seats approx. 90), which was filled to
the rim (okay, pun intended) with "J.G. fans"...Seems everyone (save one
admitted "newcomer") was very familiar with Jeffrey's music, which added to the
intimacy of the evening.

Second, I had the pleasure of meeting up with my "new friends", Janine and
Kenny.  I'd met them in New Haven, CT, when Jeffrey played with Edwin McCain
(another memorable evening), and it was such a nice surprise to see them again.
I'm learning of the special loyalty that Mr. Gaines' fans have for him, and I
appreciate that, especially.

I'm looking forward to getting the new CD/DVD for my birthday and will probably
wear it out within weeks! :)
My best to you all, and thank you, Jeffrey, for sharing your heart!
 
-Vanessa
Hainesport, NJ

***Hey Vanessa, Thanks for the report. Very nice. Sorry I missed that one. I hope you get JG Live ASAP!  I've already worn out one copy and I'm on my second. Hope you'll write again. - Liz

      ****   ****   ****   ****   **** ****   ****   ****   ****   ****

Red Bank (July 2005)

Took a while but here goes. Usually the ride from LI down to Jersey, over the Verrazano and the Outerbridge is as dreadful as they come, but today it didn't bother me as much. After all we were going to see one of my favorites...Jeffrey Gaines is as good as they come.
 
We got to Red Bank a little early and had lunch, it's a cool little town right on the river. What made it even better was that we got a parking spot right in front of the park. It was an outside venue, with the river as the backdrop - a nice little setup on the lawn.
We parked ourselves in our lawn chairs about 20 feet from the stage - of course we have to make sure Jeffrey can hear us singing!!
 
Under threatening skies, we waited through 2 opening bands, and to be polite I tried to conceal my chair squirming but to no avail  - it was time. I drove and waited long enough. As soon as the last band hit its last note, I let Jeffrey know I was ready. I think one of my favorite parts now is seeing him do his stroll down to the stage with his guitar on his back. I get just as excited as the first time. He was playing electric tonight...something tells me we should get used to seeing him playing that more and more. I think he knows its time for a change.
 
He opened with Falling Apart, and right into Happy That. Did his intros and played Beyond the Beginning and into I Know a Man. Usually that song gets it going...but I looked around and saw a bunch of uninformed Jeffrey fans. I said to myself, oh boy - it's not his usual fan base..yeah, there were a few of us here and there but I'm used to seeing a good bunch of fans, not tonight...it just meant we would have to be extra loud...oh well what's a fan to do?
 
Believe it or not Come out Tonight got their attention..it just sounded great and he hit it right and that's all he needed to get it going. A great version of  What It Is kept the crowd awake as well. After being provoked into playing that Peter Gabriel song he figured that TP song would fit in great next. After a mock version of Freebird...only kidding... he played 2 verses he got back to the good stuff..Good thing. I want to hear him play his music...but as he said he likes to give the people a well rounded evening .
 
He finished up with a few of his good ones and called it a night. I think the sound could have been much better and the people a little more receptive, but you know what...I just saw my favorite and in my opinion the greatest singer-songwriter ever. So for me it was another great night spent with Jeffrey Gaines.

- Kenny

Here's the set list (this time in order)...

Falling Apart
Happy That
Beyond the Beginning
I know a Man
Hero in Me
Scares me More
To Be Free
Come out Tonight
What it Is
That PG Song
That TP Song
Life of the Living
Headmasters of mine
Always Be
Over and Over

     ****   ****   ****   ****   **** ****   ****   ****   ****   ****

 

Gullifty's (July 2005)
 
It was a muggy night in Philly but something special was going on in the burbs. Gullifty's was celebrating their anniversary, family owned and operated for thirty years, and the place was packed. The opening act was the family. There were introductions and speeches, all culminating in the arrival of Mom and Dad onstage to commemorate the event by preserving their handprints in cement. Naturally, I was a little impatient to start the show but there was something very reassuring about witnessing such a strong family bond in this era of "me first" and "gimme now." It's no easy task keeping a business, or a family, going strong for thirty years and these people had managed to do both.
 
As Jeffrey was introduced, Dad held up a cassette tape and told the story of how Jeffrey walked in many years ago to inquire about playing there. Dad said he'd give it a listen and now 10 or 15 years later, here he was.
 
Jeff took the stage quietly and without his usual command of the room. After all, he was not the main event here. As he began to play, most of the crowd was at the bar watching the ball game or engaged in lively conversation. I appreciated the fact that it was a party but I hoped it would quiet down once he got going. It didn't. And my view was partially obstructed by a speaker. Still, I was determined to enjoy the show. There was a small group of enthusiastic fans gathered in front of the stage, where I should have been if only I had gotten there an hour earlier, and Jeff responded warmly to their support.
 
He was wearing blue instead of his customary black. Could be that the blue is just a little less heat-absorbing on these steamy summer nights or maybe the change was symbolic of things to come.  Jeff strapped on his electric - yes, electric - guitar and opened with Falling Apart.  I was hoping that he would really rock with it but it was apparent that he was doing his best to be respectful, considering the occasion, and was holding back.
 
Between songs he was jovial but it was obvious he wasn't quite at ease. His voice was soulful and he changed things up a bit by tweaking the songs with a little different spin - edgier (more foreshadowing). He's been giving us clues  that he's ready to take a few risks and  now the time has come.  The upcoming cd,  will be a major departure for him. It's a collaborative effort and at this point he doesn't know what form it will take. We'll have to just be patient for a few more months.In the meantime, I'm eagerly anticipating the next show...hopefully on familiar turf. I'm dying just to hear him wail on that guitar and really fire it up.
 
Jeff closed the show with Change is Gonna Come and the crowd, reflecting Jeffrey's polite behavior was just going to let him go without an encore but luckily, one of the Gulliftys took the mike and invited him back for one more song...The Waiting, and we all sang along.
 
On a final note, Jeffrey cleared up a great mystery that his fans have long pondered. His favorite gum is...peppermint bubble yum. So if ya happen to see it on the counter, pick up a pack and bring it to the show. It's not quite the same sentiment as flowers but I have a hunch Jeffrey will appreciate it just as much.
 
-EJ
 
Set List
Falling Apart
Beyond the Beginning
Scares Me More
Over and Over
Hero in Me
To Be Free
Without You
I Know a Man
Safety in Self
You Believe in Me
Happy That
I'm Not Perfect
Dark Love Song
Life of the Living
Come Out tonight
Headmasters of mine
I Was at a Party
In Your Eyes
Love Dissappears
Always Be
Change is Gonna Come
The Waiting
 
     ****   ****   ****   ****   **** ****   ****   ****  
 
 
Toad's Place (June 2005)
Our guest reporter this month
is our fellow die-hard fan and friend...Kenny!
 
Here's the scoop...
   A unique experience to say the least.  As usual Jeffrey rocked the house. Toad's House that is. I heard a lot about the place so it was cool to finally check it out. Although it's kinda big, holds about 1000 people, it seemed small. Jeffrey showed up about 9:15...came over and said his usual hellos and took the stage right away at 9:30. Of course as soon as he headed to the stage a handful of us JG fans "gooned" our way to the front. The stage was elevated so he was right above us. 
 
He opened with Talent for Surrender. It always amazes me how loud a small group of serious Jeffrey fans can be..right there with him singing word for word and we did throughout the whole show. Anyone who's seen him knows that he really feeds off his fans and he did just that...telling the sound man to crank it up going right into To be Free and he really started rocking!! He introduced himself to the Toads crowd and talked a little about his CD Towards the Sun. Played a bunch from that cd and went into I Know a Man, by this time his fans were in a frenzy..he knew it, gave us a big smile and rocked on.
 
To close his show E. McCain came out to sing Hero in Me with Jeffrey..it sounded fantastic. That was the first time I've ever heard him sing with someone so it was truly a treat for all of us, the place was going nuts..but his time ran out and he said his goodbyes. Jeffrey stopped by after the show and as usual he talked with all of us for about an hour..whose better than me..I'm hanging out with Jeffrey Gaines, talking like we were old pals..he definitely is one of a kind.
 
Just as E McCain was closing his show he was calling out for Jeffrey...now we are getting excited all over again...sure enough Jeffrey climbs onto the stage breaks out a harmonica and begins  to jam with Edwin and his band. Just when I thought it couldn't get any better they go right into Jeffrey's song Right My Wrongs. With Edwin on guitar, Jeffrey was free to groove with the music...and groove he did!!   I've never heard him sound better!!!!!!, The place was jumping and it took me 10 minutes to calm down after that..ahhh what a night.
 
For everyone who has yet to see this man perform can I ask what the hell are you waiting for? Get to his next show somehow....someway... it will be a day you will never forget.
 
Here's the song list (not in order)
 
(open) Talent for Surrender
Safety in Self
Come Out Tonight
Dark Love Song
Simple Prayer
Over and Over
Falling Apart
Hero in Me ( w/ E. McCain)
Life of the Living
To Be Free
Beyond the Beginning
I Know a Man
Right My Wrongs (w/ E. McCain)
 
Until Next Time,
Kenny
 
     ****   ****   ****   ****   **** ****   ****   ****   ****   ****
 
Cafe Arabica (June 2005)
 
Another great performance from JG. Heres my input. I was taking my son for his first JG show...he lit up like a christmas tree when he saw Jeffrey do his usual stroll through the crowd with his guitar on his back, it was exciting to see his reaction. When we got to Arabica and went to will call to get our tickets she says "Oh..you have reserved seats follow me"...put us 6 inches from the stage...now I was really excited!! Jeffrey saw me and said hello right away...I guess I'm becoming a fixture at his shows.
The place was nice. I quickly counted about 75 people. When he was setting up he stopped at the table and said hello to my son and began his usual rocking. He opened with Happy That...did his usual sound adjustments and continued on. Although he had a big smile on his face the whole time I think he was a little tight. He stopped in the middle of Toast and Tea and said, "I can't do this song its a little too bright in here and the mood just isn't there." Of course after a little arousing from the crowd he continued but I could see he just wasn't into it.
He told stories of going on the road with Sting and S. Nicks how they made it so easy for him to play in front of 10,000 people each night and how spoiled one gets when they reach stardom...He said "I'd like to see one of them try to do what I do...this shit is hard." I kinda get the feeling he wants to get a little more recognition, not that he doesn't like playing the small venues but he's getting tired and wants a taste. He rocked with the best version of You Believe in Me I've ever heard him do, even I had goosebumps!! 
After the show his girlfriend...I don't know her name... gave my son Jeffrey's pick and a button...this kid was on cloud nine...and of course so was I...he walked over to me and said "I know I'll see you soon we're gonna have a blast." I waited in line...oh In the middle of the show he announced that he was selling his CD's at the door for everyone to stop and buy one...I have never heard him do that before...maybe another indication he wants a taste. I waited my turn in line to say goodbye...we started bullshitting so much that someone said there is a line you know...he just kept on talking..,My girlfriend (Janine),  his girlfriend, me and him were talking up a storm!!! Finally we split...ahhh what a great night!! We need to get the word out!!! Maybe it's me but I think he just ROCKS!!
 
-Kenny
 
Here's the set list
(...it's not in order. I wrote them down on the way home...)
 
Beyond the Beginning
Falling Apart
Life of the Living
Headmasters of Mine
Dark Love Song
You Believe in Me (Smokin)!! 
Didn't Want to be Daddy
Toast or Tea
To Be Free
Sweet Janine
Happy That  (open)
In Your Eyes (played half the song...encore)
Always Be
Over and Over
I Know a Man (got the crowd going)
Safety in Self
I'll Have You
Scares Me More
Without You
 
***Thanks, Kenny, for being my eyes and ears . Nice job!
And no, it's not just you...we're gonna make this happen! - EJ
 
****   ****   ****   ****   **** ****   ****   ****  

Tin Angel                  
(April 2005)

Jeffrey walked in and placed a scented candle at the edge of the stage. Ordinarily, you might expect that gesture to set a sweet and romantic tone for the show but Jeff is always full of surprises. Minutes after taking the stage, it was apparent that Jeffrey was filled with some strange new energy and the kind of renewed sense of urgency that people often have after surviving a close call.

A few songs in, he confirmed my hunch when he announced that he was making some changes and was going to have more fun up there, making the show “more raw and ragged…no more gentle tears.”  His vocals were more rich, soulful and passionate as he aggressively attacked the strings (he can really play that thing!) The sound was edgier, as if he’d broken through some mental barrier or maybe he was just feeling really pissed at the world. Either way, it was pretty amazing. He was in rare form, pulling out all the stops. It was by far his most powerful show in recent months.

But in spite of the new tough guy attitude, we got a peek behind the wizard’s curtain to find the sensitive artist and poet when in the middle of Love Me he stopped, suddenly becoming self-conscious about putting those raw feelings out there in front of everybody. “If you want to hear the rest you can play the record.”

I wonder what other surprises Jeff has for us. I’ll keep you posted.

 

Set List

(in no particular order)

Life of the Living

I’ll Have You

Beyond the Beginning

Dark Love Song

In this Lifetime

Come Out Tonight

Hero in Me

I Know a Man

What It Is

Didn’t Want to Be a Daddy

Sweet Janine

Talent for Surrender

To Be Free

To Love Her Inside

Love Me

Our Lie

Falling Apart

Over and Over/Dear Mr. Fantasy

In Your Eyes

Without You

 

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Satalla (April 2005)
I got to Satalla a bit late for the show. The Jersey turnpike was closed and it was a traffic nightmare. After endless hours on the road, it was so soothing to walk into the room and hear Jeff crooning Beyond the Beginning, in his familiar black jacket, jeans and sneakers. He did dress it up a little by sporting a striped tie (after all, it's New York and ya gotta be stylin'). 
The vibe at Satalla is modern, chic and artsy. There is a small area directly in front of the stage containing several cushions for those who want to get up close and personal. I prefer a little distance to preserve my anonymity so I can sing along without drawing too much attention. 

Since this was to be a special "sneak preview night" I was hoping to hear something from the new cd he's been working on and was a bit disappointed when there were no surprises. The hostess said he had sung 2 songs before I got there so it is possible that I missed it. Oh well, It was still an amazing show and Jeff sounded great.
The set included the classics - I Know a Man, Hero in Me, Safety In Self, Shake it Off, Always Be, You Believe In Me and To Love Her Inside as well as a few tunes from Toward the Sun: In this Lifetime, Life of the Living, and Over and Over which segued into Dear Mr. Fantasy. 
If you've ever been to a Jeffrey Gaines concert you probably know that he's a dynamic storyteller. Between songs, Jeff is likely to fill us in on new developments in his career or comment on happenings in the music industry. You may catch him in a serious moment, expressing concern for a global humanitarian issue but it may surprise some fans to know that although he writes some somber and intense music, he is a very funny guy. He tells amusing anecdotes about family and friends and shares the stories behind the songs.  
At Satalla, Jeff threatened to steal one of the cushions and informed us that his place is decorated with furniture from his many gigs and that he has saved everything from his career, over the years, including his sneakers and hair, just in case they're worth something someday.  He commented on what it's like being the little guy on the road with the big headliners and how being poor forces you to be more creative (a friend of his turned a road sign into a breakfast nook). He had a conversation with his guitar about how he mistreats her and once he interrupted a song to reccommend the hamburgers.
Near the end of the show, Jeff gave an open invitation to anyone in the audience to come up on stage and sing with him. My friend, Becky, who happened to be celebrating her birthday, took the stage (and the mike) and sang along to
In Your Eyes
Jeff ended the show with his usual Thank You and recieved a standing ovation, which prompted him to return to the stage to sing The Waiting and
Come Out Tonight
If you haven't been to a show this year, what are you waiting for? Treat yourself to a night of fun and great music.  Check out the upcoming tour dates. Hope to see you at the next one!
Ciao!
 
-EJ
 
Saturday Night at the Point (March 2005)
I arrived at The Point between sets and settled into the cozy atmosphere.  I almost expected to see the gang from Friends nesting on the couch. The place was packed, despite the fact that Jeffrey was performing twice that night. I like to catch the second show because his voice is nicely warmed up and he's played all the greatest hits in the first set. Of course, I love them all but I do enjoy hearing many of the lesser known tracks from Galore and Always Be. Also, since Jeff often forgets what he played in the first show, he's more likely to take requests.
The stage lights came up and the crowd welcomed Jeffrey like an old friend.  He started out with a little conversation. He wasn't wearing his usual black or denim jacket, but a vintage tan leather blazer that belonged to his father.  He spoke about his childhood and explained how he got into the music scene. He teased us by mentioning that he's been writing a lot of new material but wouldn't be playing any of it for us.
Halfway through the set, Jeff seemed to be running out of steam ( you try rocking for 4 hours! )  but drawing energy from the cheering crowd, he bounced back and gave us an amazing performance, including a dynamic sing-along with the audience to Tom Petty's The Waiting and ending with his traditional Thank You song. Either of these would be a fantastic addition for the next record. The air in the room was buzzing with excitement and the crowd response was electric, offering Jeffrey not one but two well-deserved standing ovations. 
Jeff always gives us more than our money's worth but  no matter how long he plays it never seems long enough. Next time I will be attending both shows.
 
-EJ
 
 

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BB King's Blues and Grille (January 2005)

Jeff and the band played BB King's on Wednesday night in the heart of New York - Times Square. I didn't feel the least bit guilty ditching work to hit the road from Philly.  The event was sponsored by the Black Rock Coalition and emceed by Nona Hendrix. David Ryan Harris opened and I was equally impressed by his voice and his music. He has this cool gadget that records what he plays so he can accompany himself. I think he and Jeff should tour together. I'd be there! His style (blues/jazz-soul-folk) is a  perfect complement to Jeffrey's (rock-soul-folk) I will definitely be buying his cd. Check out his website! Very hi-tech, although I'd like to read more in his journal than his complaints about the weather. When Jeff and the guys came out it was like Christmas. All I kept thinking was "It doesn't get any better than this." Great seats, good company, food and drink and my man Jeff and the band (Shay Quinn, Charlie Drayton and the incomparable Matt Thomas) singing and playing their hearts out. I tried to compose myself and just listen politely like the rest of the audience but after a couple glasses of wine I didn't care anymore and I sang along to every song (Sweet Janine threw me a little. Couldn't remember the second verse at all). Jeff's voice was strong and the band was right there to back him up. At the end I yelled out a request for Together - my favorite these days - and got my wish. Thanks Jeff! That made the night complete. Sigh...can we do that again?

***If you ever get a chance to see Jeffrey perform with a full band... beg, borrow or steal (okay, maybe not steal) to get there!