Eastern Kentucky’s Jeff Clair is a long-time student of the music of such masters of tradition as Larry Sparks and James King. So no one will be surprised that his new solo project, They Called Him Jesus, is marked by soulful, old-style bluegrass music.
Since he was a pre-teen, Clair has been building a deep familiarity with the traditional, unvarnished style of picking and singing that Sparks epitomizes.
“My father used to book bluegrass shows here in Jackson, KY where I make my home, and I was aquainted at an early age with Larry Sparks, Dave Evans, Ralph Stanley, and Sam Wison. I grew up listening to this style of bluegrass and when I started performing on my own, naturally I played a style that is heavily influenced by these artists.
I sing and play each note with a lot of feeling and sing straight from the heart. I like to keep my music down to earth and keep the instruments pretty close to the melody.”
Still a young man (in his early thirties), Jeff has put together a band of like-minded musicians for this record. John Rigsby handles mandolin and fiddle, with Clair on guitar and lead vocals, Mitch Bentley on bass, and Rex Patrick on banjo. Harmony vocals are provided by Jeff Brown (tenor) and Ricky Prater (baritone).
He shared a few words about the new CD, and samples from a few of the tracks.
When I set out to make this CD, I wanted to make a CD that included both classic songs and some new material but I wanted to maintain the traditional sound and I think we were able to accomplish that with this album.
The title cut is an original that I wrote just prior to recording the album and there are cuts from, Ozzie Thorpe, Tom T. and Dixe Hall, Bob Gilbert, Judy Marshall, Larry Sparks and others.
I hope people enjoy it.”
A Picture Of Jesus: [http://traffic.libsyn.com/thegrasscast/picture_on_the_wall.mp3]
They Called Him Jesus: [http://traffic.libsyn.com/thegrasscast/called_him_jesus.mp3]
The Bible And The TV Guide: [http://traffic.libsyn.com/thegrasscast/tvguide.mp3]
Little One Room Schoolhouse: [http://traffic.libsyn.com/thegrasscast/schoolhouse.mp3]
They Called Him Jesus is available from popular online download and CD sites.
Radio programmers can download the album from Airplay Direct.