"I'm a romantic," he said. "Truth and beauty, truth and beauty... and coffee."
Where is a camera when I need it? Oh, that's right, I left it on my desk last night, with the fleeting thought that surely I wouldn't be sitting in a good place to get a decent picture at the concert. I had no idea that by the end of the evening, Jay Clifford - "The Singer" - would be kneeling down next to me, talking about music and mutual friends. Aaaggghhh!
The whole concert was great. I got a cup of vanilla rooibus tea - my favorite "to order" tea - and sat with Dad and Kevan at a round table halfway back from the stage, waiting for the music to begin. Haley Dreiss started the show, and I actually liked her a lot. She is a brilliant violin player and has a nice voice too.
Then came Jay Clifford. I read a review of his music that I totally agree with:
"Jay Clifford owns one of rock's supreme voices: a silky-smooth, soulful tenor that never sounds forced or ugly. He can belt it out at need (even unmiked), but there's none of that gravelly bellowing that often passes for pop singing. And he gives you as refined and totally original a product as you can find in his genre: tender, poetic lyrics; gorgeous melodies; and sophisticated harmonies." - Lindsay Koob, Charleston City Paper
It was so cool to see him live without his old band, "Jump, Little Children." I love JLC, but when he was alone, he was more personal. It helped, I'm sure, that he grew up in Winston-Salem, and went to the School of the Arts, which is really close by. He told stories about his childhood and the stories behind a lot of his songs, and took requests to play really old obscure songs that only people who knew him in highschool would remember... and there were a lot of those people there. It was fun to feel like I was in a private concert between Jay and some of his oldest friends. :) At the end, he got off the stage, and without a mike or amp or lights, he played and sang Cathedrals, which is one of the most beautiful songs I think he's written. It was very personal and intimate.
And when it was over, this guy cleared the crowd so we could get to the backdoor to leave, he motioned for Jay to say hello to me. It all happened so fast - I was so excited and so worried I'd say something foolish - that I don't really remember all that was said. But I smiled all the way home, and I think I fell asleep smiling, because I woke up smiling too. What a great night!