Studio@620 The Studio@620

Jeff Black in Concert

The Studio@620 presents Jeff Black in Concert

The Studio@620 is pleased to announce the return of Jeff Black who first played at The Studio in July 2008.  You are invited to once again spend an evening with songwriter and musician Jeff Black who "digs into tough topics with a gentle heart".  Now promoting his latest collection of instrumental songs called "Sleepy Town".

Lullabies....

Berceuse; French for lullaby, or, cradle song. Originating in England in the late 1300’s had but a single purpose: To lull a child to sleep. We soothe our children with them. We soothe ourselves by humming a familiar tune when the stress of the day becomes overwhelming. As we grow older our lullabies are often songs that take us out of ourselves and let our souls rest. Music is this, from birth.


Jeff Black, singer/songwriter, has released a set of lullabies (titled: Sleepy Town) he wrote for his two young children. These nine tunes, composed and performed on piano sans vocals, are touching remembrances of how sweet the face of your baby is when he’s slipping into the calmness of sleep.   I’m afraid the lullaby has become a lost art in our IPod, MP3 driven world.  The refrain of a simple melody negates the electronic world and distills the pleasure of things uncomplicated to its essence: Us, alone together, and at peace.


Play them gently for the young ones - but don’t leave yourself out.  Jeff’s tunes will take you on a journey well intended for relaxation and sleep.  He has four other albums that are treasures for those of us looking for artists that (indeed) have the rare talent of matching words and music as the natural partners they are.  I have a few cd’s that I call my comfort music; one’s that I use to bring me back down to earth and provide a cocoon of relief and calm, Jeff has just added another with this marvelous issue of great lullabies.  With Valentines day coming this would be a great time to gift yourself and your friends and spread the word on Jeff Black’s music.   -- Robert Tussey for SAN DIEGO WOMAN 
 

Jeff Black Speaks about Sleepy Town

"This is a collection of piano dreams I recorded with a single microphone on my old Steinway upright a few years ago when the babies were small. On quiet days I went about calling up some pictures in my mind to set a melody to and, to have something from home to play when the little ones were trying to go to sleep. We made some copies for family and friends and, since the songs came in so easy, we decided to send them out the same way. Just simple songs to dream by. I hope you like them and share them with those you know who want to go. I know from experience that they prove out."

Tin Lily

A tin lily is just what it says—and much more than it seems. A thin piece of metal shaped in the petals of a delicate flower, it’s designed to take a soft glow, often from a candle, and give it more shine. It’s a hard element that does what it can to spread something as ethereal yet as essential as light.
Jeff Black’s songs do much the same thing. They start in a personal place, often hidden back in
the darkness, yet they always strive to illuminate. He’s a burly, bare-knuckled, blue-collar son of the Missouri plains with dark Irish blood who digs into tough topics with a gentle heart. There’s nothing predictable about a Jeff Black lyric other than it will be sung robustly and it will head towards hope instead of dwell on despair.
Black’s fourth album, Tin Lily, is as hard to pin down as his previous work, where he has collaborated with everyone from rock experimentalists Wilco to Americana favorite Iris Dement to progressive bluegrass stalwart Sam Bush. As usual, Black found an inspired collection of musicians to collaborate with him on the self produced Tin Lily.

Mandolinist Sam Bush, who’s last album was named after his cover of Black’s song “King of the
World,” joins former Johnny Cash bassist Dave Roe, former Steve Earle drummer Craig Wright
and guitarists Will Kimbrough, who’s currently working with Rodney Crowell and Jimmy
Buffett, and Kenny Vaughan, who performs with the likes of Kim Richey and Lucinda Williams
among so many others. Engineered and mixed by Billy Sherrill, the song cycle on Tin Lily
exemplifies the duality that make Jeff Black such a compelling, vital and important performing
songwriter.


“Black is an artist of substance,” wrote Billboard in a review that compared his piano ballads to
Randy Newman and his rockers to Bruce Springsteen. Paste magazine adds, “The search for
spiritual sustenance and lasting meaning underpins Black’s reverent, battling-the-darkness-and winningJeff Black Album Cover: Tin Lily   songs.” He concedes that, while he doesn’t want to offer in-depth explanations of what
his songs mean, “I love songs about freeing the spirit, about minimizing the struggle the best you can, about treating your individuality as something that’s precious and important,” he says.
“Those are the topics I come back to because those are the ideas I keep examining within myself.” But Black is too complicated to make it easy. His songs take unexpected turns, cursing and snarling at points, showing their lust and their desire as well as their determination to remain bound for glory.


The disc opens with “Easy On Me,” a rolling, blues-inflected warning of sorts whose narrator
makes an unapologetic plea “Hey I know what you want from me/but I’ve given all that I can
give/you believe what you believe/but I think I need my soul to live.” Black knows the way of the
heart when it’s filled with love. But there’s no greeting card sentimentality here. Songs like
“Hollow Of Your Hand” and “Heaven Now” depict love in the real world, where it is often
tempered by the trials and tribulations of everyday life, ”We leave the ground to reach for
something true/take all these hand me downs and make them new/rave on beyond the waiting
and let it go/she’s so beautiful.” The swaggering rock of “Libertine” leans toward the altruistic
meaning of the word with total abandon. The soulful piano jam / thump shuffle of “Free At Last”
proves that the piano is indeed a rock instrument and that soul music by definition should always
be categorized by the source and not necessarily the retail bin.
Washed in the spirit and built on simple truths, his songs are ambitious epics performed with
brawny passion. Irony does not reside here; Black’s compositions ring out with the unadorned
truth of the moment they were conceived. His desire to dig deeper, to cut to the marrow is
another hallmark of Black’s writing. He knows the world is painted in more subtle shades than
black and white, so he writes songs with a painter’s eye for nuance and detail. His songs delve
into complex emotional territory with a simplicity that often belies the craft that goes into their
making.


As anyone who’s seen his moving, funny, and unpredictable concerts already knows, He never
plays the same show twice, pulling from his commercial catalog “Birmingham Road” Arista
1998 “Honey And Salt” Blue Rose 2003, “B-Sides And Confessions Volume One” Dualtone
2003,” and the new music on “Tin Lily”, he responds to the moment and to whatever voodoo is
floating through the air shared by a unique collection of people on any given night with the
stories and songs that transcend the role of a singer/songwriter and his instrument. What makes a
Jeff Black record or show exciting is that, as a listener, you know the singer is there not to
perform for you, but to take you on a journey with him.

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