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Stephen Clair

August 8 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm


Singer-songwriter Stephen Clair has spent most of his life obsessed with music. He remembers his grandfather singing from behind the wheel of his car and gifting him a Johnny Cash record early on. It made an indelible impression, one he carries with him even now. “I’ve been on this wild ride since I was a kid.” he insists. “I started out when I was 5, playing air guitar to Edgar Winter in the basement. And before I was out of my teens, I was teaching guitar. Meanwhile, I was always a writer too. With poems and stories appearing in journals in magazines, I found myself straddling two worlds. Sometime in my 20s, I decided to go for it and sing what I had to say. Ten albums later, I’ve finally figured out how to marry the two.” His latest effort, auspiciously dubbed The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, could be considered the culmination of that quest. It spotlights the artist in a stripped-down solo setting, his vocals accompanied only by a guitar and occasionally rickety piano. Yet as always, the melodies are decidedly descriptive, fleshed out by emotion, engagement and intent. Like all the albums he’s released since his 1997 debut, Altoona Hotel-named for the place his grandfather called home-it’s a remarkably revealing set of songs. “These tunes are naked like nothing I’ve ever done before,” Clair contends. “It dramatically magnifies the stories in the songs. These little songs read like a collection of short stories. In a way, and at the same time, I get to showcase these delicate little guitar parts to support the songs.” Nevertheless, the space between the notes is as essential as the actual sounds themselves, the result of Clair meticulously laboring over these intimate arrangements-recording in isolation and ensuring that each entry emerged as a precise performance, sans any overdubs or editing. It’s quite an accomplishment and one worthy of an artist for whom personality, and perspective, always maintain equal footing. Having toured consistently over the years, he’s won the praises of pundits along the way, even while remaining just below the radar. Hopefully, now the public will finally catch on. With the solitary yet striking sound of The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, Clair offers his most dramatic and descriptive effort yet, one that ought to accelerate that appreciation. “Yeah,” he reflects. “I think I’m finally getting somewhere.” – Relix Magazine, Lee Zimmerman



August 8
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm


Poetry Lounge
313 North Ave. + Google Map