Hebrew School


Clare Burson debuts Silver and Ash @ Joe’s Pub, Thursday, Feb. 26

Are yall excited for Clare’s show on Thursday?

This will be a multimedia treat: A song cycle interwoven with story monologues unearthing the past. Audience members will receive an arty songbook which chronicles the music along with a 3-song sampler of the upcoming Tucker Martine-produced CD. Clare sings songs so sincere and heartfelt that you will immediately, even if you don’t know her at all, want to be her Best Friend Forever.

This show will also be awesome because it will be a “full band” show. I’ve only seen Six Points fellow Clare on stage by herself, so I’m excited about this, especially from what I hear in the warm yet fuzzed-out textures of her ensemble recordings. The band features Adam Levy on guitar (Norah Jones, Jenny Scheinman, Tracy Chapman), Tony Leone on drums (Ollabelle, Levon Helm, Rickie Lee Jones), and Andy Cotton on bass.

Click here for show details.

Click here to buy tickets. SOLD OUT

Advertisements


“So like, how’s your project going?”

There it is, that pervasive question the past year and a half. Jack wants to know, as does bubbe, an R train rider, the Jews, Obama pollwatchers, Sixpoint Hop Obama drinkers, Six Points fellow fellows, and an assorted cadre of friends of friends, enemies of enemies, would-be impresarios and so forth.

Because the fellowship has presented me with such a great opportunity to push my art into such an exciting new direction, with new territory and parameters, the project’s been like a bond of pregnancy for me (as close as I’ll ever know, anyway). When someone is pregnant, I don’t ask them, “So, how do you think you’ll be able to carry this baby to term?” or, “So, is this baby going to be a successful orthodontist when it grows up?” Rather, I say, mazel tov, or even better yet, besha’ah tovah, meaning “in good time.” To be honest, I’d rather let the thing come to fruition before removing its foreskin.

Which isn’t to say that I haven’t appreciated your questions. Very much so, in their sincerity, I have. And it isn’t to say, perhaps unlike traditional Jewish pregnancy, that some celebrating isn’t in order, and hence I will give you some details from the ultrasound:

Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny, and Hebrew School has evolved into what could be described as my Trout Fishing in America. This is to say that Hebrew School might itself be a questioning individual, a dusty place with shafts of sunlight coming in, a paradoxical outlook, a brisket recipe, a living ideal (real or imagined), a past abutted against the present. The songs play out these conflicting scenarios as if they were generated from a computer by chance, meaning that, depending on who you are, some songs may be heartwarming, others reprehensible.

Hebrew School goes into the recording studio in November. I’m happy to say that we’ll be recording in my own neighborhood of South Brooklyn, and that I’ll be joined by members of Golem, Lucinda Black Bear, and other surprise special guests. The record’s release will occur early this spring, with an accompanying show. Keep checking this site for more details as they develop!



Hebrew School at Banjo Jim’s

I’m happy to report on the success of Hebrew School’s first show this past Sunday at Banjo Jim’s. Since the show for me was somewhat experimental in nature– a way for me to chart the project’s musical direction in a live setting– I hadn’t publicized it widely outside of the blog. Nonetheless, a staunch group of dear friends came out to support me, including the amazing Jill Vogel, playwright Adam Mathias, director William Addis, Jorge Reichert, Innajara Simoes, and dear friend Kate Taylor.

Though tonight was largely a Six Points evening, it started out with a really fabulous singing and guitar-piano duo, the Pearl and the Beard.

above: Pearl, Beard

Clare Burson‘s new material is sweet and haunting.

My set, starting a little after 9:30, filled out the Super Bowl‘s calamitous fourth quarter for my hometown team, the New England Patriots. I literally watched the implosion occur as I played, on the TV screen above the bar. Nonetheless, the ruach (i.e., the Schwartz) was with me…

At a certain point I chose to ecstatically look at the ceiling instead. What would JJD?

…and thanks to the musicians I worked with, Taylor Bergren-Chrisman and Tim Monaghan, we did more than get the first downs. As a matter of fact, I believe we rocked.

Here’s a clip of the tail end of a work in progress entitled “He Looked at the Sun.” More videos to be posted on youtube soon!

The set included several more works in progress, including a song about hypocrisy in the Bible in the context of the current Israel/Palestinian struggle, an argument for atheism, and an incantation of love and reverence for God. Some songs use Jewish liturgical texts; some have original lyrics.

Dan Fishback phenomenized the defeatingly self-aware, post-structuralist woe of a twentysomething with the predictable vigor and candor.

Jeremiah Lockwood wove together a very different kind of blues, full of splendid tales of faith and murder, creatively and deftly accompanying himself– often in unison– with octave voicings on the guitar.

Thanks to those who came out, and keep an eye out for more Hebrew School in the not-too-distant future!