|(Booneville, Kentucky) – As Lonesome Day Records bluegrass artist Jeff Clair continues to crisscross America on tour in support of his latest release, They Called Him Jesus, the Kentucky-bred artist has taken time out of his busy schedule to record a Bob Seger classic for a forthcoming tribute album to the Silver Bullet man.
Clair’s contribution to Silver Bullet Bluegrass, which will be released on Lonesome Day Records later this year, is the track, “Roll Me Away” from Seger’s 1982 album “The Distance.” The album is in its final stages of production and also features contributions from Josh Shilling (Mountain Heart), Tim Shelton, Jeff Parker, Keith Garrett (The Boxcars), and Ward Hayden, the singer of Lonesome Day Records rockers Girls Guns And Glory.
“This is a very tasteful tribute that will showcase Seger’s songs, as well as the great voices that are in bluegrass,” says Lonesome Day Records owner Randall Deaton, who founded the label in 2002. As for Clair’s track, the artist says, “I’m excited to be part of Silver Bullet Bluegrass. Bob Seger is such an icon in the music industry and to be asked to do ‘Roll Me Away’ on the tribute is a big honor. Seger has such a unique voice and his music is a departure from the straight ahead bluegrass that I have done in the past but I was glad for the challenge and Randall’s confidence in my ability to expand into other genres.”
Clair is also getting ready to start work on a new record that will be produced by Muscle Shoals native and former Mercury Records artist Gary Nichols (The Steel Drivers). Brought together by Randall, who has known Clair since he was 13 years old and who met Nichols at Rudyfest about a year ago. He notes “I was wearing a Sun Records T-shirt and Gary thought that was unusual for a bluegrass festival. He came over and we started talking.” Nichols, backed by The Steel Drivers band, also contributed a song to Silver Bullet Bluegrass.
Of the artist’s musical direction, Randall says, “Jeff’s on a mission to make bluegrass music with lyrical content that is more relevant to society today than what is found in a lot of bluegrass music. Jeff is from Eastern Kentucky and can relate to the lyrical content of traditional bluegrass songs because he grew up in the culture, but he also knows that if you are going to connect with people today you have to sing about topics that they can relate to.”
Bluegrass Today.com has been singing the artist’s praises as well, describing “They Called Him Jesus” as “soulful, old-style bluegrass music.”
“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 Dixie Hall, Bob Gilbert, Judy Marshall, Larry Sparks and others,” Clair told Bluegrass Today.
Clair’s bluegrass roots run deep. As a child, his father would take him to concerts in Jackson, Kentucky, where he’s from, and introduced him to such greats as Larry Sparks, Dave Evans, Ralph Stanley, and Sam Wilson. “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,” he told the publication.
When Clair isn’t busy making music or touring, he volunteers his time and talent with the Appalachian Service Project (ASP), an organization which benefits low income families in the Appalachia area, including repairing homes and improving the living conditions of those less fortunate.
“Appalachian Service Project provides a great service to the people in our region and they should be commended for it,” explains Clair, who has been volunteering for 15 years. “Providing an educational concert for the volunteers is my way of thanking them for all they have done to help the people of Appalachia. In addition to making lifelong friends and meeting thousands of people we have had the opportunity to present bluegrass and traditional music to an audience that may have not heard this style of music otherwise. Many of the volunteers come from hundreds of miles away and I’m glad we had the opportunity to introduce all of them to bluegrass music and bring in new fans for the music.”
|March 29, Clay City, KY, Meadowgreen Park Music Hall
April 3, Hazard, KY, Coal River Grille
April 12, Vest, KY, Beckham Combs Community Center
June 7, Hallie, KY, Line Fork Community Center
June 20, Cedar Bluff, VA, Southwest Virginia Community College
June 21, Beattyville, KY, private party