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Stephen Clair at Catskill Brewery 1pm

Saturday, June 15, 2024 @ 1:00 pm
This event is in the past.

Stephen Clair rocks the house at Catskill Brewery on Saturday June 15th 2024. Come see a free, family friendly, live music performance in Livingston Manor, NY.

“Stephen Clair is in a fine position to secure that big breakout he’s been building towards over the course of eight albums and a career that’s found him in the role of a tireless troubadour.”
— American Songwriter

“Clair’s talents—deadpan delivery, keen wordsmithing, and deceptively intricate fretwork—
are at the fore, shining through …”
—Chronogram Magazine

Performing Songwriter calls him “the kind of citified troubadour that the roots songwriting world needs these days.”

“The Small Hours makes me feel the way I used to back in the 80’s about new Mellencamp records, where I would listen to them over and over again, absorbing every detail and nuance until I knew them as well as I did my own life. Yeah, I can see Clair’s music inspiring that kind of devotion… “
— Gonzookanagan

How does a genuinely visceral rock songwriter like Stephen Clair not get feted like the second fuckin’ coming?” —Power of Pop

“Stephen Clair’s Strange Perfume is a perfect homage to 1970s garage rock. Think in terms of Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers or if David Bowie had gotten a crack at producing The Velvet Underground. The major thing separating Clair from those artists, and artists like them is the joy within his music. While there’s emotional complexity and variety across the album, Clair and his band, in general, sound happy and excited to be bringing his ten songs to life and that excitement is transmitted to the listener.”
– Steve Ovadia/Glide Magazine

“Some of the best rock ‘n’ roll music you’ll hear this year. Raw and in-your-face, Strange Perfume reminds us all of the visceral power of rock ‘n’ roll, without pretence or artifice.”
— Power of Pop

“Blending the kind of jaggedly cool guitar and piano that put Spoon on the map with a deadpan, almost spoken-word vocal delivery, the song quickly evolves into a righteous bar band anthem that feels as much linked to acts like the Hold Steady as it does to Wilco”
— Glide Magazine

The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life

Stephen Clair’s grandfather was always singing from behind the wheel while occasionally opening the car door to spit. It was Grandpap who played young Stephen a Johnny Cash record when he was five years old, and that’s everything Stephen remembers from his youth. Best known for his wry humor and guitar stylings, the Beacon, NY musician has been a fixture on the Americana, alt-country, and dorky independent rock scene since his 1997 debut, Altoona Hotel, named for the town his grandfather called home.

He’s released many more albums over the years and toured and done all the things, experiencing all the near misses of life in the biz. Critics and his family love him first. Everyone else has come around in their own sweet time.

Rawboned, his latest effort, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, features only Clair and a guitar, except when it’s Clair and a rickety piano. The songs are miniature stories, the essence of emotion, and the arrangements and performances fit accordingly. “Every note, every part — including the air around it — is intentional,” says Clair. “I recorded it alone, in a room, over months, guitar in my lap, mousing with one hand, groping through the microphones surrounding me. I recorded take after take of each song. What you hear are complete, intact performances of each song. No punching in, no edits, no cutting and pasting. Each track on the record is a complete performance.”

There’s air in these songs, for sure. Every melody counts, as does each breath, word, and the space in between. Repetition is another device Clair takes full advantage of. Repeating words or lines can show longing, anticipation, and even obsession. The singer in “Watering the Flowers” and “Pizza and Fairy Tales” uses this to full effect. The sanguine narrator provides the play-by-play as they incessantly water the flowers, waiting, wondering, attempting to keep their shit together.

Clair first came to prominence when the late Rita Houston pronounced her love for “Jen in Her Underwear,” adding it to regular rotation on WFUV, thereby putting Clair on the map and the road. His next effort was Under the Bed, followed by What Luck (2007.) In 2019, Clair teamed up with celebrated producer Malcolm Burn (U2 and Emmylou Harris), the result, an epic garage album, Strange Perfume. Paste Magazine declared “Clair’s lyrics are everyman poetry with a dash of self-deprecation and gallows humor to go with his otherwise uncluttered views of the world around and within him.”

With an album so bare is this new one, it’s as if we are in the room with Stephen Clair, knee to knee. Just listen.

Altoona Hotel 1997
Little Radio 2003
Under The Bed 2004
What Luck 2007
Love Makes Us Weird 2015
Push Back 2017
Strange Perfume 2019
The Small Hours 2020
To The Trees 2022
The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life 2023