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Makin’ Lemonade. The tuba summons up the joyful, bluesy quality of New Orleans
Jazz, which suites the lyrics beautifully. Claudia just says that she likes the sound.
Sound Waves
Claudia writes, sings, and plays guitar, but doesn’t like being labeled a singer/
North Shore Music Review and Commentary
songwriter. “It sounds so cold, cut and dry,” she says. She’s been writing since she
was eleven years old, when, “something crazy happened down my street and I wrote
Joseph Shortsle a song about it.” Her creativity “comes like a spark,” with the first verse or line and
its music coming together quickly. “Some of my best songs are often the ones that
came the quickest to me. They were not necessarily overly crafted from the begin-
“Fixing what might be broke and
ning.” Claudia’s music is often an expression of her thoughts on everyday life and
living and the candor of her lyrics reveals a deep honesty in her songwriting. “I’m
just embracing what you can’t fix”
not a read between the lines kind of person,” she confesses. She is unwilling to cat-
egorize herself, but when pressed explains that, “my music is about communication
Seldom have I been more excited about a musician than the music they per-
or the lack thereof.” She describes her perspective thus: “Everyone has their issues
form. I was introduced to Claudia Jacobs through Charlie McKenna and, at that
and their dysfunctions. I wasn’t raised to live in a glass house; I’m down in the mud
point, knew nothing of her. After our
with everyone else.” It’s this essential, human connection that permeates Claudia’s
conversation I found myself raving about
work, and it is what I find so compelling. “I wear my heart on my sleeve. Not that
her to my friends, even though I hadn’t
I’m vulnerable; I’m just honest. They used to call me honest Claude.”
yet heard any of her
After graduating from Stony Brook
music. Her personality,
University, Claudia “made her way
warmth and optimism,
directly to Greenwich Village where
seems to circumvent
she passed her days amongst the many
social boundaries and
talented Fast Folk singers and songwrit-
personal walls to forge
ers, performing at the Clearwater Town
an immediate connec-
House Concert series, Central Park Band
tion with her audience.
Shell, The Speakeasy, and even Folk
The Claudia Jacobs
City near the end of its days with artists
Band recently released
such as Christine Lavin, David Massen-
“Makin’ Lemon-
gill, Suzanne Vega, Dave Van Ronk, and
ade”, a 5-track EP
Cliff Eberhardt.” She was immersed in
that Claudia calls a
the musician’s life through her twenties;
“surprise” album. The band had intended to release an LP, but a
until she settled down to raise a family
month-and-a-half before its début at the Patchouge Arts Theater
on Long Island. Her thirties brought her
there was a catastrophe and all their tracks were lost. They still
three children and it was then that Clau-
wanted to give their fans something, though, so they got right back
dia “began a parallel career as a natural
in the studio and started “Makin’ Lemonade”. “The support and
childbirth instructor and Doula helping
talent of the guys in my band have been very moving and inspir-
women and couples give birth safely, and
ing for me,” Claudia says. Helping with “Makin’ Lemonade” as
as comfortably as possible.” Three years
well as the full-length CD are fellow guitarist Greg Galluccio (who
ago, a friend asked Claudia to come out
engineered the tracks at his studio, Surfr Studios), the exiting chair
to an open mic night to sing a song. She
of Stony Brook’s music department Dr. Dan Reymouth on keys
hasn’t stopped performing since. “I can
and organ, well-known Long Island drummer Mark Portugal, and
look at my hiatus from heavy music
Tristan Eggener, doctoral student at SUNY Stony B rook, who
playing and say that I’m a better musi-
plays upright & electric bass and tuba. Claudia confesses that she’s
cian for my life experience.”
recently begun a love affair with the tuba. “I don’t think even the
As an artist, Claudia radiates feelings of
tuba guy likes the tuba as much as I do,” she laughs.
acceptance and wisdom. “[Artists] are
“My music encompasses a lot of different styles,” she says,
the mirror to society. They say things
“I was raised on a lot different sounds.” Growing up, she heard
that others aren’t willing to.” Her mes-
David Bromberg, Frank Zappa, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
sage is often more social than political
and Todd Rundgren emanating
and never accusatory. “My music tends
from her teenage brother’s room,
to be about the hope and confidence
while being raised on her father’s
that things change; that things grow
folk LPs and her mother’s original
and can get better; that things are not
Broadway cast recordings. She
static.” That hope and confidence is
later discovered Joni Mitchell on
infectious and listening to her perform
her own. These diverse influ-
is a genuine and uplifting experience.
ences are all evident at different
Claudia’s live performances, especially,
times as Claudia moves freely
are a very intimate experience. “[Right
among styles and genres. Her
now] we really like playing in venues
vocal quality is often described
where people really listen. We’re all in
as soulful and bluesy, though I
the second part of our lives and we’re
think that’s a limiting classifica-
kind of treating ourselves.” She has an
tion. Claudia’s scratchy, taught
upcoming performance scheduled on
alto languidly parades through
April 18th at the Congregational Church
each of her songs. Her vocal
of Huntington in Centerport. It’s part of
quality malleable, Claudia flirts
the Folk Music Society of Huntington’s
with folk, rock, blues, funk, and
“Hard Luck Café”. More concert info
country. Her musical identity un-
can be found at her website www.clau-
dergoes countless mutations. Like
diajacobs.com as well as information
a child’s blanket that becomes a
about ordering her CDs. The Claudia
tent, a pillow, a curtained stage,
Jacobs Band is also currently working
so Claudia reinvents herself with
on their next CD, as well as a track for
changing instrumentations and
an upcoming tribute CD to The Kinks.
styles. There’s an intuition which
It is to be distributed by Paradiddle
guides her musical choices. This
Records in late spring of 2009.
is perhaps best illustrated by her
decision to include the tuba on the
track “Come on Sunshine” from
30
Improper Northshoerian April 20028 28 4/2/2009 10:25:46 AM
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