Jake Clemons - 12/17/19Tuesday, December 17 2019 6:00 PM Doors / 8:00 PM Start
- Front Premier
Jake Clemons - 12/17/19
at City Winery Chicago
- 6:00 PM
- 8:00 PM
Gifted singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jake Clemons is a magnet for positive energy and emotion, consistently sharing stories and thoughts about life, his beliefs and experiences through music. Now, with the release of his sophomore album, Eyes On The Horizon, Clemons has once again created a new chapter, this time taking it a step further by adding his voice to those seeking to find clarity in a complicated world and expanding both his musical vision and philosophical perspective.
The first single from the album is Jake’s interpretation of the Leonard Cohen classic song “Democracy” that finds Clemons reaffirming a family tradition. His father was a Marine Corps band director whose dedication to serving the nation was instilled in Clemons at a very early age.
“I think about what it was like for my dad being an African American and the disparity that he had to grow up with,’ Clemons reflects. “Growing up with Jim Crow, he made a decision to rise above that malaise and follow in the footsteps of his father, who was a successful entrepreneur. Then seeing my dad serving in Viet Nam and spending 20 years in the Marines and serving his country with his belief that he could help it live up to its promise was something that I think about all the time. Those were the core beliefs instilled in me early on.”
Democracy follows that thread through songs that speak to the very essence of what those principles are all about. The album was co-produced by Clemons and Jake Hull and mixed by legendary Grammy winning producer and engineer Eddie Kramer (Jimi Hendrix, the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton, the Rolling Stones, David Bowie, etc.). Clemons composed and played a majority of the instruments on Eyes On The Horizon, including guitar and keyboards. The ? song album is the follow up to his 2013 EP Embracing Light and 2017 album Fear & Love.
In describing the album, Clemons explains that there are several tracks on Eyes On The Horizon that hold special significance for him. “The song ‘Democracy’ has a special meaning to me,” Clemons insists. “It speaks to how I was raised and the things I was taught. Are these principles an illusion or something that we really have to continue working towards? I relate to that song because it has to do with me finding my own independence and establishing my own voice. “
The song “Consumption Town” is also meant as a wake-up call. “It’s about how we seem to be distracted by desire and greed, and how big corporations are creating these distractions and causing us to lose sight of our needs. It’s also a change in direction for me musically. I was really delighted to have Tom Morello playing guitar.”
Clemons also singles out “Sailing” as a statement about where the country is now and the need to reach towards something better. “We always have to carry that hope with us,” he says. “We have to use it to look towards the horizon.”
While Jake’s array of activities over the past decade have made him a familiar figure around the world, his love and appreciation for music was instilled early on. Raised in a family of strict Southern Baptists, Jake was immersed in gospel music and began his musical journey by learning piano and eventually picking up other instruments along the way. He then studied jazz performance at the Virginia Governor’s School for the Arts and eventually formed The Jake Clemons Band in 2010. Dividing his time between touring the world, performing his own music and spending the last seven years as the tenor and baritone saxophonist with Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band (stepping in for his Uncle, the late Clarence Clemons),
“I’d like to think that Democracy is a continuation of what my father instilled in me early on,” Clemons reflects. You think about the conflict that we see in our country today as opposed to what was inscribed in the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence and you realize that this country we’ve become is not who we really are. It’s scary to think that we’ve really lost our way.”
Ultimately, Clemons has chosen to carry on his career without taking anything for granted. The video was created by the artist Billie De Buitlear and the music for “Democracy” was co-produced by Jake Clemons and Jake Hull and mixed by legendary Grammy winning engineer and producer Eddie Kramer. “Democracy” was released through Sea Lemons Music & BFE (Bob Frank Entertainment) and distributed by The Orchard/Sony Music.
“I process my life through my music and I hope that there’s always growth in whatever I do,” Clemons suggests. “I definitely feel that with this new album. I took some chances on this record that I didn’t dare do before. The approach is certainly a little more aggressive than what people might not have heard or expected from me before.”
“This album is a lot different from anything I’ve done before, “Clemons insists. “My earlier efforts reflected a very personal point of view. This one does so as well, but with a more worldly view. It was my first time honing into a voice that speaks to the troubles and travails we find in the world today. It’s a philosophy that I’ve always respected but never connected with my own output until now. Over the course of the past year and a half it’s really come to the surface in the music I’ve been making. I’ve come to realize that grasping these issues really begins here at home.”