By: Lauren Jonik (email@example.com)
Like a painter draws
an image out of the world of a blank canvas or a sculptor carves
beauty from stone, a musician brings emotion, words, and the totality
of a lifetime to the songs he or she creates. On his fifth album,
Toward The Sun, Jeffrey
Gaines continues to embrace and celebrate what it means to be
authentically human and fully engaged in the journey of living.
With equal parts gentleness and laser-sharp directness--- a combination
only present in those who have done their emotional homework---
Jeffrey Gaines balances lightness with musical texture and depth.
There is the maturity
of a cultivated skill woven together with the purity of being present
in all the emotion and spirit the moment can hold. Each strand in
the tapestry of Toward The Sun leads to a theme so distinctly
universal, it speaks intimately. Toward The Sun is not just
an invitation to feel, but an invocation. In Life of the Living,
Jeffrey sings The moment you can live without the hurt / A gift
to yourself you will be giving / The moment you pull your head out
of the dirt / You can join the life of the living, as if to
remind that every day offers a chance for a new beginning. And,
sometimes, what invokes a new day is not merely the rising of the
sun, but of deciding to rise and go towards our own light and life.
As the themes of reflection, connection and loving oneself run deeply
throughout the album, embracing the freedom to be--- and to love---
who we are figures prominently. To Be Free, Jeffrey explains,
"is about openness. Take the shroud off, put your head back,
smile and open your arms." I must get out of my head / I
must get out of this bed / I want the sun on my skin / I'm tired
of laying around / I'm tired of feeling let down / I want so badly
to win / All I want is to be free. . .
Believing that there
is soul in simplicity, Jeffrey Gaines is moved by the tangible and
intangible wonders in life. "I'm inspired by beauty, whether
it be nature, being outside, my time alone, love. . . I'm inspired
by very simple things, the things I consider to be the essentials
of a life." While his writing happens in phases, Jeffrey explains
that the writing process is one that is on-going. "I'm
collecting things all the time. People are always surprised at how
fast I'll put a record together, but all year long or whatever,
I have been wanting to write that song. I just didn't sit down and
clear off the desk and actually do it, but it's been affecting me
for some time. All you've got to do then is sit down and just write
Working with his producer
Mitchell Froom in Los Angeles had benefits beyond the obvious. "Mitchell
Froom is a great guy. He's a wonderful musician. He's real quiet,
he doesn't brag, he doesn't boast, you hardly know what he's got
up his sleeve, but when he lets it out, he's something else,"
says Jeffrey. Being in California for the duration of the recording
enhanced and facilitated the experience of creating Toward The
Sun. "It was a good idea to get me out of the familiar,
take in different sights--- it really inspired me. There is a weird
sort of optimism and hope in sound of the playing. We were all in
a good mood--- I think we were swept up by the environment where
every day is a sunny, beautiful day."
The act of sharing songs
is as integral to being an artist as is their creation. Describing
his live show as intimate and conversational, Jeffrey muses that
people are often surprised at how much fun and how "rock"
his shows are. Perhaps, that is because he is well-known for dramatic
songs, like the heartfelt cover of In Your Eyes by Peter
Gabriel--- a song that immediately was well-received by audiences.
"As soon as I tried it, it got such a good reaction, it would
have been crazy not to continue with it." But, it is a ballad
from Toward The Sun called Without You that is currently
creating the same smoldering intensity at live shows. "It's
an interesting song to play live. You just really have to throw
yourself into the emotion of it. It just fades at the end and I'm
actually doing the fade on stage and just having it get quieter
and quieter," explains Jeffrey.
Being willing to be vulnerable
on stage brings a level of honesty to the performance that is unparalleled.
"First and foremost, what you're coming off with has got to
be sincere and you have got to be able to stand behind it. . . You
get up in front of a group of strangers and the lights are on you
and your emotions are amplified and the audience can look right
into you. . . They feel what you're feeling and not just what you're
projecting, but they feel it underneath the surface."
With warmth and clarity,
the music of Jeffrey Gaines places the profound into the hands of
the everyday. In the end, it is through what we love that we, like
all artists, create the landscape, the sculpture, the song of our
lives. Live. . . this lifetime / It could be over before you
even know it / In this lifetime. . . if you love something you'd
better show it.
courtesy of Artemis Records