MP3 Jefferson Thomas - Come Alive
NYC singer-songwriter Jefferson Thomas offers up 16 tracks of his irreverent and infectious blend of rock, twang, and pop, served up over crunchy guitars and smoky vocals. thomas mixes the swagger and southern boogie of the black crowes and drive-by truck
16 MP3 Songs
ROCK: Classic Rock, ROCK: Roots Rock
There is a chip on Jefferson Thomas'' shoulder. And that chip is "off the old block."
"I got into this business on a vendetta" says the New York singer-songwriter. "My Dad had a great run, but he didn''t get where he wanted to be, and he beat the crap out of himself for it. As a kid I witnessed the fallout from that. I spent my entire adolescent and teenage life beating myself up and busting my ass at music to make the world pay for ''what they did to my old man''. It wasn''t a career choice. It was a declaration of war. It ruined everything else in my life, and it wasn''t until I got tired of being at war with the entire world and getting my ass royally kicked a few times that I realized I wouldn''t be successful - hell, I wouldn''t even survive - unless I wanted to do this for myself, and learned to enjoy it. And if I didn''t want it for myself, maybe that was OK. Wars only destroy. They don''t create anything."
Slowly, he learned how to live life and have the music come to him. "I came across a collection of Zen sayings, statements so concise and simple that they floor you. One of them hit me between the eyes; roughly translated, it said ''There is no particular reason why you lost out on some things''. It was an epiphany. I had spent years trying to get back at the world for what ''they'' supposedly did to my old man. That''s a very romantic notion; stuff they pull off in the movies, the son avenging his father and all that. But sometimes it''s just bullshit. When things don''t work out, the first thing we do is assume it must be somebody''s fault. My romantic notion died pretty hard, but I eventually realized maybe the world didn''t do anything FOR my Dad, but it didn''t necessarily do anything TO him either. Maybe, like all of us, life just happened, and the world was just kind of there at the time. It wasn''t the world''s fault. It wasn''t anybody''s fault."
It wasn''t like Jefferson''s dad didn''t have a career; he toured all over, enjoyed a coast-to-coast weekly NBC radio show, and probably most important of all, has a treasure trove of gig stories and life lessons to impart to his sons. "He''ll tell us those stories again and again", says Jefferson, "and it ain''t like we try to stop him. Keep ''em coming, dad!" And the elder Thomas met Jefferson''s mother, a fine singer herself, on a blind date at a club gig. They were married soon afterward. "Come on, that''s the fairy tale. You can''t write this stuff!" says Jefferson.
What you can write is a song, and Jefferson Thomas does a pretty good job at that. Eschewing the stereotype of the prolific writer, he intentionally limits his output to a trickle. "The most important songwriting tool isn''t the rhyming dictionary, or the guitar. It''s the trash can. Be willing to throw out 95% of whatever you come up with, and if you can''t live without saying it, then people can probably live without hearing it."
The new Jefferson Thomas CD, Come Alive, is a case study in such standards. Slated for a domestic August 30th release (September 13th internationally), it''s a 16-track tour-de-force of Thomas'' irreverent and infectious mix of rock, twang, and pop, served up over crunchy guitars and smoky vocals. For whatever reason, people in Jefferson Thomas'' circle died during the creation of Come Alive, and they die in the songs, too. Yet the songs are surprisingly not downer meditations, but affirmations that kick. "Like I''m the first dude to lose somebody! We all go through that. The last thing I was gonna do was get all weepy and go off on some woe-is-me trip. I got selfish; I wrote songs TO these people, and it turns out that instead of being a self-absorbed thing, the songs turned outward; exploring everybody''s shared experience, and it might be the best job I''ve ever done at relating to people." Curiously, while virtually every track on Come Alive deals directly or indirectly with a casualty of some sort, it is not a record about dying. Rather, it deals with the day after; how we pick ourselves up and get back on the horse; how we learn to pay more attention to the here and now. And it most certainly is not without humor and fun. Even its title is a bit of a paradox; not about how we all lose, but how we all go on.
As far as the vendetta, it''s now a healthy challenge. "Whatever this does or doesn''t bring, I''ve learned to not let the quest ruin the ride. I make music with some fantastic people, I see a lot of places, and I''m challenged every day of my life. But if I do get the trophy, it still goes on the old man''s shelf, not mine. The difference is, now that''ll be a victory instead of a vendetta. Maybe we''ll all enjoy it more that way."
Jefferson begins his summer live season with the first of several shows in New York''s Central Park on Saturday, July 30th. For more information, go to https://www.tradebit.com