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MP3 Jeff Daschbach - Flick Flack

Drawing from rock, bluegrass, and folk traditions, Jeff Daschbach creates his rich and unique sound by blending slap and tap technique with fingerstyle picking.

10 MP3 Songs
ROCK: Acoustic, FOLK: like Ani

Acoustic guitarist Jeff Daschbach is quickly gaining recognition as one of Chicago''s most promising new talents. A rare combination of technically proficient playing and pop sensibility, his music blurs the lines separating classical, folk, and rock. Guitar afficionados may hear echoes of Michael Hedges and Leo Kottke, but Daschbach''s formidable singing and songwriting talents make him accessible to even the most hardened FM radio junkie.

All about Jeff...

If you hear his music first, you might be surprised when you meet Jeff Daschbach in person. His short, stocky build and ruddy complexion don''t seem to match the gentle finger picking on "Changes" a song he recorded for "Live" at Uncommon Ground in Chicago. At times, his vocals are reminiscent of Robert Plant and Sting, but the bridge section eventually draws into a primal, minor, descending melody that somehow sounds like Jeff looks - troubled, Irish . . . and seriously sunburned.

"The other night I went out drinking in Toledo with the guys from Booze Money, and the next day we spent about five hours at Centennial Quarry. Those dudes can hang in f*@! sun like you would not believe. I could hear myself sizzling, but I was so hung over that applying sunscreen was like trying to solve a Rubik''s Cube. I don''t have any business leaving the house in weather like this, let alone sunbathing with those bronzed bastards."

Jeff''s lobster-red face and neck stand out sharply against his pasty white forearms, which look as though they received an uneven slathering of SPF 30. The guitarist/singer/songwriter''s streaky sunburn is like his latest demo - characterized by contrast - light against shade. His ethereal picking gives way to a hard, manic slap-funk, his voice rising from a whisper to a scream.

Daschbach''s early years were spent as the towheaded lead singer of Antidote. Slugging away at the Columbus, Ohio bar scene just before OSU''s campus became the commercial strip mall it is today, the band played basement dives and charged as little as $1 for admission. "We were just trying to get someone to hear us . . . we had no clue what we were doing, but we always had an amazing time." Line up changes and the resulting tension among members eventually tore Antidote apart shortly after the band recorded its swan song, Applause. "We had a longer run than most college bands, but I''ve always wondered if we could have taken it to the next level."

Antidote''s break-up sent Jeff into a five-year hiatus from live performance. He moved from Columbus to Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he worked at the Herb David Guitar Studio and explored the city''s folk scene. He quietly reinvented himself as a solo acoustic finger stylist, and after relocating to Chicago he returned to the studio alone. "It''s just me and my guitar this time - no effects and no band," Jeff explains. "I am bringing back the blonde hair though," he says, running his fingers through his newly dyed and closely shorn coif. Then, wistfully, "In the old days I used to wear it long, but my wife tells me I can''t quite pull that off anymore."

Daschbach''s music is equal parts funk, rock, classical, and jam. It''s Zeppelin meets the Flecktones, or Michael Hedges meets Jeff Buckley. Songs like ''Lemon Drop'' sound like jumping off the edge of a quarry in the late summer. The fall is inevitable but summer is still hot as hell.

Jeff''s instrumental thump "Flick Flack" recently dominated on National Public Radio''s "All Songs Considered Open Mic." The song was recorded in one take, with one of Booze Money''s Martin D-16''s at Zeta Studios in Toledo Ohio. "Chris (Skull, Engineer) basically stuck a microphone in front of me and I played. I was such a wreck when we did it - I''m lucky that NPR didn''t just throw it out."

Self-deprecatory remarks like these are typical for Daschbach. He tends to downplay his guitar prowess and he often leans on his rock background for street credibility. "It''s weird that I''m suddenly this NPR, coffee-shop guy. I''m not, really. Most of my shows still have me pounding back as many Guinness as the bar will give me. I probably have more in common with Chicago''s derelicts than it''s yuppies. On the other hand, I do enjoy a good latte once in awhile."

Vera Doggherty

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