Addicted To Vinyl Musical thoughts from the open road, with headphones on


5 from Jules Shear + More about “More”

Consider this a followup to my post about the new Jules Shear album More that I posted here yesterday.

But first, I need to tell you how I got into the music of Jules Shear. Some of my best friends are friends that I met who were working at record stores I went to frequently. That's a whole 'nother post for a different day.

My buddy Kevin is one of those friends. Kevin was managing the CD Warehouse location in Parma Hts in the mid-90s when I first started going there. We got to know each other, and I learned that we shared common interests musically - Blue Rodeo, Del Amitri, Jackson Browne, etc. After he got a handle on my musical taste, he started to suggest the occasional disc that I might dig. I can't recall why he suggested Jules Shear to me, but he told me that I needed to pick up The Great Puzzle (1992,) which I did.

At this point, it had been a few years since Shear's last album Healing Bones (1994,) but when Shear got back to making records with Between Us (1998,) I was right there waiting, and I've kept up with his output since.

You can hope to meet one friend like Kevin in this life. Kevin is in the category of friends that no matter how far I go off of the grid, he's always there making the effort to see where I'm at, and what I'm up to. He's known me from the time that I got my first radio job, to when I finally moved out of my parent's house and got my first apartment, to my first really serious longterm relationship, although for some reason, I'm not sure he ever met her? Yeah, that could happen in my world, even with my best friends. He can tell you that she did exist. And indirectly, he's responsible for the relationship happening too. On the night that she and I met, Kevin and I were supposed to hang out.

I was going to see Yes at Music Hall with friends, Kevin was going to see Govt. Mule, and we were going to hang out after the shows were over. Kevin's car broke down, he never made it to the show, and she and I ended up instead at a Lakewood bar playing Galaga into the wee hours of the morning. Life has a plan for us all, doesn't it? As life continued onward, Kevin was there when I bought my first house and moved to the east side, and there when I moved out of that house, back to Lakewood where I bought another house.

Through all of these years, we've gone to a lot of shows together, shared a lot of music and musical discussions, and I'm grateful to have Kevin and so many great friends like him in my world. Cheers to that.

I connect certain groups/albums with people, and Kevin definitely is the person I think of, when I think of Jules Shear. And Georgia Satellites too, but we'll get to that.

Back to Jules:

I finally got my hands on More via the Amazon MP3 download. HOLY CRAP are the words that I would use to describe the new album in a few words, if someone asked me. I don't know what brought this on, but More is straight up the most rockin' record I've heard from Jules in a LONG time. Close your eyes while listening to the title track, and I'll swear that you can imagine that Jules managed to convince Geezer Butler to come around and lay some fat Sabbath-y bass lines down on the track. I learned a long time ago to expect the unexpected from Jules, but More is such a complete about-face in comparison to Dreams Don't Count, that I'm surprised, pleasantly.

I'll share "I'm Coming Back," the opening track on More with you all to give you a little taste. If you haven't heard Jules Shear up to this point, I'd suggest that More would be a good starting point for you, just like The Great Puzzle was for me all of those years ago.

Jules Shear - I'm Coming Back

Purchase More from Amazon

From there, where should you go? Thinking about this, I was reminded of Jackson Browne's comments about Warren Zevon in the liner notes for the recent reissue of Zevon's self-titled album. Browne wrote about Zevon's voice as a "limited instrument" that was "always hard to record." I think that you can say the same about Jules Shear as an artist. Shear has a unique voice, and longtime producer Stewart Lerman has been an invaluable partner through the years helping Shear craft a variety of interesting projects, one often very different compared to the record that came before it. Here's a random sampling of five tracks from Jules Shear that you might enjoy.

And if you do, I'd urge you to dig deeper into the records that they came from.

On a side note, Between Us might just be one of the best "duets" albums you've never heard. You should change that.

Jules Shear - The Trap Door - from The Great Puzzle (1992) (purchase)
Jules Shear - May The Hard Road - from Allow Me (2000) (purchase)
Jules Shear - Guess I'm Dumb (a Brian Wilson Pet Sounds-era track recorded by Glen Campbell) - from Sayin' Hello To The Folks (2004) (purchase)
Jules Shear - Windows and Walls (with Patty Griffin) - from Between Us (1998) (purchase)
Jules Shear - Dreams Don't Count - from Dreams Don't Count (2006) (purchase)

Bonus cut:

Unplug This was a cool promo-only acoustic EP released before The Great Puzzle, with a title inspired by Shear's involvement with MTV's Unplugged.

Here's an acoustic version of "If We Never Meet Again," originally recorded by The Reckless Sleepers, a band project featuring Shear and future Max Weinberg 7 guitarist Jimmy Vivino that released one album in 1988. The track has been covered by Tommy Conwell and The Young Rumblers, and also Roger McGuinn.

Jules Shear - If We Never Meet Again (acoustic)

Now let's have some tour dates somewhere near Ohio....please?

  • CB

    I dig the story about your friend and the Galaga. Classic and relatable.

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  • Bald Eagle

    I love Jules and have as much of his stuff that i can find(“More”. ,the better)!.I love his early stuff with the Polar Bears and Funky Kings-quirky album but one for the collector. I live in the UK and would love to see him live.

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