Young Man Blues
Jeffrey Foucault brings roadweary sound to Ocean Thunder.
Thursday, February 21, 2002
Singer/songwriter Jeffrey Foucault''s Monterey debut came as a last-minute booking in the first place. Although there was a coffeehouse location lined up, as of early last week, the promoter still wasn''t sure whether the gig would be on Sunday or Tuesday. By the end of the week, the gig had completely fallen through, and there were plans to have Foucault play a house concert in Santa Cruz instead. But by the beginning of this week, the house gig had fallen through and Foucault is lined up to play Ocean Thunder on Sunday. And that''s a good thing for Monterey County audiences who like their music on the gritty, personal side.
Foucault''s a young guy, only 26 years old, but it''s impossible to know that by listening to his debut album, Miles From Lightning. There''s a smoky melancholy, a bruised weariness, to Foucault''s voice that might be expected from a 40-year-old veteran of the nightclub circuit-but not to someone so young. But it''s not just the fine-toothed rasp to Foucault''s voice that lends his music such a mature edge. The lyrics, too, seem like they come from an older soul. In "Streetlight Halos," Foucault rasps, good bye I''m leaving/this house and this country for home/and a heart full and aching with wonder/to reap every seed I have sown/if the time were not now I think I might stay/right here with both feet on the ground/but the sunset is flown away to the west/and it''s her I must follow on down
Then there''s Foucault''s guitar. If there''s a touch of Greg Brown to Foucault''s voice, there''s more than a trace of Chris Smither''s big, richly toned guitar work. But, where Smither mainly remains in the blues genre, Foucault''s music bridges many genres, including blues, old-style country and alt-folk. It''s contemporary white-boy blues. In all the good connotations of that description.
Last year, Foucault, a Wisconsin native, was brought to the attention of Young/Hunter Management by singer/songwriter Peter Mulvey, a regular visitor to the Monterey Bay Area. Since that time, he''s played a series of East Coast opening gigs for people like Greg Brown, Bill Morrissey, Cheryl Wheeler, and Richard Shindell. This Monterey show marks one of only a handful that Foucault is doing in California.
At first glance, the pairing of Foucault with Ocean Thunder, a nightclub better known for presenting heavy metal and roadhouse blues, is an odd one. But, when the joint is jumping, Ocean Thunder also has a very cool, neighborhood feel. It''ll be interesting to see how this show turns out.
One thing''s for certain: Anyone who stays away from this show because they''re not familiar with Foucault''s name, or because the Harleys out front are a little intimidating, will miss a really good show.
Sunday, 8pm. Ocean Thunder, 214 Lighthouse Ave., Monterey. 643-9169.