Clem Snide, musical ‘mystic sage,’ set for basement livestream

Clem Snide, a musician with an effortless charm and a knack for storytelling, who counts Scott Avett as a very big fan, will deliver a webcast performance Thursday night.

The guitarist is set to play live from his basement at 8 p.m. eastern standard time Thursday, 5 p.m. pacific standard time. He will also conduct a question-and-answer session. Admission is $10. Click here to purchase tickets and learn more.

“He’ll be singing songs, taking your questions and announcing a few things as well,” reads a message on clemsni.de.

I’ve only seen Clem Snide perform once and I must say it was riveting. He sang, played guitar and told stories. And he left each one of us in attendance, probably about 25-30 people at an incredibly intimate, invitation-only gig, feeling like we were the only person in the room. This guy definitely knows how to connect with a crowd and charm a room.

Clem Snide. Photo by David Barnum

Clem, whose real name is Eef Barzelay, delivered the goods with neither bell nor whistle, grease or gimmick. He just got up on stage and played. I remember driving home from that show thinking, yeah, I really enjoyed that.

And while Eef is surely thrilled to know that I am firmly in his corner, which I am, there is someone else who shares my enthusiasm, but who maintains a much higher profile. His name is Scott Avett of the Avett Brothers and he produced Clem’s album, “Forever Just Beyond.”

Before you proceed any further, ya gotta check out this video from NPR and its “Tiny Desk Home Concerts,” with Clem and Avett performing “The Stuff of Us.”

And click here to check out my favorite song, “Roger Ebert,” of which Avett says on YouTube, “The Roger Ebert song is always one that sticks out…That song is memorable to the people that hear it.”

As for the overall album, Eef maintains these words about the effort with Avett.

‘Forever Just Beyond’ is “a reckoning with faith and reality that rushes headlong into the unknown and the unknowable. The songs here grapple with hope and depression, identity and perception, God and the afterlife, humanizing thorny existential issues and delivering them with the intimate, understated air of a late-night conversation between old friends…”

Clem Snide

On his website, the musician says, “The last 10 years have been a rollercoaster of deep despair and amazing opportunities that somehow present themselves at the last possible second. During that time, the band bottomed out, I lost my house and I had to declare bankruptcy. The only way to survive was to try to transcend myself, to find some kind of deeper, spiritual relationship with life. Once I committed to that all these little miracles started happening.”

These miracles manifested in a super fan in Spain sending Eef an unsolicited “Thank you for the music” donation that covered his debt to a bankruptcy lawyer; a video that a fan sent of Avett singing a Clem Snide song to a very large audience; and an interview that a fan sent Eef of Avett raving about Clem Snide in an interview.

Eef sent a new song and a note to the manager of the Avett Brothers. Scott Avett wrote back to tell Eef he was a major fan.

“Forever Just Beyond” was primarily recorded on Avett’s North Carolina farm, in Scott’s painting studio. Then it was off to Eef’s adopted hometown of Nashville to wrap up the recording.

In press materials for Clem Snide, Scott Avett said, “I look up to Eef with total respect and admiration and I hope to survive like he survives: with total love for the new and the unknown. Eef’s a crooner and an indie darling by sound and a mystic sage by depth. That’s not common, but it’s beautiful.”

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