Posts Tagged ‘Ramseur Records’

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Clem Snide was a character created by William S Burroughs and adopted by Eef Barzelay as the name of the band that he created in 1991. Burroughs’s writing was often informed by personal tragedy. These included a lifelong heroin addiction and a conviction for the manslaughter of his second wife, who died in a gun accident. Like his inspiration, Barzelay has suffered more than his fair share of misfortune. Beginning with the collapse of his band and subsequently his marriage, Barzelay then lost his house and was declared bankrupt. Now, five years on from the last Clem Snide record, Barzelay is back with quite possibly the best album that he’s ever made, and there have been some very good ones along the way.

Whilst at his lowest ebb, a fan sent Barzelay a video of the Avett Brothers peforming one of his songs and an interview with Scott Avett in which he states that he is a big fan of Clem Snide. From this Barzelay contacted Avett, with the result that he agreed to produce the new Clem Snide album. Avett actually ended up co-writing some of the songs and also plays and adds harmony vocals on it. He brought in Avett Brothers drummer Mike Marsh and Band of Horses bassist Bill Reynolds.  This quartet then put down the majority of the album at Avett’s North Carolina farm. The album was then concluded in Nashville with finishing touches from Old Crow Medicine Show fiddler Ketch Secor and Avett Brothers cellist Joe Kwon.

Scott Avett’s simple arrangements and minimal instrumentation allow Barzelay’s songs to live, breathe and flourish as their words are expressed by the compelling idiosyncrasies of his voice. This back-to-basics approach is the perfect platform for Barzelay. Shaped by his difficult experiences, the songs deal with issues of depression, identity, mortality, God and the afterlife. However, this is not an album of hopeless self-pity. The songs also raise the prospect of hope, discovery, reinvention and regeneration. The very personal nature of the songs underline that although it carries the Clem Snide name, to all intents and purposes this is an Eef Bazerlay solo record.

The album’s opening track ‘Roger Ebert’ serves as a prologue to the whole album. Based around the celebrated film critic’s last words “It’s all an elaborate hoax” Barzelay contemplates the nature and meaning of life, spirituality and God. Boy meets girl it isn’t. Subsequent songs investigate, contemplate and reflect upon similarly weighty themes. In ‘Don’t Bring No Ladder’ Barzelay recalls that “I thought to ask the voice inside my head/if it would still be there once I was dead” and in ‘The Stuff of Us’ he notes that “to be blessed is always to be cursed as well” Yet, despite all the darkness, at the end of ‘The Ballad of Eef Barzelay’ he concludes that “ As I kept falling/I came to realise/I finally realised/that there was no ground” thus raising the possibility of a turnaround and new beginnings.

The intensity is punctuated by three co-writes. ‘Sorry Charlie’ is a song about reaching middle age (Barzelay recently turned 50) in which he offers reflections on leaving the wildness of younger days behind “Sorry Charlie/We can’t party anymore” and the acceptance of responsibilities and a steadier existence “I’ve got a good job now”. The album concludes with‘Some Ghost’ another co-write which offers some hope “after we stumble/we’ll find a path”. We can only hope that the path that Eef Barzelay is now on is a straight and steady one. Plans to tour the album have, in the present circumstances, been shelved. For a man who has been in such a perilous financial state, this will come as a major blow. We could all help out by buying this album. I suggest that not as an act of charity, but because you will be getting one of the best albums you’re likely to hear this year.

“I think we always feel like we’re falling through life? Desperately grabbing at whatever little snappy branch we can but if there is no ground then there is no fear and then we’re flying or least floating… And in the end, a leap of faith is inevitable. Like the song says ‘to live is to fly’.

Also, it satisfies the rhyme of job and kebob and advocates for ‘the secret’. I named it after myself to be cheeky but it is an accurate expression of what I believe.” Eef Barzelay

Forever Just Beyond / Ramseur Records marketed and distributed by Thirty Tigers Released on: 2020-03-27


Produced by The Avett Brothers’ Scott Avett (and featuring him throughout), Clem Snide’s recently released album “Forever Just Beyond” follows a tumultuous season of life for singer/songwriter Eef Barzelay. His marriage, money and band all fell apart within a matter of years, and he turned around and channelled his anguish into an album of thoroughly thoughtful, beautiful and imaginative indie-folk songs. On “Roger Ebert,” Barzelay ponders the film critic’s “dying words,” allowing his metaphor to take a much larger shape. “There is a vastness that can’t

“By pure coincidence, “Forever Just Beyond” came out when it could potentially have the strongest impact. Let’s be honest, with the (COVID-19) virus working its way across the globe so many of us are thinking about mortality in clear and present terms. It was always in this album’s DNA that it would address death without dwelling on it and life without pretending it’s perpetual.”

“There have been many iterations of Clem Snide over the years but by now it’s turned into a personal alias for Eef Barzelay. “Forever Just Beyond” shows him and his current ensemble at their most quietly devastating.” “The last ten years have been a rollercoaster of deep despair and amazing opportunities that somehow present themselves at the last possible second,” says Eef Barzelay. “That this record even exists, as far as I’m concerned, is a genuine miracle.”

Indeed, the road to Forever Just Beyond, Barzelay’s stunning new album under the Clem Snide moniker, was an unlikely one, to say the least. Produced by Scott Avett of The Avett Brothers, the record is a work of exquisite beauty and profound questioning, 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, all captured through Barzelay’s uniquely off-kilter lens and rendered with an intimate, understated air that suggests the tender comfort of a late-night conversation between old friends.

Avett’s production is similarly warm and inviting, and the careful, spacious arrangement of gentle guitars and spare percussion carves a wide path for Barzelay’s insightful lyrics and idiosyncratic delivery. Listening to the album now, Avett and Barzelay sound like an obvious pairing, but the truth is that there was nothing obvious about the survival of Clem Snide, and the series of cosmic coincidences that led to Forever Just Beyond remains inexplicable even to Barzelay himself.

There’s levelheaded maturity and even acceptance of our collective fate that songwriter Eef Barzelay, who could be a bit of a goof on earlier albums, seems to have gained over the five years since his last Clem Snide LP. Indeed, these were hard years, defined by crises: Barzelay’s marriage floundered; the songwriter faced bankruptcy, On the Scott Avett-produced Forever Just Beyond, Barzelay is a gentle indie-folk philosopher that will share a couch with us and talk hard existential talks with patience, gravity, humour, and grace

Clem Snide from ‘Forever Just Beyond’ (2020, Ramseur Records) produced by Scott Avett.


Full Time Hobby - Samantha Crain |

Samantha Crain invited a small batch of talented Okie musicians to rehearse at Lunar Manor Recording Studio for an upcoming run of album release shows.

This rendition of “Oh Dear Louie” was captured by audio engineer Brine Webb and videographers Nathan Poppe and Tim Katz. ‘This album is dedicated to and inspired by the independent, strong, focused women who somehow continue to explode through the dark clouds of the weirdly oppressive art/music world. Every woman with a vision who didn’t veer from it amongst dissension. Every woman who was vulgar and loud and smart and ugly, in addition to the other aspects of their person – everything in opposition of what was expected of them.’ – Samantha Crain

Produced by John Vanderslice (Strand of Oaks, Spoon, The Mountain Goats) and exceptionally mastered by the legend Bernie Grundman, it’s a great sounding record, especially on vinyl. Samantha Crain’s fifth album ‘You Had Me At Goodbye’ is out now
Every physical order comes with a free second disc of the entire album recorded with just an acoustic guitar and Samantha’s voice. We’re down to our last few copies of these.

You can also find the song on Samantha Crain’s new album “You Had Me At Goodbye” which lands March 24th via Ramseur Records and Full Time Hobby.

Samantha Crain plays “Oh Dear Louis” (Live Performance Rehearsal)