Local CD Review: Jay Clark, Jammin' at Hippie Jack's

Jay Clark

Jammin' at Hippie Jack's

At the start of his new two-disc set, a live recording from the noted Middle Tennessee concert series of the same name, singer/songwriter Jay Clark warns the crowd, "This is going to be a laid-back event. If you can't be laid-back, we're gonna have some issues." It's an appropriate introduction; the album features Clark on guitar, backed by Cruz Contreras of the Black Lillies on mandolin, performing 19 songs from his three studio albums, liberally interspersed with spoken introductions. (There are actually 38 tracks across the two discs, half of them songs, the other half identified as "rambles.") That's a lot of music to take in one sitting, and the sparse settings don't match the lively folk-rock of Clark's 2008 disc I'm Confused. As a documentary, though, the stories behind "Free Beer Today," "I'm Confused," and other songs are instructive, illuminating, and sometimes nearly as entertaining as the songs themselves. (There's an accompanying DVD available separately.)