For â€œMix Tape Blues,â€ Jeff Stewartâ€™s approach is straight-forward: a man, his guitar, and a wide-eyed look at that crazy thing called love. Over the course of these tightly crafted original songs, Stewart paints the picture of a heart, once broken, suddenly surprised by the good fortune of discovering love anew. Itâ€™s music for anyone that has ever walked into the sunshine of a new future, however uncertain.
The disc opens with the cascading rhythms of â€œHouse of Love.â€ Over a double tracked vocal harmony, Stewart wraps us in the lazy morning haze of â€œSlow Down and Breathe,â€ stating his intention to â€œthink about my girl and dream away the day.â€ An air of resignation hangs over â€œForty Dollar Dress,â€ with the storyteller acknowledging â€œwhat a beautiful mess,â€ yet still thankful that he â€œended up with you and this forty dollar dress.â€
With â€œCanâ€™t Sit Still,â€ Stewart confidently strides into folk-rock territory. With lines like, â€œShe buys a new shirt. Itâ€™s a little bit too tight â€“ right there,â€ he demonstrates a deft talent for giving just enough information, yet allowing the listener a personalized image. In the title track, â€œMix Tape Blues,â€ Stewart summons up the magic of his favorite songs, and their ability to be forever associated with a certain time, place or lover.
In â€œMorning Side,â€ the singer extends an invitation to run away, before closing out with the bouncy â€œSay Goodnite.â€ The glee of lyrics like â€œI searched for grace, but found you firstâ€ not only demonstrate the ironies of modern romance, but sum up the good-time feel of Stewartâ€™s personality and musical vision, as well.
Playing as many as 240 shows a year, Stewart is comfortable sharing his vibratto-tinged voice and aggressive guitar playing with a live audience. His discography includes self-released projects with The Flecks and The Starlings. Together with producer Gregg Leonard, Stewart has placed songs in four different movies.
Stewartâ€™s songwriting is complimented by his second career as a visual artist, which pays the special dividend of being able to supply his own cover art, in this case a self-portrait inspired by the Miles Davis album, â€œSketches of Spain.â€
1. House of Love
2. Slow Down and Breathe
3. Forty Dollar Dress
4. Can't Sit Still
5. Mix Tape Blues
6. Morning Side
7. Say Goodnite