STEPHEN CLAIR AND THE PUSHBACKS

“Stephen Clair and the Pushbacks have literary, story-telling songs like Chuck Prophet, with a range of feeling from Steve Forbert to Alejandro Escovedo.”
Nan Warshaw, Bloodshot Records

“For fans of literate singer-songwriters who balance the weight of the world with a bit of humor ...”—All Music Guide

“An artist with a singular style and the confidence to conceive it.” —Lee Zimmerman, No Depression, Feb 2018

 

With a Ray Davies-like vocal delivery, mountains of songwriting credits, Clair's gritty and provocative tunes are kicked into high gear with the muscular and stirring chops of the mighty Pushbacks.

"It takes balls, literally and figuratively, to sing so knowingly about a vasectomy. But in the swaggering, amped-up title track to Love Makes Us Weird, Stephen Clair does just that, turning a four-syllable word into a tight rhyme with the line 'Who are we?' " –Chronogram Magazine

Long Jump

Children of all ages have been in training for war.  The most effective ruse has turned out to be athletics.  Preparing for competitive sports is a good way to keep young boys and girls interested in fitness.  The long jump.  Because ravines break up most of the landscape in this country, it has only been natural to have children train for the long jump.
 
Olympic participants are avid jumpers.  They jump and jump with precision, achieving new records.  The farther sports heroes can jump, the farther everyone wants to jump.  Young schoolchildren who regularly meet in their gym classes where they learn to make their bodies fit, aspire to be like their Olympic heroes.  Every kid wants to jump, and every kid who is jumping fine is soon jumping better.  Most kids will even practice their jumping outside of school.
 
When parents ask about homework they have to repeat themselves because the children are busy jumping.  The boys and girls are jumping from the hearth to the couch, and from the hallway onto their beds, and they do not hear their parents.  Finally, the parents raise their voices, do you have any homework?  The children explain that, in a way, this is their homework.
 
The parents are glad the children are showing such interest in their assignment.  Jump, then.  The enthusiastic mothers tell their children that they’ll ask the fathers to dig a wide ravine in the backyard across which the children can repeatedly jump.  The fathers, who are competitive themselves, agree to the ravine idea and say so, good thinking honey, followed by a peck on the cheek.
 
The fathers dig the ravines without the assistance of their buddies.  Bob does not tell his bowling friend Dan about the ravine he is putting in for his boy, Little Bob, because Dan has a son, Little Dan, the same age as Little Bob.  Bob is afraid Dan would steal the idea, dig an even wider ravine in his own yard and train Little Dan extra hard, potentially making Little Dan a better jumper than Little Bob.  Not only does Bob dig the ravine and fill it with water, he fences it in so that it cannot be seen from the road.  When the ravine and surrounding fence are complete, Bob stands inside and tells himself, Little Bob will be the best jumper yet.
 
The long jump is a great success, attracting the interest of successive generations.  Jumpers are made to be very good jumpers and are prepared to jump through all sorts of terrain if they are being chased.  Some of the athletes are trained to jump while holding weights, four to eight pounds in each hand, testing their ability to carry a weapon.


- originally appeared in Comet Magazine