By John Benson
Jann Klose never called Youngstown home, but you wouldn’t know that in talking with the eclectic singer-guitarist. Without prompting, the New York City resident effuses utter excitement about his CD-release show at the Lemon Grove on Sunday.
“What’s special about this current tour is I’m playing three shows in the area, but Youngstown is really the pinnacle,” Klose said. “We’re playing there because that’s a place where I first started. When I was in college in Cleveland 12 years ago, I spent a lot of time there. It was one of my first markets, so for me, it’s like a coming home with the new release because it’s a special place for me.”
That new release is called “Mosaic,” which is an exciting affair for Klose that includes an a cappella cover of Tim Buckley’s “Song to the Siren.”
The performer is no stranger to the Buckley family. Not only did he participate in the Jeff Buckley Tribute shows in Chicago for three years running, but he also is the featured vocalist and guitarist in the recently released feature film “Greetings From Tim Buckley.”
“I have really not touched on Tim’s music, so discovering that was cathartic because his writing is so amazing,” Klose said.
Overall, Klose’s new album takes the veteran artist away from his chamber-pop past and delves more into a diverse collection of musical and lyrical styles ranging from reggae and punk to calypso, classic rock, folk and even Afro-beat.
Klose said that in comparison to his prior releases such as full-length “Reverie” and EP “Sacrifice,” “Mosaic” has more of a rock edge. This is the direct result of producer David Bendeth putting an electric guitar in his hand.
“Really, the rock sound wasn’t on purpose; it was just something that happened in the moment,” Klose said. “It just felt good and made sense for the material more than anything. It was where the writing was, what I was feeling. I was coming out of an end of a relationship; I was angry, and so the electric guitar made sense artistically, I think.”
Highlights of “Mosaic” include the ska-rock crossover piece “Make It Better” and the fun “Four Leaf Clover.” However, its breakup song “Long Goodbye” that only Klose can truly describe.
“It’s kind of like a [expletive] breakup ballad,” Klose said, laughing.
Ah, the anti-ballad. The tender song that sets the record straight and acts as the perfect, well, forget me forever song. Perhaps “Long Goodbye” may find Klose cornering the market with his [expletive] ballad.
Klose said, laughing, “Yeah, sure. We’ll see how it does, but so far it’s getting a good reaction.”
In any event, Klose has high hopes for “Mosaic” and his incessant touring schedule that includes 100-plus dates a year. “It’s an exciting time,” he said.