Harriet Kaplan

Jules Shear @ The Federal Bar – 11/26/2017

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Jules-ShearA 40-plus-year veteran of the music industry, singer/songwriter Jules Shear has had a long varied career. Besides having two bands of his own: the Funky Kings and Jules Shear and The Polar Bears, the talented artist has penned hits that include Cyndi Lauper’s “All Through The Night” and The Bangles’ “If She Knew What She Wants” among others.

Shear has also had great success as a solo performer. Continuing in that prolific vein, he just released a new studio album in November, “One More Crooked Dance.” At the “Mimosa Music Series” on November 26, Jules Shear debuted new material from the LP and songs from his expansive catalog of music. With just an acoustic guitar, Shear plaintively sang in his trademark world weary style and made his emotions and vulnerability laid to bear before the attentive crowd. There was also sparse accompaniment and a backup singer which added richness and texture to the arrangements.

Relationships are examined on the new album. “Rules Of The Game,” “Painkiller,” “Be With You,” and “When It’s Right” ruminated on the tricky and complex interpersonal dynamics between men and women. As understated as the music was played, so was the performance itself, which was very subtle. In fact, when Shear sang “All Through The Night” A Cappella, one had to strain to hear him and the power of the song was somewhat diminished. In general, some of the new material had a similar sounding quality to it. But what really stood out was the duet with the background vocalist on “If You Knew What She Wants” which had a fresh, dynamic and feisty quality to it. Jules Shear is a smart and clever songwriter whose material possesses a stirring emotional core that has touched music listeners for decades and continues to do so based on this show.

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