by Nicole Griet
The Chestnut Hill Community Association’s Pastorius Park concert series returns at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 15, with a performance by singer-songwriter Jeffrey Gaines. The Harrisburg-born Gaines grew up with an eclectic love of music and has released six albums since being signed in 1990 – his most recent being “Jeffrey Gaines Live” in 2004.
Gaines’ sound has been described as heartfelt and unpretentious and fits somewhere within the Alternative Pop/Rock and Folk genre. His music speaks to everyday life, and the emotional and intense sound of Gaines’ music makes the concert-going experience relatable and enjoyable to just about everyone in his audience.
Raised listening to R&B, Gaines found his own inspiration within the electronic New Wave sound. After doing time with local garage bands covering The Who, The Kinks and The Jam, he was ready to break out and pursue a career of his own.
His first album, “Jeffrey Gaines,” was released in 1992 to four-star praises from The Philadelphia Inquirer. Gaines then went on to release 1994’s “Somewhat Slightly Dazed” amidst the 90’s tumultuous period of grunge rock.
His album “Galore” was released in 1998 to rave reviews. Following it was “Always Be” in 2001, which included a chart-topping cover of Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” that quickly picked up popularity and opened up Gaines’ sound to a wider audience.
Gaines released “Toward the Sun” in 2003, produced by Mitchell Froom (Elvis Costello, Bonnie Raitt and Crowded House), further expanding Gaines’ catalogue and gaining him an even bigger following.
Gaines is known for his close bond with his fans, who often help to pick the songs he will perform.
“When it’s just me playing, I only know the first song I’m going to play, but from there the energy and the vibes tell me what the next song is gonna be,” he said. “Someone may yell a song, and I’m like ‘Exactly! Good call.’ That’s so fun to me, keeping it really exciting and spontaneous.”
The 2004 “Jeffrey Gaines Live” album is his first-ever career-spanning live album. Recorded in November 2003 at the Theater of the Living Arts in Philadelphia, the album is truly special to Gaines and a tribute to his fans.
“Some artists record their whole tour, picking the best stuff to release – we didn’t do that here,” Gaines said of the album. “This is one show, one night being captured.”
The Pastorius Park Concert Series is sponsored by the Chestnut Hill Community Association, The Chestnut Hill Community Fund and Chestnut Hill Hospital. The Jeffrey Gaines concert is also sponsored by WXPN.