Saturday, September 7, 2013

Zuzu’s Petals & Clover Lane Coffee House

Last night it was my pleasure and privilege to get to see Cary Cooper, Brad Yoder and Jason Rafalak perform again at Clover Lane Coffee House.  I’ve been looking forward to this ever since Bart Carpenter who books the Coffee House gigs for my church told me they were coming back again this year.  After seeing them last year, I signed up for the Kickstarter campaign to support Cary’s new album, Zuzu’s Petals, which I got my copy of straight from the lady herself last night.  And she remembered that I wrote about her performance last year

I had some driving around to do this morning, so I popped my new CD into my car.  Cary played about half the songs from the album last night, and I was really impressed by how professional and polished they sound on the CD.  I also enjoyed the rest of the songs that I was hearing for the first time, especially Jump, If I Could Fall Asleep and Gandhi Drove a Cab.  Cary is a brilliant and talented songwriter.   Her songs always move me to sing along or cry, and they do it every time I listen, not just the first time.  She’s not afraid to share personal things in her music and because she’s not afraid to be that open, it opens my heart in return to let the songs inside.  Her music has become part of my personal history, especially now that I’m living in my Wildest Dreams and I have All I’ve Ever Wanted.  Her songs have the power to bring pieces of the past to the surface to be re-examined, learned from and let go.   The songs on Zuzu’s Petals that do this the most for me are the title track, Zuzu’s Petals, and Little Things.   

Zuzu’s Petals isn't your standard tune with verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus.  It plays like a stream of consciousness of every thought, feeling and justification you make for yourself as you go through the different phases of a relationship.  While I was listening to it in the car this morning, I started crying, really crying, not just tearing up.  "Just like Georgie Bailey Christmas Eve/When Clarence showed him reasons not to leave/I put Zuzu's Petals on my car/So I remember not to go too far" - Yeah, that was the line that did it.  I thought, 'This is what good music does, it opens up a dam in our souls'

I remember Cary playing Little Things last year, and I am so glad to have it on the new CD.  The song talks about the moments that pass as we grow up and grow older that may not seem like a big deal at the time but as you look back you realize made a huge impact.  I cry every time I hear the third verse about her second husband proposing not only to her but to her daughters. “You got down on one knee again/And promised that you’d be their friend/Because you know it’s all the little things”  

Also now I really want to learn the ukulele – because I have tiny hands.  Thank you for coming back to Harrisburg, Cary!

We also really enjoyed seeing Brad and Jason play again.  Brad Yoder has a wonderful tenor voice and is also a brilliant song writer.   He is a gifted musician, and played guitar, xylophone and soprano sax through the course of the evening, which is three more instruments than I can play.  Everyone at Clover Lane Coffee House really enjoyed hearing his song “She Loves Jesus More Than Me” – which goes along nicely with Cary Cooper’s song “I Left You For Jesus”.  Another song of Brad’s, “Immortal” struck a chord with me as it reminded me of when you watch friends do things that you know aren’t going to turn out well but you can’t do anything about it.  I picked up two more of Brad’s CDs as well as an Excellent Trouble t-shirt and I will review them fully once I’ve listened to them a few times. 

I also wanted to mention how awesome it was that they had a friend from my church, JD Stillwater, back them up on the drums.  Having live percussion added something cool and new to the performances and made it different from last year.  I thought it was great that they included our local UCH talent.  

You can find their music on ITunes and  Please check them both out!