21 March 2010

“I understand wasn’t part of the plan and I think we can agree that it’s hell when we’re apart…there’s Nobody Better than me….”

I’ll never understand why this song from Ross Clark makes me cry – but it has ever since the first time his friend from High School played it for me. In fact, “Nobody Better” was the first song I ever heard from this very talented singer-songwriter, and gifted musician. From his self-made CD entitled Delayed Dreams, this and so many other songs are from a musical soul that is of a rare breed. Sensitive, yet edgy, uniquely voiced (he’s a tenor – a rarity in Rock/Bluegrass) and for so many reasons you should pay attention to him. If I were a music producer I would have signed him the moment I finished listening to this beautiful, sweet tune of love. Or the first time I heard “Feeding Dreams” – yet another delicate, melodic lilting song of love and tenderness. Oh that I were even remotely well-connected enough to make his dreams come true – Delayed or otherwise.

Last night over 200 people attended Ross’ memorial service in Upstate New York. When I first wrote about him in my last posting right before the Holidays unbeknownst to me he had already passed away (19 Dec 2009). He fought a lifetime of health issues and bravely one day said ‘enough is enough’ – three days later he was gone. He was only 35. But this blog isn’t meant to be about his death – it’s meant to be about his life and the musical legacy he left behind.

I never met Ross, but I’ve been a fan for several years. I had always hoped to play music with him when, or if, our paths crossed. The closest I’ve come is seeing video of him – he had a strong presence and a very sweet touch on the guitar. He could play soft, he could rock out – he seemed to have no boundaries – no fear – zero inhibition. His sweet voice that bordered on the feminine gave no hint as to the pain he felt in his body on a daily basis. Maybe that’s what made him so open? This hopeless, yet realistic romantic gave his every breath to the notes and feelings inside of him. He shared his gift with his family and friends and honestly the real tragedy is not of a life cut far too short – it’s that too many in this world have yet to discover his talents.

Maybe it’s his voice that makes me cry – maybe it’s the undiscovered talent I can relate to – the struggle of being an artist and needing to survive. Crappy jobs just to get by and too many packets of ramen noodles. Maybe it’s that I weep for a kindred spirit. Maybe it’s songs like “Crickets (Ode To Bree)” that reach my softer/melodic side. More than likely it’s because this guy was freaking talented. Oh that I could just let it all hang out like he did….oh that I could play a Blues song and make it sound as real…or give Dan Tyminski from Union Station a run for his money. You name it – he played it. Ross had a gift. A true gift.

“Am I strong enough, to be weak for you? Do I have enough to give all I have to you?....” Weak For You Blues. I was in the car yesterday on my way to go hiking. I have over 2000 songs on my iphone and of all the days – this song came on. I gave a nod upwards – a big smile crossed my face and then a tear came to my eye – not because I lost someone – because the world lost a talented musician. Somehow I felt that at that moment he was reaching out to me and saying ‘Hey – I’m with you…’. As long as people hear his music he will always be around. His family asked not for flowers or donations but asked that we – those who have already had the pleasure of ‘knowing’ Ross – share his music and hopefully learn from his passion. That is what this blog is about. Sharing Ross and all that he left behind. To his family I say – thank you for allowing me to know his music and for allowing me to write about him here in this forum. My condolences are with you all as well as my deep regret that I never met him. Though because of his openness in his writing – I feel as though I know him. I hope you will too! Please visit him on itunes or find him on his blog:

Thank you for tuning in….until next time….CHEERS!! and RIP Ross…you deserve it!