"Jeff Stewart's latest release is an unadorned, beautiful collection of songs. He has a great voice, a soulful instrument that oozes personality, and his song writing has a lively quality that's fresh and personal without ever copping out for each cliches. This is the work of an artist who bears a bit of a sonic resemblance to Bruce Springsteen and he deserves a much wider audience." Rod Lockwood, Toledo Blade
For “Mix Tape Blues,” Jeff Stewart’s approach is straight-forward: a man, his guitar, and a wide-eyed look at that crazy thing called love. Over the course of these tightly crafted original songs, Stewart paints the picture of a heart, once broken, suddenly surprised by the good fortune of discovering love anew. It’s music for anyone that has ever walked into the sunshine of a new future, however uncertain.
The disc opens with the cascading rhythms of “House of Love.” Over a double tracked vocal harmony, Stewart wraps us in the lazy morning haze of “Slow Down and Breathe,” stating his intention to “think about my girl and dream away the day.” An air of resignation hangs over “Forty Dollar Dress,” with the storyteller acknowledging “what a beautiful mess,” yet still thankful that he “ended up with you and this forty dollar dress.”
With “Can’t Sit Still,” Stewart confidently strides into folk-rock territory. With lines like, “She buys a new shirt. It’s a little bit too tight – right there,” he demonstrates a deft talent for giving just enough information, yet allowing the listener a personalized image. In the title track, “Mix Tape Blues,” Stewart summons up the magic of his favorite songs, and their ability to be forever associated with a certain time, place or lover.
In “Morning Side,” the singer extends an invitation to run away, before closing out with the bouncy “Say Goodnite.” The glee of lyrics like “I searched for grace, but found you first” not only demonstrate the ironies of modern romance, but sum up the good-time feel of Stewart’s personality and musical vision, as well.
Playing as many as 240 shows a year, Stewart is comfortable sharing his vibratto-tinged voice and aggressive guitar playing with a live audience. His discography includes self-released projects with The Flecks and The Starlings. Together with producer Gregg Leonard, Stewart has placed songs in four different movies.
Stewart’s songwriting is complimented by his second career as a visual artist, which pays the special dividend of being able to supply his own cover art, in this case a self-portrait inspired by the Miles Davis album, “Sketches of Spain.”