Almost one month to the day after his debut in the venue, British Columbia native and LA transplant singer-songwriter Clark Graham did the near impossible and filled the house at 7 pm on a Tuesday evening at Hollywood’s Hotel Cafe. Then, for a brief interlude, time stood still and Clark wove his melodic spell over the room. His musical writing is reminiscent of E.E. Cummings; he is prodigious at crafting lyrics that are uncomplicated and profound. Each time I see Clark perform, I feel my soul stirring at its core and my insides turn to mush.
On the stage, alone, the City of Angels modern young musical prophet sings. Clark Graham is delivering unadulterated magic to the crowd held captive in rapt attention. He opens with a new song, the Dylan-esque “Wild Card,” before transitioning into Your Girl In Music’s favorite song from his catalog, “Tough Luck.” The song is anthemic to a degree, less a break up song than it is about assuring oneself one was right to let go, and one specific line from its chorus, “you’re just far too typical / I wish I never met you” gets me every time. Midway through his set he dedicates his ‘perils of nostalgic paralysis’ or ‘carpe diem reminder’ song “The Way Things Were” to the recently departed Davy Jones.
As Clark begins to bring the set to a close, he thanks the crowd for coming out so early on a Tuesday evening. “I know a lot of you have jobs and obligations,” he quipped, “I don’t!” then he launched into what has become something of his signature song in 2012, “Welcome to California.” Next, “More Than I Can Explain,” a song about that all consuming feeling of loss when we miss someone or something with every particle of our being, is a beautiful and bittersweet ending to the night… until Clark gets the rare privilege of an encore at the Hotel and is asked to play one more song. He then closes the set with the reflective and hopeful “Up All Night,” a brand new song that he wrote only a few days prior.
Clark Graham is playing again on April 3rd, 8:00 p.m. at El Cid in Silverlake. If you haven’t gotten my point yet, allow me to spell it out: I’m QUITE high on this kid. LA, you should clear your calendars and come see why.
Bar Room Symphony
The Way Things Were
Memory of You
Welcome To California
More Than I Can Explain
Up All Night –encore