Christopher Jak, |
Applause of the Rain
(440 Records, 2003)
Christopher Jak's first release, Applause of the Rain, is surely one of 2003's best folk/pop-rock CDs. Like a lot of singer-songwriters, Christopher writes tunes from his personal life, yet his audience will relate to the stories. With a voice that was made for this genre of music, this former choirboy should make quite the splash as his musical career progresses.
Christopher Jak's music is often compared to John Mayer. I can see the comparison, but honestly, people, I've listened to Applause of the Rain many more times than Room For Squares even though I've had the latter CD for a longer duration. If I could have a singing voice (instead of the flat monotone I was "blessed" with), I would take Jak's in a heartbeat! This man sings with passion, feeling and soul.
On top of the vocals plus electric and acoustic guitars you would expect on a folk/pop album of this type, you can hear piano, violin, viola and cello. This combination supports a richer ambiance of musical satisfaction than a singer-guitarist on his or her own.
A good example of a song where the strings bring you in but the lyrics hold you captive is "Day Past a Child." This song took CJ three years to write. The lyrics as a whole are quite touching. "She says ... Give me one good reason why I should let you in? ... Then suddenly I'm bathing her in my stream of consciousness. / And instead of drowning she's drinking it in like I am the wine and she is the roses ... And I am no longer a thousand years old. And she's just a day past a child." Breaking the lyrics into snippets does not do this song justice.
"Obsession" almost brings a tear to my eye every time I hear it. Who has not had a crush of some sort on a person who is out of reach? "I cannot explain your power over me. It's understated, understood and indescribably beautiful. But I guess I will never touch you for real. I will never touch you at all." CJ projects the longing in his vocals at an emotional level that a lot of popular singers never seem to reach.
As a folk/pop musician originally from New Jersey, the music on Applause of the Rain is certainly more fitting for CJ's current home in Fort Collins, Colo. Guest musicians include Jeremy Lawton (piano, keyboards, pedal steel, accordion), Jason Hollar (bass), Brian McRae and Mark Raines (drums), Ross Martin (electric guitars), Tracy Laguardia (violin and viola), Frank Lynn (violin) and Jim Todd (cello). Christopher Jak's website -- www.christopherjak.com -- seems to be under a lot of construction, so I would recommend hitting Amazon.com where you can sample some MP3s before you buy Christopher Jak's Applause of the Rain (which I'm sure you will).