This is what happens to old folkies......I started out jotting down words and chords on a napkin at the 1963 Newport Folk Festival. Then, a scant forty years or so pass, and I'm jotting down stuff on a website. Like the old saw, the more things change, the more they stay the same. These days I'm back to my roots in the Finger Lakes of New York State, a place as beautiful as anywhere on earth. I've lived in many wonderful places across this spectacular land of ours, from the New England coast to the Florida panhandle, and from south Texas to Hawaii and Colorado, I've enjoyed the unique gifts that each spot offers. For the past several years my home was eastern North Carolina, a beguiling place of sandy beaches and lovely people. I feel very fortunate to have made great friends there and I visit as often as I can.
My work history is about as diverse as the geography of the places I've called home. My first job was helping my Uncle Frank on the family farm in Waterloo, NY where I grew up. During those ivy covered college days at Saint Lawrence University I began learning to play guitar, a process that continues unabated to this day. During college years, I worked at Cayuga Lake State Park, however our folk trio The Voyagers was actually paid to entertain on weekends. Thus my private view of myself as a natural born folk singer was officially validated.
After graduation from college, I thumbed my nose at the "draft" and joined the Navy to become an officer and Naval Aviator. I navigated the arduous flight training pipeline and proudly gained my wings of gold. As a US Naval Aviator, I got to fly the hot jet fighters of the day, and was actually paid to do it! During flight training, I met a couple of other fledgling pilots who were pickers without portfolio, and we played at a beach bar in Pensacola, and later at a beach bar in South Padre Island on the Texas gulf coast. When I finished my navy hitch, I concluded that a career with the airlines would be just the ticket for me. United Air Lines hired me to fly their machines, so I launched off to their headquarters in Denver filled with new found maturity and resolve, to begin ground school. Fate took a hand however, and adios United, I was unavoidably detained in Aspen for the next four years, skiing and making music.
Those were wonderful years. I had the privilege and pleasure to play with some of the best musicians I've ever met. I played apres ski in the base lodge at Aspen Highlands when it was still owned by its maverick founder, Whipple Van Ness, "Whip" Jones. The Highlands folk were the best people you could imagine. They encouraged us to expand our little acoustic group, "The Inside Edge" into a band that could entertain the much larger room which they were building. We opened their big new Christian Endeavor Bar with our big new band "Swamproot", and the room was literally packed every day that we played. With John Sommers on five string Banjo, Geoff Morris and Bobby Mason sharing electric lead guitar, Jim "Oak" O'Connor on drums, and me, Jim Clare on electric Bass, Swamproot at the Highlands was the after ski choice for the always discerning Aspen locals, and vacationing visitors alike. A departure from traditional folk to be sure, but the years with Swamproot at the Highlands produced some of my most cherished musical memories.
Life flowed along as it does, and until the nineties, my involvement in music stuff was pretty minimal. Then at a jam in Wilmington, NC, I met Mark Teachey, an extraordinary musician who was looking for someone with similar musical taste to write songs for a planned CD. This chance meeting begat a business partnership composing and recording personalized children's songs. We did all the work in Mark's Windwood Productions studio for our company, StarCatcher Music, which we eventually sold to KidMusic, a very successful firm who markets our songs about Fun Jobs (Imagine Me) and Birthday parties and the Santa Message. Along the way, Mark and I became best friends as well as co-writers. My passion to write and play music is stronger than ever. My hope in putting this website together is that it will expand my musical horizons and my network of musical friends.
Playing folk music in Canandaigua with friends and indulging my passion for songwriting, I find that life so far provides me with a cornucopia of material to hang a song on.....so when I hit a dry spell, I have no real excuse other than inertia.
Some of my musical friends can be found on the web, though of course many are in the witness protection program. I hope you will go to the Links page for a look and a listen to some of the nicest people and best musicians that I know.