Clem Snide Shares New Single 'Don't Bring No Ladder'
Today, Clem Snide, the moniker of Eef Barzelay, shares "Don't Bring No Ladder," the new single from his first album in five years, Forever Just Beyond, out on March 27 via Ramseur Records/Thirty Tigers. Barzelay has also added new tour dates where the band will be joined by Forever Just Beyond producer Scott Avett.
"'Don't Bring No Ladder' was the first song I sent Scott in the hopes that it would entice him to make a record with me and with the extra secret hope that he would sing it," says Barzelay. "Both of those hopes were sweetly fulfilled. May we all die without resentment and regret."
as "a pretty, probing ballad that contemplates the mysteries of life...Clem Snide uses Ebert's epiphany to make something that is wildly abstract, both relatable and comforting".
The road to Forever Just Beyond, Barzelay's stunning new album under the Clem Snide moniker, was an unlikely one, to say the least. "About ten years ago, everything just seemed to fall apart," he explains. "The band bottomed out, my marriage was crumbling, I lost my house, and I had to declare bankruptcy. That started this process of ego death for me, where I realized the only way to survive would be to transcend myself and to try to find some kind of deeper, spiritual relationship with life and with being. Once I committed myself to that, miraculous things started to happen."
Some miracles were financial (a superfan in Spain, for instance, sent Barzelay an unsolicited thank-you-for-the-music donation that covered the exact amount he desperately owed his bankruptcy lawyer); other miracles were more intangible. Roughly four or five years ago, as Barzelay struggled with how and if to carry on, a fan sent him a video of Scott Avett singing a Clem Snide song in front of a massive audience. Shortly after that, another fan sent an interview in which Avett raved about Clem Snide's music. It seemed like a sign from the universe.
"I had just hit this low point where I realized I couldn't do it alone anymore," says Barzelay. "I passed along a little message and a new song I wrote to The Avett Brothers' manager, and Scott wrote me right back to say what a fan he was."
"I look up to Eef with total respect and admiration," adds Avett, "and I hope to survive like he survives: with total love for the new and the unknown. Eef's a crooner and an indie darling by sound and a mystic sage by depth. That's not common, but it's beautiful."
The two recorded the album on Avett's farm in North Carolina, converting Scott's painting space into a makeshift recording studio. They sourced a core band that included bassist Bill Reynolds (Band of Horses, Lissie) and drummer Mike Marsh (The Avett Brothers, Dashboard Confessional), and worked raw and loose to cut basic tracks live. Then Barzelay headed to his adopted hometown of Nashville, TN, where he finished vocals and guitars and layered up additional parts from guests like Old Crow Medicine Show fiddler Ketch Secor and Avett Brothers cellist Joe Kwon. In the end, it was four long years between Avett and Barzelay's initial introduction and the completion of the album, but those lean times provided the fodder for some of Barzelay's strongest, most thought provoking writing to date.
Named for a William S. Borroughs character, Clem Snide first emerged from Boston as a three-piece in the early 1990's, and the group would go on to become a cult and critical favorite, picking up high profile fans from Bon Iver to Ben Folds over the course of three decades and more than a dozen studio albums. NPR Music highlighted the Israeli-born Barzelay as "the most underrated songwriter in the business today, with a sneakily firm grasp on poignancy and humor," while Rolling Stone hailed his songwriting as "soulful and incisive," and The New Yorker praised his music's "soothing melodies and candid wit."
Forever Just Beyond tracklist:
1. Roger Ebert
2. Don't Bring No Ladder
3. Forever Just Beyond
4. The Stuff Of Us
5. Sorry Charlie
8. The True Shape Of Your Heart
9. The Ballad of Eef Barzelay
11. Some Ghost
Clem Snide Tour Dates:
Feb 15 - Seattle, WA - Solo house show
Feb 28 - Fairfield, CT - Solo house show
Mar 1 - Elizaville, NY - Solo house show
Mar 26 - Atlanta, GA - Eddie's Attic
Mar 28 - Wake Forest, NC - Wake Forest Listening Room
Apr 1 - New York, NY - City Vineyard
Apr 3 - Northampton, MA - Parlor Room
Apr 4 - Boston, MA - Haymarket Lounge at City Winery
Apr 7 - Pittsburgh, PA - Club Café
Apr 8 - Cleveland, OH - Beachland Tavern
Apr 9 - Columbus, OH - Natalie's Music Hall & Kitchen
Apr 10 - Lake Orion, MI - 20 Front Street
Apr 11 - Berwyn, IL - FitzGerald's
Apr 17 - New York, NY - City Winery (ft. Scott Avett)
Apr 19 - Alexandria, VA - Birchmere (ft. Scott Avett)
Photo Credit: © Crackerfarm