native (and Tallahassee resident) Jay Thomas will be touring the old stomping grounds this month
at several venues across Broward. Though his performing moniker Bluejay refers
specifically to Thomas and the songs he writes, his recordings and
performances often feature a revolving cast of talented friends -- not
unlike the concept behind Conor Oberst's Bright Eyes. This time around, Jay is accompanied by cellist Oscar
Quesada and vocalist (and doppelgänger) Joelle Louise, both of
whom are featured heavily on Bluejay's debut record, Goblins, which you
can download free here.
Thomas' songs are classically influenced Lillith Fair-style folk-pop
but with better singing and the tightest
vocal harmonies you are likely to hear anywhere this year.
Jay Thomas' lyrics are witty, reflexive, and imagery-driven and tell the stories of characters ranging from classical mythology ("Mercury," the messenger god), pop culture (Andy
Warhol and Marilyn Monroe make an appearance in "Bruisey Brookie"), even
from B-list slasher flicks (Freddy Krueger and Michael Myers come to
"get you" in "Boogeyman"). Often, they're also about his friends. On this
subject, Jay says, "I write directly about my friends. The names of the
people in the songs, those are the names of the people I know. I don't
know how other songwriters do this, but I don't think it would really
seem like you were singing about that person if you weren't using their
real name. Maybe they use middle names, but Latin boys don't have middle
names, so I don't get to use those very often."
Bluejay has perhaps cornered a new market with a unique blend of catchy
pop that is highly accessible but alludes to something deeper and
darker: the shadowy demons that lurk in such common settings as a
friend's videogame controller. It's the tales of the absurd within the
domestic. Thomas spends his time making jokes and references that you're
not likely to catch till the second or third time around, spinning
myths, winking at gender roles, and subduing you like a snake charmer
with his syrupy sweet melodies. But even at its most sentimental, it is
never without irony.
Thomas is a true male folk Diva, and yes, that D was capitalized on
purpose. He's a highly theatrical performer whose songs will be stuck in your
head for weeks.
With three performances in South Florida over the next few weeks, there's no excuse to miss this truly dynamic act.
Bluejay. With EOS, Homebody, and OTOO. 9 p.m. Saturday, August 13, at 7 Music and Ale, 3809 Powerline Road, Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $5.
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Bluejay. With Travalonia. 10 p.m. Thursday, August 18, at PRL, 1904 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood. No cover.
Bluejay. With EOS. 9:30 p.m. Saturday, August 20, at Stage 84 Music Café, 9118 W State Road 84, Davie. No cover.