TweetFishing captain and singer-songwriter Jennifer Clarke has been featured in the book, Boston: Inspirational Women by Bill and Kerry Brett. More information on the book from Boston.com: Longtime Boston Globe photographer Bill Brett and his daughter, Kerry, who also photographs notables and celebrities about [Boston], gave us an early look at portraits that will appear [...]
TweetJennifer Clarke’s latest album, Trinkets in Rubble, is lyrically adept and beautifully arranged. Produced by Steve Catizone, the record features a tight core of musicians: Charles Haynes (Raphael Saadiq, Meshell Ndegeocello, Kanye West) on drums, Baron Browne (Jean Luc-Ponty, Billy Cobham, Andrea Bocelli) on bass, Duke Levine on guitars and Steve and Jennifer on keys. [...]
TweetRescue at Sea, Part IIIContinued from “Lost at Sea” Slowly but surely, a boat emerged, crawling across the grey horizon. It had definitely turned in our direction. We were now sure they had seen the flare and were responding. Buddy and I were cautiously optimistic. We knew it was only the first step, and we immediately [...]
TweetI’ll be performing May 4 at the Serenity East Recording Music Showcase! Come join us! WHEN: May 4WHERE: Club Church, 69 Kilmarnock St., Boston, MA WHO: Jennifer Clarke, Louie Bello, Joy Daniels, Sophia Moon, Bassline, Lucia Marie, Alisa Apreleva, Bear Language, Mike Irving, Noya (DJ set)$10, 21+, 8 PM doors Questions? Hit me up on [...]
I’ve been obsessed with being a singer/songwriter from my youth. I played my first gig at age sixteen at the Sunflower Café in Boston’s Harvard Square. It was an open mic night and my friends made me do it. I sang Bonnie Raitt’s version of “Angel From Montgomery.” I was scared to death, I was shaking and hated every second of it. When I was finished, everyone gave me a standing ovation! I was ecstatic. I ran out of the club so I wouldn’t have to play again. Stage fright would plague me for years.
Although I was obsessed with being a singer-songwriter as far back as I have memories, it took a long time for me to write songs I liked enough to do anything with. I recorded at Synchro Sound in Boston after I attended Oxford University in England via Boston University. I caught the ear of a producer in Boston who suggested I record there, and when I got behind the mic in the main room and sang a song I wrote, I can remember vividly saying to myself, “I finally know what I want to with my life!” I was in heaven. I went home for Christmas and couldn’t wait to tell my mom. When I did, she just scowled at me and said “No you don’t! That would be a horrible life! A singer? You’ve got to be kidding. You’ll be miserable unless you’re using your brain. And that’s hardly using your brain.” The thing is that a big part of me believed her. I pretty much believed her about everything. Synchro has since gone under, but I kept writing songs and playing both guitar and piano.
It wasn’t until I came back from Los Angeles to Martha’s Vineyard that I began writing in earnest. I finished the fishing season and sequestered myself away at a rented shack on the beach to write. The first song I wrote, “Time Flies,” was, as they say, “three chords and the truth.” I just thought of it as simple but good, and good enough to record. So I recorded in a small studio on Martha’s Vineyard. After I sang it a few times, I was back in the heaven I’d felt at Synchro Sound. My friend said, “That’s it! You’re done.” I took that song and played it for all my friends on the island. I’ll never forget their enthusiasm. They were stunned: nobody knew I sang or wrote. Everyone just new me as the crazy fishing Captain.
After I got a few more songs together, I played for my friend Joe McCarthy. He thought I should try writing a record. I’d been waiting my whole life to hear that! Joe is the one that convinced me to record “Time Flies” and took me to the studio, got everything set up, and got it done. He was my truth. If a song was decent, he knew it. He’d been in the business forever working with Ron Delsner and touring with The Grateful Dead and Van Morrison. He had great ears and was brutally honest at all times. He introduced me to bass player Judd Fuller. It turned out he’d just gotten the gig of his dreams supporting Peter Wolf on his latest album and touring locally behind it. He agreed to produce it and the engineer said he could play almost every instrument I couldn’t. It would be easy.
Judd really liked my songs, so much so that he said he should hand the guitar work over to someone much better then him. I was flattered, and Judd, myself and drummer Pete Koeplin holed up in a house with an old tape machine and began basic tracks. I would play acoustic guitar or piano and sing a scratch vocal, Judd played bass and Pete played drums. When we got through all of the songs I had written, I said to give me a couple of days. I would write three or so more and we’d go lay them down until we had 10 or 11 tunes. Then Judd brought down arguably the best two guitarists in Boston to work with us: Duke Levine and Stu Kimball. Both were playing with Judd in Peter Wolf’s band at the time. Judd said they were the best he’d ever played with. Stu has since moved on to play exclusively with Bob Dylan through studio albums like the award winning Modern Times and maintains a constant touring schedule. Duke plays on too many projects to count. I’ve been blessed to have him play on everything I’ve recorded, including my latest record, Trinkets in Rubble. He played every note of every guitar on every song this past winter. He said he absolutely loved the project. There is no greater compliment!
So, we’d finished the demo titled Time Flies. I still love the album, even though the vocals are a bit rough sounding. I took a few copies out to Colorado the next spring for an annual event we participate in called Celebrity Ski. It’s the largest fundraiser for Cystic Fibrosis created by American Airlines. I’ve been going to Celebrity Ski with my husband Lenny Clarke for over ten years. It’s an amazing event and we love being a part of fundraising for such a good cause. We often raise huge amounts of money!
This particular year, there were two legendary Nashville songwriters performing nightly in the Celebrity Ski hospitality suite, Aaron Barker and Dean Dillon. Aaron had written most of the chart topping singles for George Strait. At my husband’s urging, I dropped a copy of Time Flies off at Aaron Barker’s hotel room.
A month or more went by before I got an email from Aaron. He said he thought there were some things about my songwriting on Time Flies that were really interesting to him. He thought I had a unique perspective and said he thought, “Damn, this girl’s been writing some songs!” I was extremely flattered. He then topped it all off by suggesting that I come down to Nashville and do some co-writing.
That was my introduction to Music City. I flew down once a month and wrote for five days at a time. Aaron threw me in with the best writers down there. To say it was intimidating would be an understatement. I wrote a lot of songs with a lot of different people. Buddy Cannon and Kenny Chesney took one song and put it on hold forever but never cut it.
In the meantime, I met up with a producer who we vaguely knew from Martha’s Vineyard, Freddy Mollin. I listened to what he was producing. There was one artist in particular, Gordie Sampson of Cape Bretton, Canada whose album absolutely knocked me out! It was called Sunburn and ended up winning every Juno award that year (Juno is the Canadian Grammy award).
Eventually Freddie said if I didn’t turn him onto my music, he would be incredibly insulted. I gave him a four-song demo I’d been working on when I was home that Judd had again produced. He loved it! The next thing I knew, I was writing country songs on the side and recording my music at one of the most beautiful studios in Nashville, Emerald Sound Studios.
I often find that in giving back, you end up the recipient of something great. As both a singer-songwriter and commercial fisherwoman, I’ve enjoyed working with many organizations to help those in need. Following my last entry about The Wounded Warriors Project as well as Project Healing Waters and The American Saltwater Heroes Challenge, I’d now like to talk about another organization I’ve have the pleasure of working with: Caron Treatment Centers.
Caron Treatment Centers is a nationally recognized non-profit provider of alcohol and drug addiction treatment. Caron has more clinical programs to meet the specific needs of each patient, regardless of their age, gender or severity of their addiction than any other treatment center in the U.S. With experience in treating co-occurring disorders, Caron offers the most comprehensive treatment programs for adolescents, young adult, adults and their families…. For more than 52 years, and in the spirit of the Chit Chat tradition, Caron has stood the test of time as one of the oldest and largest single-site treatment facilities in the U.S. Caron operates a residential treatment center in Wernersville, in southeastern Pennsylvania; regional offices in Philadelphia, New York City, and Bermuda; as well as Caron Renaissance, a primary and extended care treatment center in Boca Raton, Florida; and Caron Texas, a primary adult residential treatment facility just north of Dallas. (From the Caron Website).
As I mentioned, I often find that in giving back, I’m the recipient of beneficence. It was through creating a song for a Caron benefit, “Stay in The Love,” that I met producer Steve Catizone of Sanctum Sound Studios. Steve and I have had dynamic collaborations since, ultimately resulting in my album, Trinkets in Rubble.
About two years ago, I was contacted by Dan Lynch, a healthcare practitioner and founder of Lynch Wellness & Recovery Foundation. Dan wanted to collaborate on a song for a close friend, Velvet Mangan, a reformed alcoholic who founded Safe Harbor Treatment Center for Women. Danny wanted to honor Velvet at the First Annual Boston Fundraiser Gala for Caron with a song written specifically for her. Danny had great ideas for a chorus and song, and I helped fill in melodies. The result was “Stay in the Love” featuring Dan Lynch, myself and the production of Steve Catizone. The song was a success, and we unveiled it at a Caron Fundraiser featuring the artist Livingston Taylor, whom agreed to perform at my request. Livingston is such a great guy, and I was SO thankful for his help in making the event a resounding success—we raised over $100,000 and we’ve got a great song, to boot.
Organizations: Wounded Warriors Project, Project Healing Waters & The American Saltwater Heroes Challenge
As a successful commercial ?sherwoman and singer-songwriter, I’ve had the great fortune of working hard at what I truly love. Each year at the arrival of summer and the annual American Heroes Saltwater Challenge, I count my blessings because nothing has proved more rewarding. The Challenge provides a chance to spend an absolutely action-packed three days fishing on my boat with wounded war veterans! I only wish I could do the Challenge every day. The Wounded Warriors Project as well as Project Healing Waters and The American Saltwater Heroes Challenge are just some of the organizations I’ve been lucky enough to be involved with. I get to share my boat with some of the bravest and most exciting people I’ve ever met—and send them back to their respective “homes” (or hospitals) with my CDs, to boot!
American Heroes Saltwater Challenge
The American Heroes Saltwater Challenge is part of the Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass & Bluefish Derby that takes place on the island each year. According to a Patch.com post, “For the past 65 years, the folks of Martha’s Vineyard have added the Martha’s Vineyard Bass and Bluefish Derby to their list of ways to celebrate the coming of fall. This month-long event that brings out anglers… from all across the Island and the globe [and] is a time for remembering tournaments of the past, seeing old friends, some good old-fashioned competition and, of course, fishing.”
These honored guests come at the invitation of the Derby, as well as the family of Sarah and Bob Nixon, owners of the Beach Plum Inn, Menemsha Inn, and Home Port Restaurants in Chilmark.
The American Heroes Saltwater Challenge is the brainchild of the Nixon’s youngest son, Jack, who came up with the idea when he was just seven years old. The story goes that Jack saw a newspaper photo essay about veterans recently home from Iraq and Afghanistan, and told his father he wished the veterans could fish the Derby. “I think what he was thinking was, ‘There’s nothing like catching a fish, or the feeling you get when everybody says hi to you at Squid Row. I feel so good here, maybe these vets can feel good here too,” explains Jack’s mother, Sarah Nixon. Jack’s parents, recognizing a good idea when they saw one, put plans into action. Three weeks later, some six veterans were fishing in the Derby, according to another Patch.com Link.
As a charter ?shing Captain I jump at the chance to participate in this event every year. We usually catch and release between 20-30 ?sh on each trip—an otherworldly experience that seems to magically bene?t these incredibly brave veterans.
One of my favorite memories of just how healing the trip and the ?shing can be for these men and women involves a veteran nicknamed “Massachusetts Striper” Dave. Dave had horrible Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. He couldn’t sleep following his release from Walter Reed, so just fished all night throughout the entire striped bass season. When he arrived at the Vineyard for the challenge, the Saltwater Challenge host, Bob Nixon, either personally stayed up with him at night or had someone stay up with him. Dave just had to fish, or he’d lose it. On the last day of the Challenge, Dave was on my boat for the first time. Fishing was so fast and furious, and Dave was suddenly nowhere to be found. The fishing scorekeeper looked at me and said, “Where’s Dave?” After a search, we still couldn’t find him and were afraid he went overboard. I was busy reeling in a large fish when Dave was suddenly discovered curled up in a small cooler cushion on deck, finally sound asleep.
Wounded Warrior Project
According to their website, the purpose of Wounded Warrior Project is threefold:
• To raise awareness and enlist the public’s aid for the needs of injured service members.
• To help injured service members aid and assist each other.
• To provide unique, direct programs and services to meet the needs of injured service members.
I first became interested in Wounded Warrior Project back when my husband Lenny did USO stand up shows, in Christmas of 2009. At that time, I wanted to start concentrating on contribution to veterans and armed services and the women and men in the military. We visited wounded veterans at Walter Reed—a life-changing experience.
We arrived at Walter Reed with lots of things to share with the veterans: boxes of CDs, thousands of dollars in Dunkin’ Donuts gift cards and Rescue Me gear like T-shirts, hats and DVDs. Lenny brought his comedic entertainer abilities. It was an incredible experience. When we entered Walter Reed, Lenny walked into the first room and there was a young guy who had just lost both legs and an arm. He was just a kid. Lenny was about to be introduced to him, but turned around and walked out of the room, tears rolling down his face. I told Lenny, “Suck it up, go back in there and pull it together. That kid needs your support.” My command shocked Lenny so much, but it was perfect—he got himself together and spent the whole day at Walter Reed.
We couldn’t believe how young, brave and upbeat the kids were, and how hard they worked through the physical therapy to regain their lives, mobility and strength. We saw the physical therapy room and watched people go through the paces of learning how to walk and talk again and use prosthetics. The entire experience was inspiring and incredible.
Project Healing Waters
Another instrumental organization benefiting veterans is Project Healing Waters. The organization is solely devoted to taking wounded vets and teaching them how to fly fish. According to their website, Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing, Inc. is dedicated to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled active military service personnel and veterans through fly fishing and fly tying education and outings.
I’ve enjoyed being a part of these organizations, as well as helping contribute to the rehabilitation of veterans in all ways. Please do your part to contribute to the heroes who have fought for our country.
Lenny Clarke to Star in Are You There, Chelsea? Premiere on NBC Wednesday, January 11, 2012, 8:30 P.M.
My husband, comedian Lenny Clarke, stars as Melvin on the upcoming premiere of Are You There, Chelsea? on NBC. The premiere will take place on Wednesday, January 11 at 8:30 on NBC.
Lenny is also known for his role as Uncle Teddy on the FX drama Rescue Me, and for his long career as a comedian. He enjoyed shooting the show at Warner Brothers in Los Angeles last year. I was able to join Lenny in Los Angeles to help him with lines for the show after wrapping up production for my record, Trinkets in Rubble. Filming the show was a great experience, and we enjoyed working with Chelsea Handler and Laura Prepon (who plays Chelsea), as well as the other cast members. We look forward to seeing the show air!
Here’s more about the show from Wikipedia.
Are You There, Chelsea? (formerly known as Are You There Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea) is an upcoming American television comedy created by Dottie Zicklin and Julie Ann Larson. It is based on Chelsea Handler’s 2008 best-selling book Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea and is scheduled to begin airing January 11, 2012, according to NBC’s mid-season schedule.
The series follows an outspoken woman, Chelsea Newman (a character based on the real Chelsea Handler and the show’s main protagonist) and her circle of working-class twenty-something friends in New Jersey, through the narration and observations of the fictional Chelsea. Most of the situations were inspirations from Handler’s book, which is based on her early career in her twenties.
The series is based on Chelsea Handler’s 2008 best-selling book, Are You There, Vodka? It’s Me, Chelsea. The pilot first appeared on NBC’s development slate in November 2010. On January 26, 2011, NBC placed a pilot order. Dottie Zicklin and Julie Ann Larson wrote the pilot with Gail Mancuso set to direct. In addition to being executive producer, Handler will also star in the series as Sloane, Chelsea’s pregnant older sister.
Jennifer Clarke: one of Boston’s most inspirational women!
Singer-songwriter and commercial fishing captain Jennifer Clarke was featured in the coffee table book, Boston: Inspirational Women. The book features photography by Bill Brett and Kerry Brett.
If you’re in Boston, please join us on Tuesday, Nov. 15 from 5 to 7 p.m. to celebrate the release of Boston: Inspirational Women at the new Smith & Wollensky on Boston’s waterfront.
Boston: Inspirational Women features more than 120 black-and-white portraits by Bill Brett and Kerry Brett and will be available for purchase. The book will be sold at the party for $34 with a portion of the purchase going to a charity that will be announced at the party.
Buy Boston: Inspirational Women on AMAZON.
Hear Jennifer’s new album, Trinkets in Rubble, on her website.
Buy Trinkets in Rubble ONLINE.
The song “Ghost Heart” from my new album, Trinkets in Rubble, was recently added into rotation on WMVY! Thanks to the Martha’s Vineyard station for their continued support of my music.
Call (508) 693-4994 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org to request “Ghost Heart.”