Stephen Clair

If you can call him anything, you can call songwriter and guitarist Stephen Clair the new American songwriter.  With a career spanning 30 years, Clair has written hundreds of songs and released a dozen albums, and today he's more prolific than ever.  Never married to a single style, he's acclaimed because he successfully writes so many kinds of songs in as many styles, all the while tackling any number of subjects.  Performing Songwriter has called him "the kind of citified troubadour that the roots songwriting world needs these days."  Folk, Rock, American Songbook, Jazz, Gypsy-Bop, Blues, all of them are in Clair's wheelhouse, and at his fingertips.  It's impossible to overlook his guitar style. 

When Clair is writing a song, he is interested in the story first. "Only when I know the story," confides Clair, "does the music reveal itself to me.  And I like to keep my options open."  Who's to say two songs written one after the another, might sound like Kurt Weill and The Ramones.          

Stephen Clair has toured as an opener for larger acts and as a headliner; He's showcased at SXSW several times over the years, and was scheduled to showcase at sxsw2020, had it not been shut down by a global pandemic.  

Clair is a prolific songwriter——all the more so during the pandemic.  He and had band performed some outdoor real-life gigs last year, and through the winter Clair was invited to play live-streamed concerts presented by WDST, Rockwood Music Hall, Folk Alliance, and others.  He went ahead and released a full length vinyl LP, The Small Hours, last fall, pandemic be damned, and sold out of albums before the end of the year, all via BandCamp.  A respected songwriter, known for writing well in an range of styles, Stephen Clair's already popular online songwriting classes only grew in popularity during the pandemic.

Clair came up opening shows for Vic Chesnutt AND Alejandro Escovedo; opening shows for Yo La Tengo AND providing tour support for Robert Earl Keen; with support from WFUV AND WNCW.  Since the beginning, Clair's gritty yet story-telling songs were informed by his penchant for the sound of lower east side in the 70s, and central Texas in ...well, ... the 70s... He's always believed Lou Reed and Billy Joe Shaver had more in common than not.   


*New Album News*  There will be another new album later in 2021. This album will be more story-song focused, with Clair's acoustic guitar skills more up front, with the addition of a significantly larger backing band, more like the album Clair made a while back with members of the Robert Earl Keen band.    


Most Recent LP releases:

Oct 11, 2019:  Strange Perfume (Rock City), produced by Malcolm Burn. 

Sept 18, 2020: The Small Hours (Rock City), produced by Stephen Clair

Additional Singles released in 2020/2021:

Welcome To The World Now (2020)

Vote For Love (2020)

When This Is All Over (2021)  

I Could Be Gone By Now, mastered by Greg Calbi (Coming May 2021)

Recent wins: Gorilla River Music Video Film Festival, for the song/video 'What Got In Your Head'


Meanwhile, some of the various accolades from the last couple of years:


"The Small Hours makes me feel the way I used to back in the 80's about new Mellencamp records, where I would listen to them over and over again, absorbing every detail and nuance until I knew them as well as I did my own life.  Yeah, I can see Clair's music inspiring that kind of devotion... " — Gonzookanagan

"Stephen Clair's Strange Perfume is a perfect homage to 1970s garage rock. Think in terms of Jonathan Richman & The Modern Lovers or if David Bowie had gotten a crack at producing The Velvet Underground. The major thing separating Clair from those artists, and artists like them is the joy within his music. While there's emotional complexity and variety across the album, Clair and his band, in general, sound happy and excited to be bringing his ten songs to life and that excitement is transmitted to the listener."

- Steve Ovadia/Glide Magazine

"Some of the best rock 'n' roll music you'll hear this year. Raw and in-your-face, Strange Perfume reminds us all of the visceral power of rock 'n' roll, without pretence or artifice."

— Power of Pop

"Blending the kind of jaggedly cool guitar and piano that put Spoon on the map with a deadpan, almost spoken-word vocal delivery, the song quickly evolves into a righteous bar band anthem that feels as much linked to acts like the Hold Steady as it does to Wilco"

— Glide Magazine

Stephen Clair showcased at Derek Hoke's (AMA Official) Tuesday back in Sept 2019, during Americana.