Occasionally, my obsessive-compulsive behavior pays off, like that random period in 2008 when I had been thinking how there hadn't been any new music from Jules Shear in some time, so I googled his name somewhere in the high 200 times over the course of a few weeks, and much like finally pulling three of a kind on a slot machine, dialed up a listing for "More," Shear's fabulous last record. No fanfare or press releases, just good old-fashioned neurosis on my part.
Well, you can all be grateful that 5 years later, I'm just as loyal to the musicians I respect and still a little bit crazy. This time the spin was huge. As quietly as "More" slipped into our lives in 2008, longtime partners Jules Shear & Pal Shazar have released their very first collaboration, "Shear Shazar."
This record is a beauty. 10 songs about love & life from two very distinct and very brilliant singer-songwriters, "Shear Shazar" is more than just a welcome surprise. It deeply satisfies.
Pal & Jules were kind enough to spare some time for me and my questions.
Take a look.
ME: The first time I heard your voice Pal, was on the track "Here S/He Comes" from 1985's "Eternal Return" LP, and I immediately thought, "These guys are perfect together." Now, almost 30 years later, we get a full album's chance to hear just how wonderfully your voices lock with each other. You & Jules have that Everlys quality, or more recently that Gillian Welch and David Rawlings quality where the voices become one. When did you guys realize this and what made you finally decide to get this joint effort together?
PAL: That's funny you mention them. Just recently, I was listening to Don McLean on the radio playing his fave 45's. I was never into Don's music, but his radio voice is like licking ice cream. I was never into the Everly Brothers either. He played "Cathy's Clown" and I just loved it. He helped break through my aversion to their super clean sound. I have no idea how I sound to others. I am just very happy that my singing on this new record pleases Jules. I credit the timing of writing and recording this record to something other than us. I think maybe the stars were aligned.
ME: Jules, like your covers record "Sayin' Hello To The Folks" and more recently 2008's More," the "Shear-Shazar" record seems to have stealthily slipped out. Is this a personal strategy or just the nature of the beast that the music business has become?
ME: Can we expect any live dates in the NYC area?
PAL: We will be taping a "Live at The Living Room' for the XM series "The Loft' on Saturday, March 16.
ME: Jules, any chance of a "Demo-Itis 2?" Seems like a perfect project in this digital age. I can think of some unreleased gems I've heard over the years--- the Tommy Keene co-write "I'll Wait," "Within Myself," and that Marshall Crenshaw co-write the two of you performed at the Bottom Line for the "In Their Own Words" series that I still think about 25 years later and still don't know the name of.