Jean Brandt & John McGrail Play Visible Voice Books

A special report by The Tremonster

Jean Brandt, longtime Tremonster, shared many of her own songs during a music-filled evening at Visible Voice Books (2258 Professor Avenue) during the October 12th Walkabout Tremont.  Brandt played a set with John McGrail from 7:30 pm to about 8:00 pm for a large crowd in Visible Voice Books rear event/café area.  She was followed by McGrail and his band members, Jay Bentoff and Carl Holt, for a set of McGrail’s material.

Brandt has known McGrail for many years, first meeting at the Barking Spider in the late 1980s.  “I am thrilled to have this opportunity to work with him,” Brandt wrote in an event invitation.

The Visible Voice Books event listed Brandt as a lifelong Clevelander, a musician, a poet, an experimental music artist, and a dedicated advocate of the arts. Her creations span the gamut from singer-songwriter to experimental composer as a guitarist and poet. According to Brandt’s artistic statement, “The underlying structure both unique and innate to music and language is but part of what excites and drives Jean when she composes as well as performs.”

Brandt also expressed her firm belief that “Art is all around us and each of us in fact engages in creation simply living each day.”

Brandt, beginning in 1990, organized over 200 art showings at her law office, a storefront she rented in Tremont until 2015.  She also provided primary support to the monthly Tremont ArtWalk promotion for the Tremont neighborhood from 1993 through 2015.  Today Brandt is in the studio or playing guitar when not practicing law.

McGrail, categorized as a folk musician, “accepts that [categorization]—and on some level even agrees—but his influences range far beyond that.”  The confluence contributes to the music he creates.  A musician’s musician, McGrail’s music offers odd meters, “Floydian textures,” and masterful, imaginative guitar solos.  According to McGrail’s artistic statement, “There are those who have described him as the Dark Prince of Cleveland Folk.”  When in the studio, he grasps for whatever medium will best bring each song to life—whether loops, programs, virtual sound, or more traditional instruments, McGrail enjoys tying in a wide variety of sound sources to create his own unique form of musical art.  “Boundaries are for breaking,” McGrail’s listing stated.

Brandt and McGrail were glad for the opportunity to share their music at a well-attended event and are thankful to Visible Voice Books for hosting their event.

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