Jules Shear releases new studio album, One More Crooked Dance out today on Funzalo Record.
With just piano, vocals and the occasional harmonica interspersed, the 13 personal songs on One More Crooked Dance are beautifully emotional. The spare instrumentation, the effortless harmonies and Shear’s world-weary vocals give the record a gravitas deserving of his 40-plus years in the music business. In his long and varied career, Shear has never put out an album without guitar, bass and drums, so this is certainly a first, but when he’s asked about his method, he shrugs, “It was something we tried, and it seemed to be working out good,” he said about the stark, minimalist approach.“So, we just kept going.”
The plainspoken approach takes on the challenge of maintaining passion in the songs and it pays off, Shear examines relationships in “Rules of the Game,” hits hard about the things we do to self-medicate ourselves in “Painkiller,” examines the war of the sexes in “The Hunter and the Hunted,” brings a one-two punch of the exquisite harmonies in “When It’s Right” and interweaves harp and piano throughout “Wrong Again,” to name only a few.
Shear started out his career with the Funky Kings, moved on to Jules and the Polar Bears and then an impressive solo career, he’s penned hits like Cyndi Lauper’s “All Through the Night,” The Bangles “If She Knew What She Wants” and his own “Steady,” a co-write with Lauper. Not to mention catalog mainstays such as Tommy Conwell and the Young Rumblers’ “If We Never Meet Again,” Til Tuesday’s “(I Believed You Were] Lucky” and Alison Moyer’s Top 20 U.K. hit, “Whispering Your Name.” He was also the host and co-creator of the influential MTV Unplugged series.
“When people hear these songs, they’re not looking for answers to their problems, but listening to someone else who is dealing with it, too.” Says Shear