The mostly one-man band that is Clem Snide has a new project that’s so lovely and thoughtful that I can scarcely believe it even exists.
It’s called A Life in Song. From the website:
Each episode features a first-person narrative of a life-changing experience followed by an original song inspired by the story, performed and written by host Clem Snide (moniker of internationally touring singer-songwriter Eef Barzelay).
That’s really about it, but talk about underselling a great idea! Each 15-minute episode begins with a different real-life person telling their story (uninterruptedly, though there is some light editing). Sometimes they’re dark, sometimes not; occasionally funny, usually not—and at the end, you get a song written and performed by Barzelay directly inspired by the preceding story.
Transformation, redemption, grief and happiness—all the big topics get tackled in intimate guy-with-a-guitar style. The miniatureness of it all highlights the larger things in a way that puts them in an almost unbearably beautiful light.
If you’re already a member of the Clem Snide fan club (raises hand, identifies self as president of said club), you already know how this project dovetails perfectly with what Barzelay (Clem Snide, whatever, I never know how to talk about a one-man band where the name of the band is also a different one-man name) is already doing: writing songs about love and loss, kindness and surprise.
I’m a half-dozen episodes in and the tenderness—the empathy!—in each summing-up song is almost heartstoppingly beautiful. Keep the tissues handy.
One of the ways I look at and listen to art is to ask, “What does it mean?” and if there’s no answer, I just keep moving right on. But Clem Snide definitely makes things that mean things, and those things—these songs—will stop you in your tracks.
Tap here for the Life in Song podcast trailer and links to more episodes.