Players and Clinton Avery Tharp: by Bob Moore
Players and Clinton Avery Tharp
By Bob Moore
The players existed. Everywhere music tumbled out of cafes, trickled down from lofts, flowed from the bells of horns, and pounded rhythms of life. No shortage of sounds in this berg.
On any given night someone kicked out the jams. Long crescendos like waterfalls broke the silence of the evening. Arpeggios followed the listener into various environments, supplementing reality with an appropriate sound track. Avid listeners found audio delight in any number of jams, open mike nights, and street ensembles saturated the evening air.
The players excelled. Virtuosos in every realm swinging and singing in every manner known and some only imagined. Music can be universally enjoyed even without understanding. It compliments the pleasure centers of the mind in unique and extraordinary ways, not far from being enlightened.
Clinton Avery Tharp creates hooks. His songs are full of vocal melody lines and guitar licks that mesmerize the listeners and reel them in. Those melodies are still looping in the memory of the audience at lunch the next day.
Clinton Avery Tharp (CAT) is the hook master and the fans are fish.
He has tapped into a well spring of creative energy. It is hard to categorize his work because he draws many influences into a sound that is greater than it’s elements. Now pop is a dirty word and pop music is rarely an expressed goal in the aspiring musician. The Beatles, however always chanted that they wanted to go to “the topper most of the popper most,” so pop can be equated to both commercial and artistic success. Pop is essentially made up of simple lines that have universal appeal, lines that stick with the listener with or without the desire to retain them. Clinton’s music approaches these criteria.
That is not to say this is foo foo music. The music is rich and the lyrics have depth. “If you double cross the devil, does it bring you to his level?" This lyric alone could set off an interesting discussion with the Pope himself. Thought provoking poetry and masterful musical hooks make an excellent formula but there is more.
Clinton Avery Tharp has a dissonant aspect as well. Almost as a rebellion against his sharp melodic hooks, he exhibit’s a yearning to experiment with the weird and unusual. He continuously creates new artistic environments, heavier hip hop laden grooves or trance punk rhythms. He presents these discordant offerings in the same format as the obvious hooks seemingly oblivious to the contrast. This is the mark of a true artist more interested in his personal growth that in feeding the crowd what they long for, even if he created that longing.
Clinton Avery Tharp is not satisfied to be the hook master. He wants to be a leader in the avante guard as well. This is a bold aspiration in the jaded business of music but even those English insects had moments of raw experimentation. Perhaps Clinton is instigating Revolution No. 10.