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music

Streetside 22 Music Forecast 24 Concerts 26 Nightlife

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Orange Crush NICOLE SPRINGER STEPS OUT AS THE VOICE OF ACOUSTIC DUO THE CLEMENTINES.

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S A B R I N A S TA I R E S

particular kind of silence is present at a half-empty bar gig. It was lingering like a lazy ghost at Coda the first Thursday of 2012. The occasion was a band competition of sorts. Two acts, each representing a charity of its choosing, were scheduled to perform. Afterward audience members would use their dollars to vote for their favorite. A panel of three moderators sat at BY a rectangular table set up in D AV I D front of the stage, which at Coda is just an area where H U D N A L L tables and chairs have been cleared for amps, mics and space to play. About 20 people had shown up. In between songs, ice could be heard clinking against glass. If somebody coughed into their armpit, heads turned. It is at places like Coda — formerly Jilly’s, currently a modest, affable joint downtown on Broadway — where unknown local acts must cut their teeth. Nobody expects to be bowled over by the music. The best that can realistically be hoped for is seeing some raw talent, a small kernel that might turn into something special. Which is what happened Thursday when Nicole Springer got up from her table, plugged in and started singing. Springer is the driving force behind the Clementines, an acoustic duo that also features guitarist Tim Jenkins. The Clementines have a blues core, but an assortment of The Clementines have been together genres — folk, prog, gospel — seeps into their sound, which smacks a bit of Led Zeppelin III. since last February, when Springer put out Jenkins stays off to the side, playing muted a Craigslist ad seeking a musical collaborabar chords and picking away during solos; tor. She received a number of responses but Springer rattles feverishly at her guitar. The was most impressed by Jenkins. (“I’ve been songs are satisfactory but played mostly in playing for about 12 years but mostly just service of Springer’s voice, which is huge in garage bands that never left the garage,” Jenkins says.) They met and and elastic, a robust force clicked, and in April they impervious to the hushed The Clementines. started gigging regularly at trappings of low turnouts. Friday, January 13, local open-mic nights. Springer has brown, at the Brick. Springer’s vision for wavy hair and the subtle the Clementines was initomboy mannerisms of a tially inspired by the Irish rural girl. “I grew up singing in gospel choirs, in Oak Grove,” she says. folk duo the Swell Season. “I had just seen “And I still love gospel music, though I’m not them in concert before I put up that ad,” religious or anything. I did musicals through- Springer says. “They’re just so passionate, out high school, and I went to school for a and I wanted to do something that had that year at Missouri State for music education. much soul in it. It’s the same reason I like But I’ve never been in a committed band Aretha or the Gossip.” Jenkins, a fan of “geek rock, like ’70s prog before this one.”

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the pitch

JANUARY 12-18, 2012

pitch.com

stuff,” brought a different sensibility to the table. “I usually bring in a song,” Springer says, “and Tim will tweak it and add solos and sometimes a riff — he helps complete it.” “I think we know what our strong suits are,” Jenkins says. “Nicole’s voice is the main draw. And we try to mix that with a bluesfolk sound that has a little pop sensibility.” Springer has a tendency to indulge in dramatic, meandering vocal curlicues, which is forgivable — who could resist the temptation to show off a voice like hers? It also hints at another, less obvious inspiration. “I love musical theater,” Springer says. “I used to have this idea of writing a musical based on my life. Music is a very theatrical thing to me. When I sing one of my sad songs, I become sad with it. It really affects me in that way.” The pair have rough versions of five songs up on a ReverbNation page and are in the process of cutting an EP (to be released digipitch.com

The year could be a swell season for the up-and-coming Clementines.

tally in a few months) and a full-length (coming out later in 2012). “We’ve thickened things up on the recordings,” Springer says. “Tim’s added some electric guitar. There’s some bass and piano. We want it to be pretty strippeddown, though, so we can play with just the two of us onstage and have it still work.” See for yourself whether it’s working when they play at the Brick. “It’s been interesting trying to get gigs,” Springer says. “It started off slow, with us doing all those open mics. But I think we stopped into enough bars and played our songs and kept doing it, and now it’s starting to turn into those bars asking us back to play. Which is nice.” E-mail david.hudnall@pitch.com or call 816-218-6774 M O N T H X X–X X , 2 0 0 X

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