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Jasper Lewis

The cozy fire lit carriage house at LIC Bar got even cozier and warmer when Jasper Lewis opened "A Cricket in Traffic", an early evening performance of singer/song writers and poets hosted by the Hoover Dam Collective on Sunday. Jasper sings just as one would expect an American folk singer to sing, with a sweet voice that is twangy and reedy and plaintive. His first song started his set with the recurrent themes of labor and love, all folksy and humorous but with the implication that loss, pain and suffering have been around, and still may be. Jasper's singing and story telling were accompanied by some mighty fine pickin' and strummin' on an amplified acoustic guitar. It's a way of doing music since the Dust Bowl troubador, Woody Guthrie, defined the quintessential American folk style beginning back in the '30s, and continuing right up to the present moment. Jasper is a New Yorker, so his songs' wry humor come with social commentary about the city and its environs - fans reactions to boxing matches in sports bars, gambling in the casinos at Atlantic City - rather than the broad stretch of rural America between the coasts. But it's a sound, a style and a spirit that's Americana at its best, as familiar and welcoming as home, and just what you would want to keep people settled into their seats for the rest of the show.

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