IT’S NOT OFTEN you hear a catchy new song — one that puts a little bounce in your step. So much of today’s music is heavy metal din or urban rap — and it seems to feed the anger that some folks are feeling.
Enter a guy named Jeffy pop. No, that’s not his real name, but it seems to fit his light-hearted lyrics and pop music sound. And he’s an Oaklander, too.
Jeff Hanson has played for a bunch of big names. He’s opened for Counting Crows and Third Eye Blind. But to meet him, he’s the boy next door — the guy who helps you bring in your groceries or jump start your car when you need it. His modesty trumps this tremendous talent that allows him to not only write his own lyrics, but play all his own instruments.
In a home studio he built himself, Jeff carefully crafts the kind of pop music that can make artists famous. “My ‘studio’ is just a spare room in my apartment,” he says, “but it’s a comfortable space and I can work there without bothering anyone.”
Jeff’s neighbors don’t even hear the music, because he built a little vocal isolation booth out of a closet.
And where does he get inspiration? Some of it just comes from everyday life. “Stuff happens, some of it makes you think, and some of what you think about gets written down. Then you pick up a guitar and find a way to turn a line or two into a melody, and you’re off.” Jeff likes songs that tell a story, and like many boomers, he grew up listening to the Beatles and top 40 AM radio.
“I’m still, and will probably always be, drawn to the same things I’ve always loved in songs: a memorable melody and a big hook.”
Jeff’s solo CD “Here At Home” is available on his Web site . (http://www.jeffypoprecords.com/) Remember his name. As an old radio deejay, I predict he’ll be coming to a station near you — sometime soon.
CRIME ALERT: If you think your garage is a safe haven, keep reading. A hills neighbor was shocked the other morning to find that his van was gone from his garage. Somehow the door had been left open or opened on its own overnight, and someone took advantage of the situation.
Even worse than the missing car, the man’s wallet and personal information were inside the vehicle, along with some outgoing bills.
Oakland police are warning residents to keep their garage doors closed, their valuables in the house, and the door between the house and garage locked. Sad but true, we need to be on guard — even in the sanctuary of our own home.
E-MAIL BAG: The Town Crier’s column is read far and wide — even in Australia. A couple from Queensland checked in with reaction to last week’s piece on Cold Stone Creamery’s decision not to move to Montclair. The pair weren’t big fans of Cold Stone, but then I wouldn’t expect them to be.
They reportedly operate the No. 1 volume Baskin Robbins in all of Australia.
Speaking of Montclair, reader Michael Levy wants to know what’s happening to the old Paradise Pizza, which is undergoing a metamorphosis of sorts.
While I don’t know too much about it, apparently a Mexican restaurant is opening there. But there must be a flood of memories right now for long time villagers. With the paint being stripped off the signage above, it’s gone back a few decades to read “Montclair Hardware.”
READERS RECOMMEND: If you’re looking for something to do in January besides go to the gym, Dorothy Manly suggests Head Royce School’s upcoming performance of Carmina Burana. About 150 students from the music department will be involved in this major work by Carl Orff, including four of the school’s choirs and its orchestra. The concerts take place tomorrow and Sunday, as well as next Friday, at Regents Theatre at Holy Names University.
HEAVENLY HARMONIES: On the subject of music, have you heard the East Bay Urban Harmony Chorus? It’s one of the neat things about our multi-cultural community. They do everything from ’50s doo-wop to ’60s rock ‘n’ roll — even music from the ’70s and ’80s sneaks in. And it’s always a cappella, in four part harmony. If you want to add your voice to the mix, come to any of their Monday night rehearsals from 7 to 9 p.m. at St. Paul’s Church, 116 Montecito in Oakland.