Review, Radio Centre-Ville, Montreal
Very touching and spiritually elevating. Contemporary Judaism at its highest level...will certainly be playing the music on Jewish Digest
Leslie Lutsky, program director, Jewish Digest
Finding Entertainment on the Road
That’s how I felt as I left the Helen Stairs Theater fresh from two hours of song and music presented by Beth Schafer and her five piece band of contemporary American artists.
Looking around I knew I wasn’t the only one, as Beth had played to a packed house held spellbound by new cuts taken from her fifth CD, The Quest and the Question, along with fan-favorite standards that many knew by heart.
The Helen Stairs Theater proved to be an excellent house for this Release Concert and DVD recording session, expected to yield Beth’s first live concert video. It was warm and offered an intimate environment for her songs which artistically express her message of universal truth that reaches far beyond the Jewish Arts Week celebration sponsoring the concert.
What you come to realize very quickly is that Beth Schafer and her band offer a new tradition in Jewish American music, rich in the words and tones of her faith, sung in a truly unique contemporary style influenced by both Rock and Folk cultures. I was particularly impressed by the exceptional depth provided by this five piece band as it melded guitars and keyboard in a full-bodied musical program. Lead guitarist, Tommy Calton, exercised skills seldom found in spirit-centered bands as he raised emotions sparked from the edge of his strings. John Marsden, keyboard, and ‘Giff’ Gifford on bass rounded out the sound that provided background to vocals by Beth, who delivers on guitar as well, and Amy Gifford who supports with background vocals and percussion. And not to be denied, drummer Charlie Morgan pulls it all together with his world class talents.
A wonderful thing to take away from this music is that it isn’t just for the Jewish Congregations who filled the Helen Stairs. In fact, as I considered the words that Beth sang I recognized that her themes were universal and that my spirit, with its Protestant roots, was moved just as sweetly...just as faithfully...as any in the audience. Interestingly, and maybe most important, each word rang just as true from a secular point of view as it did from a religious one. Beth Schafer has found her path and I am glad that she has. Her music is sophisticated, and her lyrics are intelligent, passionate and full of emotion. Her newest release, ‘The Quest and the Question’, deserves higher acclaim than it may draw from her community and I hope that you will take the time to listen to her song.
You can find Beth and her band on her web page at www.bethshafer.com where she offers downloadable cuts of her music, interviews discussing her path and goals, and details on the band and where they can be found.
Take a look; you’ll be glad you did.