In the following second part of my Feb. 4 live video interview with Detroit native singer/songwriter Jeff Gutt, he answers more burning questions from his large and loyal JAGarmy fan base and we touch on Valentine’s Day, which is just around the corner.
Yes, ladies who are wondering, Jeff is still single. He and I joked a little about marriage proposals I may have received when putting out a social media request for fan questions for this interview. I advised him I've received offers of phone numbers, declarations of love and many, many requests to pass along a hug.
For those of you who have asked what it’s like to be near him, it’s admittedly hard not to swoon a little when sitting in close proximity to Jeff Gutt. His natural blend of rock star swagger and friendly guy next door is immediately intriguing. His eyes are warm and expressive when he talks, laughs and smiles. He is charming, polite and very articulate.
We didn't linger long on the status of Jeff’s love life. Right now, the talented singer/songwriter is busy sorting out details of the days ahead. He’s writing, laying down tracks, and meeting frequently with his lawyer. In the near future, he’ll be getting together in LA with his newly announced band members Gary Pittel, Brandon Brown, Cyamak Ashtiani and KC Jenkins for rehearsals.
Any other spare time the devoted single dad has right now is spent taking care of his five-year-old son, Talon, who is clearly at the center of his heart.
But, talking about Valentine’s Day with Jeff Gutt wouldn't be complete without talking about love songs. Standouts he mentioned are John Lennon’s “Imagine,” and Bon Jovi’s “I’ll Be There For You.” He played a few bars of Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car” and eloquently described why he thinks it’s one of the best examples of what a love song should be.
As a special Valentine’s Day treat for his fans, Jeff played two of his favorite love songs. The first being a song he wrote as a teenager that holds a lot of special meaning for him, (he admitted stealing some of the lyrics from himself that were later used in a Dry Cell song).
Jeff closed his eyes and started playing the beautifully haunting and sad song. There’s a visible transformation in him when he sings. He feels every note and word and it’s easy to imagine many jam sessions and serenades taking place from that precise spot on the couch throughout the years.
The acoustics in the intimate setting were amazing. This was the second time I've heard Jeff live and the only time I've sat that close to someone singing with such incredible range and strength and such a beautiful tone.
He played the last soft notes and opened his eyes and I was hoping I wouldn't stumble over my words as I returned from the place he’d taken me. I’m not quite sure how I managed a “Thank you. That was just beautiful.”
He smiled, laughed a little and said, “I haven’t played that song in a long time. I may have messed it up in a couple places, but that’s alright. But, there’s better love songs out there.”
At that moment in time, I couldn't think of one.
He shared how he taught himself to sing by listening to Skid Row’s Sebastian Bach. Then he played their hit “I Remember You” which is a favorite cover within Jeff’s passionate JAGarmy ranks.
In one of our prior interviews, Jeff touched on the power of music to reach people. It’s impossible not to feel Jeff’s power resonating as he sings. In the cozy atmosphere of his living room that day, it simultaneously occupied the entirety of the physical space around us and stirred my soul.
I left Jeff having gained a better sense of who he is as an artist and a man. As an arts and entertainment writer who has covered the lives of many people who have been jaded by fame, I came away confident that this grounded and incredibly talented Michigan native musician has his head and his heart in the right place. You don’t have to be Simon Cowell to immediately get that Jeff is the real deal and seems destined for a long and successful music career.
I also thought about how important second chances are in life; and how important reality TV singing competitions are in this country. Thousands of unknown talented singers have a chance to break out of small town obscurity and let their voice be heard. Only a few make it to final rounds and fewer artists yet, catch a direct path straight to a record deal.
It takes grit and guts to get up after you’re kicked down, and even more courage to shut out the negative voices inside and continue to fight for a dream with single-minded focus.
In this regard, I think destiny is destiny, simply because it finds you at precisely the right moment and time, often in the most unexpected way.
Jeff Gutt’s time is now. I look forward to covering the next phase of his journey, as one of Detroit’s own moves on to ink his record deal, sell out stadiums and win his share of prestigious music awards.
I took something Jeff said about music away with me that I’ll remember for a long time:
“Music is something that can bridge gaps when language can’t. Music is universal and is something that no matter what language you’re singing in, no matter what it is, people can feel something from that. It’s one of the most powerful things in the world.”
Click here to read and watch the first part of my interview with Jeff.