Conscious analysis and loving transparency illuminate tender, gutsy, bluesy folk when Claire Bates plays and sings. In Claire’s music, Ani DiFranco’s determination, Pete Seeger’s harmonious hope, and Joni Mitchell’s shapeshifting exploration dance like fireflies lighting a summer evening’s path. The scrape against darkness found in the work of Gillian Welch and Townes Van Zandt grounds Claire’s efforts, and a bold and sweet Eva Cassidy effect communicates her invitation to make each moment one’s home. Spiritual searching and international political ethical grappling ripple outward through Claire’s writing.
Claire’s music builds on experience as a social worker, activist, and relationally entwined human being. Geographically complex, she’s called Michigan, Indiana, Northern and Southern California, England, and North Carolina home. Claire’s songs bloom from exploring nature, working with preschoolers, analyzing social factors impacting refugee clients, protesting, and reflecting on partnerships’ beginnings, middles, and ends. The result: a mix of colloquialism and unexpected thoughts. Claire trails Woody Guthrie’s traveling study of inequality and dogged playfulness in communicating needs for change; Nina Simone’s singing of truth that hits hard; and vocal purity, simplicity, and sweetness like Lucy Wainwright Roche. Obsessively questioning, spiritually processing, organizing, and listening, Claire also longs to lay back on your porch on a summer day with a guitar on her lap and her feet up and sing to you and the vines.
Rugged, calm, and soulful, with slight twang, Claire musically explodes out the structural analysis process she savored while a graduate social work student. She invites you to brainy, playful, and crisp lyrical adventures to clarify your intentions. Claire’s juice cleanse for the soul is soft and sweet. “Mama Hen” (as a past boyfriend called her), she wants everyone to experience peace and dignity. She’s spent six years assisting others in clarifying conflicts, and she plans to treat you as lovingly as the preschool students she tucks in for naptime during the day, the animals she refuses to eat (vegetables for her!), and the dear friends she talks with on the phone at night. Claire adapts willowlike in times of change; she offers you heart songs for hard times.