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JT Stivers | Chocolate Box

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Jeff Buckley Peter Gabriel The Band

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United States - Maine

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Rock: Folk Rock World: Middle East Contemporary Moods: Mood: Dreamy
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Chocolate Box

by JT Stivers

Folk rock with jazz and middle eastern influences. Poignant, hypnotic, and funny.
Genre: Rock: Folk Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Sojourner Aground
5:40 album only
2. Julia
3:39 album only
3. She Never Backs Away
4:43 album only
4. I'm Whipped
3:35 album only
5. Love Anyway
3:27 album only
6. I Wanna
5:38 album only
7. Pandora's Box
4:30 album only
8. Rain (a Prayer of Jackie)
4:18 album only
9. This Picture of You
5:05 album only
10. Adeline
5:28 album only


Album Notes
BIO for J.T. Stivers...

Started playing the baritone ukulele and piano as a tyke and sang barbershop with his sisters under the tutelage of Clifford Stivers, their grand dad.

Picked up acoustic guitar in middle school, and banjo in high school. Learned bluegrass from southern boys. Learned to finger pick and write folky love songs, and it worked! (got a girl friend). Swore he'd never play electric music. God loves a pure heart.

. . . then discovered old Jimi Hendrix records. . .

Off to college, ostensibly to study English. Duo with Chip Hayden. Did stuff by Dylan, the Band. Summer in Rutland, VT with more bars on any given street than any other town in the US of A. JT's first rock band was "Pearl" in Waterville, Maine. Ever been to "The Chez?" You're lucky. Pearl wasn't. Took "leave of absence" from school. Lasted 15 years.

Off to New York City. Sky scrapers and everything. Studied jazz guitar with Muse recording artist Linc Chamberlain (Coltrane meets guitar). Spent a year as a jazz snob, wore a beanie. I'm not kidding. Hooked up with Queens-based group Genyflyte, featuring Traviso Milner (Roy Ayers, LeVert, Isaac Hayes) and Butch Lee (Isaac Hayes). Learned Da Funk . . . Yeeeaahhh Booooyyyyeeeee. . . Battled for notoriety with band two doors down-- Jack Sass (they did OK--Whitney Houston, The System, the Fabulous Thunderbirds). Played CBGB's, Max's Kansas City, Carnegie Recital Hall, Leviticus. Hung out/jammed with/humbled by Vernon Reid (Living Colour) in Park slope.

With bon ami Geoff Backer (award-winning author of novel Blues Town), started country rock group the Dead River Band specializing in The Dan (huh?) , opened for Jonathon Edwards at the old Lone Star Cafe. Stivers and Becker also toured Europe as "buskers" and collected many francs in hats, played live radio broadcast from "The Face of Folk" in Amsterdam. Learned extensive German "Eine kliene spende, bitte?" and French "Plus de vin, s'il vous plait?"

Studio guitar work in NYC:
"Gold Medal and "Love Vibration" with Rahmlee Davis from Earth, Wind, & Fire's Phoenix Horns (Phil Collins) on Runway Records

"Marshall Jones" on Spring records

"Kingdom Blow" by Kurtis Blow on Mercury Records, featuring George Clinton from P-Funk and Bob Dylan. Ever heard Dylan rap? Oh, yeah, I guess he's always rapped . . .

"Ooh, Child" by Brent Carter (Tower of Power) for Melba Moore's Hush Productions.

Then, it was up to Maine for work in education.. Meanwhile, worked in Maine bands the Funk Junkies, Shelter, and Busted Flat. Completed some unfinished business by producing first solo record "Chocolate Box," featuring JT's unique blend of lyrical style and musical influences... Peter Gabriel, John Lennon, and The Band meet Jeff Buckley on a long flight to Mars... and had a lot of help from the Strangely Supportive (learn about them at www.jtstivers.com).



to write a review

Bob Foster

This is a soulful, eclectic, eminently listenable CD.
This is a soulful, eclectic, eminently listenable CD. It is one which grows on you, until it is a permanent part of your in-car collection, and constantly on or near the home CD player. The musicianship is tasteful, unique, yet obviously firmly based in the artist's musical roots and influences (see J.T.'s website). This album is a real treat especially for "guitarheads" (though J.T. plays numerous instruments on the album); however, the instrumentation always serves the song, rather than being merely a showcase for J.T.'s considerable musicianship. Additionally, J.T. has the rare gift of writing creative songs that you come back to again and again--possessing many layers of things to listen to and discover. The songs are beautiful, personal, yet universal. All of the songs have a deja vu quality --as though you have always known them.Yet each is a unique creation, covering subjects of relevance for all of us living in the ambiguity of 21st Century life. Some personal favorites are:
Sojourner Aground: this is a wonderful introduction to the album. For me, it is like an overture, and a beautiful, seemingly Middle Eastern-influenced spiritual overview of a constant theme in the album: the essential and healing quality of love.
-Julia: A fantastic cover of the (oft-covered) Lennon love song to his mother. This version preserves the feel of the original, while respectfully adding the artist's own internal take. It would seem daunting to attempt to improve on the original song. J.T. comes as close as anyone could to accomplishing this.
-She Never Backs Away: Though written for his wife, this song hits close to home for all of us who know all too well the need to have someone in our life who truly understands and lives by the meaning of the words For Better or Worse. Delivered in a rockin', life affirming (even dance-able!) rhythmic and melodic structure. This song would make and excellent sound track for a hard-edged movie on the precariousness of committed relationships in contemporary society. (Are there any movies out there on this theme???) I love this song!
-Love Anyway: More than a song with a great hook. This one delves further into the theme of the healing and indispensible nature of love.
-Rain: A beautiful, meditative, yet life-giving musical moment. The perfect complement to Julia, in its search to establish contact--through the medium of nature--with one loved and lost too early in life.
-This Picture of You: Another song which seems to be one you've known forever. (Didn't Lowell George, or--fill in the blank--write this?) Who can't identify with this theme? Yet J.T. articulates the emotion of desolation and lost love in a lyrical and musical form that expresses and beautifies it in a way seldom achieved by contemporary writers.
This is only a sampling. Chocolate Box is one of those rare albums of which one can say not only are there no "bad" songs on it--but in fact each is a gem in its own right. The CD speaks powerfully and beautifully to us on many levels and themes. It deserves to have the opportunity to do so for a much wider audience!

Geoff Becker

Soulful, catchy, smart.
An excellent album from a talented musician and writer. There's nothing phony or calculated about these songs -- they are heartfelt, superbly produced and performed, and hummable too.