Todd Clouser | John Medeski | JT Bates

Todd Clouser does not know where he is going. But he does know one thing clearly: he has a driving need to make music, and has found that music is his primary form of communication with the world. He is able to say things with music that he cannot put into words. He lives his life by instinct, which sets him apart from most. After releasing music – and there is plenty – he learns about himself and then moves on.

Todd travels to places that others do not, and in a way that you and I would not necessarily choose. Many musicians travel the world as ambassadors, but Todd by nature ends up with the people wherever he goes. In this way he finds truth, not just in the places and things, or just the experiences, but in the direct communication that finds the common ground. Todd travels comfortably close to the root of humanity.

Todd’s path begins by refusing the dominant narrative that we all seem to accept. As a contrarian, the guitar is his tool of choice. There is something about a guitar – a nomadic instrument that is at once comfortable and familiar while retaining full individuality with an almost arrogant, castaway feel. The guitar in this way represents truth, born of independence and weathered by endless searching. The guitar can take the story of a Mexican rancher, move to the busy streets of Hong Kong or New York, and still carry the truth of humanity. This is the heart and nature of Todd Clouser’s path.

Born in Minneapolis, Todd struck out in his early twenties to find something new. He met the right people (Hernan Hecht and Aaron Cruz) while visiting Mexico, and off he went. With a personal form of cultural diplomacy, Todd cross-connected the scene in Mexico with friends and peers in the US, and soon the likes of Steven Bernstein, John Medeski, Dred Scott, and more were visiting.

Todd speaks of John Medeski in heroic terms, and over time he had the opportunity to play with John in Mexico City and beyond. Eventually, the musical conversation evolved past Todd geeking out at his fortune and he developed a musical dialogue with John. He credits Medeski’s openness to the process, but we must credit Todd’s persistence and fearlessness as well. John Medeski is a consummate adventurer in his own right, a risk taker that has, without a spotlight, pushed forward great music of many varieties.

Meanwhile, back in Minneapolis, JT Bates was holding down his Monday night series at Ice House – a spot where greats hung out and got their start. Folks like The Bad Plus, the cats in Bon Iver’s band – a real local scene where community and innovation blossom. Soon they did a trio night – Todd, JT, and John - and it was, well, amazing. And so the stage was set – come back and do it with the recorder on. Todd’s tunes are the base, with John and JT exploring the space with their primary form of communication.

And now, it is time to end the words and let the music begin. An honest, sold out gig on a cold Minnesota night. If you were out in the cold that night, trying to get just a glimpse – we present You The Brave.

From "You The Brave: Live at Icehouse" out on Ropeadope Sur records.

Recorded and mixed by Adam Krinsky  | Filmed by Chad Evenson | Video by Matematic - Puebla, Mexico | Icehouse is in Minneapolis, MN.

You The Brave: Live at Icehouse

Release Date: January 26, 2018


Todd Clouser - guitar/voice

John Medeski - Hammond B3 Organ, Fender Rhodes

JT Bates - drums/percussion

Recorded by Adam Krinsky

Live Sound by Jon Davis

Mixed by Adam Krinsky

Mastered by Kb at Testa Estudio in Leon, Mexico

All songs written by Todd Clouser except 3,7,9 by Clouser/Medeski/Bates and 10 by John Medeski