words + photos by Harriet Kaplan
Jeffrey Foucault is an American singer/songwriter/guitarist who is a critically-acclaimed artist known for his immaculate and peerless craft. The Whitewater, Wisconsin native’s work is influenced by American country, blues, rock and roll and folk music. He’s been compared to Don Henley, Townes Van Zandt and John Prine. Foucault has a powerful, soaring voice.
Currently on a West Coast tour supporting his 10th album, “Salt As Wolves,” released in 2015, Foucault and his stellar and sparse band with Eric Heywood on pedal steel and guitars and Billy Conway on drums, played their first show at Hotel Cafe. The lively performance was a emotionally-charged and stirring affair. Singer/songwriter Laurie Sargent, who opened Foucault, sang a few duets including “I Love You and You Are a Fool,” with him that were melodic, dynamic, lovely and touching. Sargent also provided additional harmonies throughout his set. Foucault sat on stool and sang on the stage most of the time, however, at one point, he stood up and played acoustically on the stage floor right causing the audience to erupt into applause. Known for being stoic and cool, Foucault, seemed to at least grin, totally engaged his attentive fans, but on his own terms, that could hardly be called cloying or fawning. He said initially to the crowd, and in a facetious, self-deprecating way: “I was thinking I shouldn’t talk too much and waste an opportunity to say anything.” Yet every antidote or little story Foucault told between songs made the capacity crowd laugh. He talked about his young daughter playing DJ at home and putting on a CD by a “lady named Madonna.” Foucault said “it was nice to play in L.A.” again but “he hadn’t been here in years.” Buying a pair of sunglasses and playing at the First Presbyterian Church were his most memorable recollections here.
Right before the show ended, Foucault told the audience he would play one more song but there would be no encore. A collective groan and sigh came from the crowd. Then he said he would play one more encore and teased the audience saying didn’t want people to “stand there looking stupid and waiting.” Foucault is a gem of a frontman and has a unique way with in between song banner that’s unforgettable. Jeffrey Foucault’s songwriting is smart and literate that can’t be overstated. That is what audiences ultimately remember and take away from the exceptional show with great material that makes you think and feel.
Jeffrey Foucault Photo Gallery