Jeffrey Foucault: Sept. 8 at Redlight

few Saturdays back I was walking past the Redlight on the way home and, noting there was space at the bar, decided to go on in and have a couple of drinks. I vaguely remembered that someone named Foucault was playing there. I amused myself for a moment imagining what a post-structuralist folk singer might sound like. A quick online check revealed that Jeffrey Foucault, no relation to the French philosopher, was performing.

The Redlight is always a good space for intimate shows. Chairs and tables were arranged in a circle around Foucault, who performed without amplification. An appreciative group had gathered around him. Foucault, who grew up in Whitewater, Wisconsin and spent Sundays either going to church or ice fishing (according to his press release), played with a quiet intensity, engaging audience in dialogue and telling amusing anecdotes between songs. In an interview during the Sound Pass Sessions, Foucault spoke of the “magic number for a room” as being the required number of people in the audience to get a feedback look and establish a connection, to have a sense of community. It was clear that the magic number had been reached on this evening. Everyone there felt as if there were witness to a special performance.

Foucault’s voice has a warm lived-in quality that captures your attention. His songwriting skills, as evidenced on songs such as One for Sorrow and Ghost Repeater, are extraordinary, as is his guitar playing. You sense a narrative thread weaving through his music. You listen closer with each new song to try to figure out its traces. His music explores some of the darker aspects of the 21st century American Dream with an honesty and integrity to the Word. Think of Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, Anais Mitchell, Jay Farrar. Here’s hoping that the next time he comes through Bellingham, that magic number of his will be much higher.