June 20, 2015
Philly-bred singer-songwriter Jesse Ruben's expansive and deeply compassionate point of view has resonated strongly with an ever-growing audience. He often receives emotional messages from fans declaring that his songs have crystallized their feelings, commemorated milestones in their lives and even helped repair broken bonds. "One woman wrote to me and said she and her daughter didn't get along, but when she drives the girl to school every day they listen to my music - and it's the only time they don't fight," he marvels. "The songs I wrote in my basement helped her relationship with her daughter. How could I ask for more than that?"
Ruben's story begins in the heart of a musical family. His father and grandfather were both professional musicians, performing at weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, corporate events and other gatherings in Philadelphia and its environs. Ruben recalls watching in awe as his dad's band rehearsed rock, pop and R&B hits. He began taking piano lessons, but lost interest during his adolescence. "I had told myself I couldn't play guitar because that was my dad's instrument," he notes. "Then I realized how stupid that was." His father bought him a cheap guitar with the promise of a better instrument if he made progress; the guitar felt right in Jesse's hands, and by age 16 he was writing songs.
The artist cites singer-songwriters like Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell and James Taylor as his greatest influences, but also admits a fondness for the standards penned by Cole Porter and the Gershwins. He only applied to one college: Berklee College of Music in Boston. His first year there was a struggle, as he plunked out rudimentary solos in guitar classes filled with fusion-shredding virtuosos. But once he was able to focus on songwriting, Ruben blossomed; regular gigging soon followed. "By the time I graduated," he points out, "I was on the road pretty much every weekend."
The gigs gradually got bigger, and soon Ruben was paying his rent with engagements across the East Coast - becoming adept at getting around by commuter rail, booking cheap flights, promoting his shows and maintaining contact with fans via Facebook, his blog and the comments on his YouTube video posts.
Simply put - it's live acoustic music in a private living room with an audience of friends, both new and old, and great food that everyone brings to share. The music is outstanding - these are very talented musicians. Most tour professionally, usually nationally, some even internationally. More...