Braving the late-afternoon cold, Jeffrey had four instruments going at once.
He had his guitar in hand. He had a harmonica taped to the guitar. He had “jingle bells” (picked up from New Orleans) wrapped around his left ankle. His right foot kept the beat by striking a pedal against an upturned suitcase, which doubled as his performing chair. It brought to mind the “fotdella” invented by 20th century Bay Area bluesman Jesse Fuller.
Jeffrey was playing all four parts at once inside the chilly alcove entrance to shuttered 976 Chapel St. (most recently the temporary home of J. Press) across from the Green the other day. He had his case open for coins. Business was light.
Jeffrey (he didn’t want to give his last name) said he grew up in Virginia, traveled a lot, “met some people in California” who then “came here last summer,” and has been crashing in New Haven ever since. He said he’s 26.
After playing one song (in the above video), he was asked if he wrote it. He hesitated, with a confused look on his face, then said yes, most certainly. Then he launched into another song he most certainly wrote, called “The Painter.” The first song earned him a tip. Click on the video to watch his performance, and feel free to comment below about whether you’d add your own coins to the case.