Barge Music Series Flirts with Fame

Jaime Coyne

When watching famous singers like Gavin DeGraw and Sheryl Crow perform at the little unknown coffee shop on One Tree Hill, it’s hard not to be jealous and think, that never happens in real life. But when Jared Campbell came to the Barge Canal Coffee Co. for the Saturday Nite Music Series on November 17, that dream came true. Campbell has performed with Jason Mraz, Gavin DeGraw, Journey, and other musicians, and is equally talented. He fit well into the homey atmosphere, walking around the Barge talking individually to audience members before his show started.

He recognized many people who had seen him perform previously, explaining that he remembers faces. It was obvious that he understood the coffeehouse vibe — he said he was doing more “chill” songs to fit the atmosphere, and complimented the desserts displayed in front of him. He was very enthusiastic about the vegan Half Moon cookies.

Campbell was quite personable on all accounts. He was very friendly and talkative, telling many anecdotes behind the lyrics of his songs or just about his life in general. He announced himself by saying, “Jared like the Subway guy, Campbell like the soup.” This playful, charismatic was reminiscent of Matt Nathanson performances. He also interacted with the audience, asking them to snap along to a song or sing the melody.

Campbell has a style similar to Gavin DeGraw, playing acoustic guitar and occasionally beating on his guitar for a rhythm. At one point he even took out a harmonica. His voice was very unique, perhaps a bit like the lead singer of Maroon 5, Adam Levine.

He writes his own songs from his life experience, like “Music Man,” a song about street performers in California. He wrote his song “Drive On the Left Side” when he was twenty-three about wanting to see the world, because he had never left the country before. After getting engaged this past summer, he wrote “Worth the Wait” for his fiancé. “Beyond the Gray” is a song inspired by the metaphor of the white line being the only thing keeping him on the road. His song “Take It In” influenced a fan to stop contemplating suicide.

The cover songs Campbell performed displayed his own emotion and style, as well as adding some amusement. He broke into the theme song from The Prince of Bel Air in the middle of an original song, which was, of course, hilarious. He also sang “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” by U2, “Stand By Me” by Ben E. King into “My Girl” by the Temptations and, later, “Blackbird” by the Beatles.

The audience seemed to thoroughly enjoy Campbell’s performance. He was getting lots of laughs and smiles throughout the night. He is only 25, but he seemed to connect with the audience with the wisdom of someone much older. Undoubtedly he will be asked to return to the Barge. Some day, when Jared Campbell is making guest appearances on hit TV shows and making fans worldwide wish that ever really happened, citizens of Hamilton, New York will know that dreams can indeed come true.