For his solo shows, Jeff Kloetzel plays covers by The Beatles, James Taylor, Kenny Loggins, Amos Lee and others, along with several of his somewhat melancholy originals. - Photo courtesy of Michelle Lee

Music for wine's sake

Jeff Kloetzel seems to have found a second home at local wineries. And while the guitarist does enjoy a glass of white when he visits, he's there to serenade folks with his acoustic, finger-picking ballads and groovy rhythms.

"I really love playing at the wineries," he says. "It seems to be a good fit. ... I'm there to complement, and I have enough quieter tunes that allow people to experience the wine and allow me to add to their experience without taking over."

Comparing his music to wine, Kloetzel says it has both the sparkle of a viognier and the complexity of a grenache.

"It's nice to have a softer, viognier, white side, so I'm not beating you over the head with a big red all night," he jokes.

This week, Kloetzel will play at 5:30 p.m. Friday, March 23, at Ledger David Cellars, 245 Front. St., Central Point; and at 5 p.m. Wednesday, March 28, at South Stage Cellars, 125 S. Third St., Jacksonville.

These solo shows almost always are acoustic — just Kloetzel and his Taylor or Epiphone guitars. He plays covers by The Beatles, James Taylor, Kenny Loggins, Doobie Brothers, Duncan Sheik, Amos Lee and others, along with his own original repertoire.

Kloetzel says his originals have a singer-songwriter feel and a sound that is very "James Taylor meets someone funkier than James Taylor."

The narrative lyrics are a testament to love and lost love and tend to be on the melancholy side of the spectrum. However, Kloetzel says he doesn't consider himself a melancholy person. He says he resonates with Paul Simon who said: "I used to only write when I was kind of down, or depressed. And I would write as a relief. And everybody would say, 'Why don't you write happy songs?' I just never wrote when I was happy, that's all. I was too happy to write!"

Kloetzel comes from a musically inclined family, grew up in Maryland and moved to Hawaii after college in the hopes of getting a beach-bum job for a couple of years before delving into a serious career.

In Honolulu, he immersed himself in the local music scene, playing sideman to several artists, and his "brief" stay spanned 22 years.

For a while, he teamed up with world-renowned ukulele player Jake Shimabukuro and toured the islands and Japan. He also played as a duo with guitarist John Cruz. One year, the pair performed at the Jack Johnson festival, where they shared the bill with Jackson Brown, G. Love, Ozomatli and Johnson, himself.

Hawaii provides both a big and small market for musicians, Kloetzel says.

"Hawaii has a small feel to it, so you can get in front of people easily, but you also get to play with really great artists as well," he says.

Kloetzel moved to the Rogue Valley two years ago.

In addition to playing solo, he plays with local funk-rock cover band, The Lincoln Project, as well as with guitarist and vocalist Kieran Devine and mandolinist Jef Ramsey.

There is no cover to Kloetzel's winery shows. See www.jeffkloetzel.blogspot.com or call 541-664-2218 or 541-899-9120.

Share This Story