Hitting the Line

Photograph by Dave Lewinski

Detroit poet and singer/songwriter Blair — known primarily as an urban folk artist — drops his eighth release in April with a CD that defies expectation.

“I usually do a lot of acoustic stuff, urban folk songs,” says Blair, as he calls himself. (He was born David Blair.) “The Line is a bit of a departure from that. This, I guess you could say, is more of a rock album. But we use horns and a clarinet and strings. A lot of stuff going on.”

The Line will be the first release by Repeatable Silence Records, a West Bloomfield Township-based start-up label.

Blair, 38, grew up in New Jersey and settled in Detroit nearly two decades ago. He didn’t arrive here as a professional musician, however. He worked on the Chrysler assembly line and later quit to dedicate himself to music and poetry. “I had to sacrifice health care and insurance,” he says. “But I feel a lot better with myself waking up in the morning.”

Music and poetry are not an either/or pursuit for Blair. The two blend together quite seamlessly, he says. A good example of that harmony is the track “Berlin” on the new album. The lyrics began as a 20-plus-page poem inspired by his experience of sitting on a train to Chicago listening to Beethoven.

Blair’s latest release is anything but a classical musical experience. As he says, its diverse sounds and subject matter mean listeners are bound to find something they like.

Blair online: myspace.com/blairandtheboyfriends.

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