Article Contributed by Brooklyn Basem… | Published on Monday, April 1, 2024

Brooklyn-based artist and educator J.M. Clifford has announced his forthcoming LP, Trains, Thinkin’ and Drinkin’, with the release of its title track. Trains, Thinkin’ and Drinkin’ is out June 7 via Brooklyn Basement Records. While the title is a tongue-in-cheek reference to old bluegrass tropes, Clifford acknowledges they're recurring themes for a reason.

The album, recorded at Nashville’s Sound Emporium and produced by platinum recording artist Ron Pope, features contributions from some of the best session players in the bluegrass world, including Seth Taylor, Jeff Partin, Jeff Picker, and Bronwyn Keith-Hynes. Steeped in transformation, resilience, and exploration, Clifford's artistic journey resonates not only with his personal experiences. but also with the collective human spirit. By day, he is a dedicated NYC elementary school music teacher, committed to nurturing the next generation's creativity while instilling a deep appreciation for the transformative power of music.

Clifford has released two singles from the album - “Raised In The Ashes” and “Complicated Man.” “One of the joys of writing songs and making records is the fact that, at the end of the process, you’re left with this auditory journal that shows you what was going through your mind when those tunes came along,” Clifford says. “A theme that I address in this collection of songs is my evolving sense of spirituality and the conviction that we have a soul. I wasn’t raised in a particular faith tradition but I’ve spent plenty of time trying to orient myself and develop some understanding of what we’re all doing here and what the point of all of this is,” he adds.

LISTEN // WATCH (performance video): “RAISED IN THE ASHES”

LISTEN // WATCH (performance video): “COMPLICATED MAN”

Infused with influences from musical icons like Norman Blake, Gillian Welch, Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, and Tony Rice, Clifford's music is a testament to his unique ability to distill the complexities of life into timeless melodies.

From the heart of Brooklyn, he has graced stages alongside revered luminaries, engaging in collaborations with talents like Ron Pope and participating in esteemed events such as the Thomas Point Bluegrass Festival featuring The Infamous String Dusters and Dan Tyminski, the Highlands Bluegrass Festival with Cole Quest and the City Pickers, and more. Clifford’s songs have been featured in the 2022 and 2023 IBMA Songwriter Showcases. He was selected as a showcase artist at the 2023 IBMAs and was also a finalist in the Rocky Mountain Songwriter Showcase in 2023.

Trains, Thinkin’ and Drinkin’ is available for pre-save and pre-order HERE.


Complicated Man

Old Brown Shoes

Sunburnt Sky

Cumberland Mornings

As It Was

Billy Goose

Raised In The Ashes

On My Mind

Trains, Thinkin’ and Drinkin’

Trains, Thinkin’ and Drinkin’ (Reprise)