David Kleiner

David Kleiner

Philadelphia, PA | Established. Jan 01, 1980 | SELF

Philadelphia, PA | SELF
Established on Jan, 1980
Solo Folk Singer/Songwriter




"The News That's Fit to Sing: Five Stars"

First, a warning: there are 2 David Kleiner who are songwriters: David or Dave Kleiner (it depends on the albums) from New Jersey and the David that interests us today who is from Pennsylvania. With this 2nd album, we can even say that we are interested because it is among the best contemporary folk albums of recent years. It is very easy to locate (musically): midway between Phil Ochs and Jack Hardy. Phil Ochs for inspiration. Like Phil, David is, on all points, on the left of the American political spectrum. He draws the subjects for these songs from newspaper articles, blogs, and from interviews and that is how he confronts us with children of victims of the Afghanistan war, with the death penalty, and weapons of mass destruction, etc.. Also the title of the album and the first song openly copy the title of Phil Ochs’ album All the News That's Fit to Sing. Even the cover photographs the singers in the same position: the artist sitting on his guitar, newspaper in hand. The comparison with Jack Hardy is in the voice and several Celtic-inspired songs. It’s not by mere chance the album contains a song called “Jack Hardy's Brother” (Jeff Hardy, Jack’s brother, was one of the victims of the Sept. 11 attack in New York) and another “Phil Ochs as I Knew Him,” a song tribute to the man who was David’s hero. The production by Gene Goldsmith is a little jewel. Just listen to how he uses the harmony vocals of Jen Schonwald in 9 of the 15 songs or Steve Buckalew’s violin and David’s guitar in “Massacre on Lex Street” and you will be convinced. For me, this is one of the 5 best albums of the year!

Review in French

Tout d’abord, une mise en garde: il y a 2 David Kleiner sur le marche ds songwriters: il y a David ou Dave Kleiner (ca depend des albums !) du New Jersey et le David qui nous interesse aujourd’hui et qui vient de Pennsylvanie. Avec ce 2eme album, on peut meme dire qu’il nous interesse beaucoup c’est un des plus beaux albums de folk contemporain de ces dernieres annees. Tres facile a situer: a mi-chemin entre Phil ochs et Jack Hardy. Phil Ochs pour l’inspiration: comme Phil, David se situe, sur tous les points, a la gauche de l’echiquier politique americain. Il puise les sujets de ces chansons dans des articles de journaux, des blogs, a partir de conversations et c’est ainsi qu’il nous confronte avec les enfants d’Afghanistan victims de la guerre, avec la peine de mort, le lobby des armes, etc. Phil Ochs aussi pour le titre de l’album et de la premiere chason, ouvertement copie sur son album All the News Tthat’s Fit to Sing. Meme la pochette reprend la meme position: l’artiste assis sur sa guitare, un journal a la main. Le rapprochement avec Jack Hardy, c’est au niveau de la voix et de la inspiration celtique de plusiers chansons qu’on la trouve. Ce n’est donc pas un hazard d’avoir une chanson intitulee Jack Hardy’s Brother (Jeff Hardy, frere de Jack, a ete une des victims du 11 septembre new yorkais) et une autre Phil Ochs as I Knew Him, chanson homage a celui qui etait son heros. Le production de Gene Goldsmith est un petit bijou; il suffit d’ecouter comment il place les harmonies vocals de Jen Schonwald dans 9 des 15 chansons, ainsi que le violon de Steve Buckalew et la guitare de David sur Massacre on Lex Streetpour etre convaincu. Pour moi, un des 5 albums de l’anne!
- Cry of the Coyote, France

"The News That's Fit to Sing: Thoughtful and powerful!"


Featured Under The Radar CD
David Kleiner's The News That's Fit To Sing

"Thoughtful and powerful songs that speak to the past, present & future"---Rob Lincoln, cdreviewsonline.com

It's a real privilege to be the first to review this excellent and important CD from Philadelphia area songwriter David Kleiner. Kleiner, whose previous CD, This Human Heart, was a fine collection of original love songs, has outdone himself this time with a beautiful presentation of some outstanding original topical songs all revolving around the theme of a newspaper. Dedicated to Phil Ochs, the title is similar to that folk troubadour's classic 60's album, All The News That's Fit To Sing. All of Kleiner's songs on this CD address one or another part of a newspaper, from front page stories to the obituaries and sports pages. Not surprisingly, many deal with war and crime but a few are a bit more lighthearted. Some will make you cry, more often they will make you think and hopefully... act. Phil would be proud. The favorite songs are:

That's Why I Fight- This song rubbed me the wrong way the first time I heard it. But after hearing it again I realized that what I was hearing was nothing less than the truth. But the truth is sometimes not easy to hear when it is not from one's own perspective. What makes this great is this song is not even from the songwriter's perspective. It is from the perspective of the American soldier. He tells his sister, "I don't fight for the president. It's what duty calls me to. I fight for my buddies. I fight for you. I've got a friend on my left and a friend on my right. That's why I fight. That's why I fight." It is a song that makes you think about the nature of war and re-examine your own beliefs. A complex and profound song.

Nine Afghan Children- The first time I heard this I was blown away by the power of the song. And I still am. It is, like everything on this CD, a true song, and like many of the songs on this CD, it is based on specific facts. This one hits home for the songwriter. He does not tell the story of our military's accidental murder of children by preaching, nor is he detached. He relates it to his own two daughters. It reminds us of what is being done in the name of freedom, national interest and supposed self-preservation...and the long-term impact.

Jack Hardy's Brother- The lyrics to this song are taken almost verbatim from an interview with the venerable Greenwich Village songwriter Jack Hardy who lost his brother Jeff in the World Trade Center on 9/11. It is a quiet tune with Irish harp, not unlike the musical style of Hardy who loves to write with a Celtic flavor. Yet this calm song is devastatingly powerful. It is a song you will never forget.

Rooting For A Loser- Turning to the sports page we have a wonderful baseball song, inspired by the melody of Take Me Out To The Ball Game (but not actually copying it). This one has a bit of humor, though it is still a tad poignant. Anyone from Chicago and Philadelphia should have no problem relating. Let's go Phillies!!

Busted- Kleiner, (whose voice is occasionally reminiscent of Cat Stevens) seems to be channelsing Jim Croce on this cut, which is hands down the best vocal performance on the CD. You can almost hear him launching into Bad Bad Leroy Brown after playing this song about a bad guy selling drugs on the street. This is one of a number of songs straight out of the crime pages.

The Anniversary of My Death- This peculiar song inspired by the obituary pages articulates a strange thought that has occurred to me from time to time. As he puts it, "this could be the anniversary of my death...every year we pass the day, but we never know it."

There are lots more fine songs, 15 in fact, but the ones above are my favorites. I believe the first 4 sited are truly exceptional songs. Also another song not mentioned, God Be With Us, is exceptional, but simply not my personal taste. The last two songs on the CD are also memorable: Stand Up For Freedom and Phil Ochs As I Knew Him. The opening cut (title track) has a killer groove enhanced by the great percussion of Cheryl Prashker and nice bass playing by Aaron Goldsmith. All the musicians on this recording are top notch as is the production. The graphic package not only enhances the theme by creating a newspaper from the lyrics but is one of the best CD designs I have seen. Musically, visually and production-wise the execution is flawless, but like the work of Phil Ochs, in the end it all comes down to the lyrics. Phil would definitely like this CD for the lyrical quality as well as its sentiment. For more information on David Kleiner, go to www.myspace.com/davidkleiner.

"This Human Heart: Words magically transmuted into music"

David Kleiner is one of our own. Readers of Minor 7th may recognize him as a writer who interprets music elegantly into words. Those first hearing Kleiner's music will think the exact converse. Words are magically transmuted into music, and the final message rings true to a three-word manifesto which happens to be the title of his new CD, "This Human Heart." Though Kleiner's songs on this disc are peppered with both the words "human" and "heart," to predict the sentiment of intertwining these two words in any one of his songs is as uncertain as the spectrum of all human emotion: "Made of darkness, a combat zone / made of glass, made of stone / Full of rain, full of soul / Like a wheel, with a mind of its own / It's this heart / This human heart." There is a rough-hewn strain to Kleiner's voice, which can either emote like a palpable wince over bad things gone by ("My lover says it's all just dust and dreams / From where I stand, that isn't how it seems / we hurt so that we can learn what we are when hurt departs") or a yearning for things just out of his passionate grasp ("Now I'm in the dark and I know what to do with a candle, a match, and a picture of you / Ashes to ashes, combustible heart / Touch off a fire in this tinderbox"). Kleiner, as David Wilcox is known to do, assimilates time into his own signature "folk-waltz" sound on "Cape May Waltz," "Tiny Romance," and "Hopeless Romantic." By surrounding himself with stylistic sidemen like Gary Green on harmonica and Curt Johnston on dobro, certain of the songs on "This Human Heart" forge into alt-country sound á la The Band or J.D. Souther, such as on "Right About the Rain." David Kleiner truly is one of our own... a writer, a musician, but most fitting... human.
© Alan Fark
- Minor7th.com

"This Human Heart: Intensity and Passion."

It’s no bigger than a fist, yet the size of the universe. It’s a combat zone, yet a place of comfort. It’s made of both glass and stone. On This Human Heart, David Kleiner presents such confusing contradictions of the universal muscle of romance.
Taking on a themed release is challenging, especially with one as omnipresent and worn as love. Kleiner remarks that his release covers different stations of the heart. The title cut is the first stop and presents all the contradictions above and more. After defining its mysteries, he hands it over and asks the bearer to be careful with it.
Next stop is “Hopeless Romantic” and presents the ultimate love oxymoron: a public personal. This highlight slowly reveals the details of the man looking for friendship and chemistry on page 63. Harmonies by Mary Gordon Hall and a solo cello add to the yearning of the 40-something male.
Several cuts continue with all-encompassing passions. “Baby I Burn” aches with the fever of desire. Though up-tempo, there’s a clear emptiness. The harmonica solo by Gary Green also attempts to fill the void, yet the ache remains. “Damn This Aching Heart” slinks along musically as the lyrics capture the weakness that envelops us when we are totally led by an uncontrollable yearning for someone. In spite of a doctor’s thumbs up report, the heart can render one sick.

The 13 cuts take on passengers for the agelessly repeating journeys of bitterness, aching, loss, devotion, fulfillment, and passion that embrace the realities of loving. Kleiner’s vocals have a rough quality that is intense, and with love songs, it’s all about intensity and passion.

Angela Page, Sing Out Magazine, Summer 2006
- Sing Out Magazine


Cuts from "This Human Heart" and "The News That's Fit to Sing" have been heard on these and other radio stations:

4RED: Brisbane, Australia
5EBI: Adelaide, Australia
CFMU: Ontario, Canada
CJTR: Regina, Canada
CKPC-FM: Brantford, Ontario
KBAC-FM: Santa Fe, NM
KUMD: Duluth MN
KUSU: Salt Lake City UT
KZSC: Santa Cruz
PLANET RADIO: Brisbane, Australia
RADIO ZUSA: Lueneburg, Germany
RADIOWAYNE: Internet Radio
UMFM: Winnipeg
WBGU: Bowling Green, OH
WCVF: Fredonia, NY
WETA: Washington DC
WFDU: Teaneck, NJ
WFHB: Bloomington, Indiana
WFIT: Melbourne, Florida
WGDR: Plainfield, VT
WJCU: Cleveland, Ohio
WJFF: Jeffersonville, N.Y.
WMUC: College Park MD
WOJB: Hayward, WI
WRPI: Troy, NY
WUMD: College Park, MD
WVGN: St. Thomas, Virgin, Islands
WVOF: Fairfield, CT
WVUD: Newark, DE
WXOU: Auburn Hills, Michigan
WXPN: Philadelphia, PA, Gene Shay Show



David, winner of the 2009 Avalon Folk Festival's Performing Songwriter Competition, has been performing for more than thirty years. He has headlined clubs such as Charlottesville's Prism Coffeehouse, New Jersey's Barrington Coffee House, and World Cafe Live Upstairs in Philadelphia. His song, "Stand Up for Freedom" (co-written with Mick Choder) won the 2004 Philadelphia Songwriter's Project's Vote Festival Contest. David has opened for Randall Williams, Hot Soup, We're About Nine, and Dave Matthews and Boyd Tinsley. Check out videos on YouTube with David playing solo and with his trio. His CDs are available on iTunes, Amazon, and most streaming music services.

Band Members