Local singer-songwriter and guitarist Jared Michael Cline is a cat guy. He’s also a dog guy. While reminiscing of childhood furry friends, he remembers his sweet Jack Russell (who he lost too soon) and how pit bulls actually are his favorite breed. “They’ve always been the nicest dogs I’ve ever been around,” he says. “Too nice sometimes!”
But a midnight-black cat named Mooky stands out most. “I’ve never seen a cat more relaxed and unbothered than him,” Cline recalls. “He was our alpha family cat, and he’s still living in Indiana with my stepdad’s mother.”
Though Cline’s music career and day job waiting tables don’t allow him the time or funds for a furry companion right now, he’s one of several local artists lending his talents to Rescue Fest ‘17 at Fermental on June 17 to benefit All 4 Cats. Starting at noon, it will be a day of beer, music, art, food trucks, games, a silent auction, and more family-friendly activities to help save homeless cats. Cline will be joined by friends from ILM’s Americana/folk music scene: Kyle Lindley, Chasing Opal and Cara Schauble.
Many may recognize Cline’s soulful solo stylings from his recent live session at StarNews HQ, wherein he played original tunes. Though his influences range from gospel to punk-rock, folk to musical theatre, he plays his acoustic guitar delicately (yet still with power), and his voice soars with emotions. He talks the talk on love, pain and passion.
Born and raised in Jacksonville, NC, Cline moved to Japan at age 7 from his stepfather’s stationing with the Marine Corps. His family moved to Indiana when he was 12, before Cline relocated back to Jacksonville in 2009.
“I had a really hard time and I just needed a different environment,” he divulges. “That’s when I discovered Wilmington was thriving with music and art. I knew I wanted to be in the midst of it. I ended up moving here (in 2012) to go to UNCW to study music, classical guitar, and I’ve been here since.”
encore spoke with Cline to learn more about his music, passions and living and playing in Wilmington.
encore (e): While your musical influences started in gospel, and evolved into rock, punk, etc., how do all genres tend to play into your work today?
Jared Michael Cline (JMC): The only thing I’ve noticed with my writing style and the songs I’ve written is they are usually focused on dynamics. Those influences lend themselves to an aspect of my writing, as well as just intending to convey very heartfelt and honest messages. I think I’ve learned from all genres and styles in different ways that helped mold my writing.
e: Could you tell readers a little more about the story you’re telling in “Can I Hold You”?
JMC: Well, I can’t really tell you “who” it’s about, but I can tell you what influenced it. “Can I Hold You” came about a few years ago, and it started with a progression I had been playing around with about a year before that. Due to a certain event that ended with a not-so-positive result, I ended up writing the song for/about someone and how difficult it is to just be completely vulnerable for another person. It’s something we all want, and even though it scares us, we still bite the bullet and take chances. It’s basically saying I understand how hard it is to be vulnerable, but I’m willing to be vulnerable just for you.
e: How does the Wilmington music scene play into your growth as an artist?
JMC: It is one that has always been supportive and dedicated to building community amongst artists here. I wouldn’t say there are specific influential players because all of the players here influence me in different ways. Being in this community and seeing other artists grow and develop, while also taking notes from the artists/bands that have established themselves here and surrounding areas, I believe influences me most. I feel hopeful, thankful, grateful, and humbled to be a part of this community. I don’t think many towns/cities have the same kind of community support we have in Wilmington. It’s really a special thing when you think about it.
e: Can you list influential players?
JMC: Kyle Lindley, who I’ve known since before I moved to Wilmington! We met at an open mic at the Soapbox in 2011. We’ve always been really cool with each other, and he’s been a great friend and support!
e: You also play for local theatre productions. How do you prepare for these performances versus your solo gigs?
JMC: When it comes to playing guitar for theatre, there is a lot of homework I have to do in order to be ready by the first band rehearsal before we rehearse with the full cast and run a show. It’s usually me listening to soundtracks and spending a lot of time in my room, analyzing music, hoping I can execute it well. When it comes to solo gigs, I’m usually always prepared because there is rarely a moment when I’m not singing in my day-to-day life.
I listen to an incredible amount of various music I enjoy, and when I’m home and I have free time and privacy, I will spend a few hours just playing guitar in my bedroom, singing and learning new songs, and writing and other things. For me, music is just always happening, whether in my head, in my stereo, or coming from me itself. There is always music for me.
e: Are you recording right now?
JMC: I have not been working on any recording at this time. I’m hoping to be working on something in the near future. That said, I have been working with a band as of late. Hopefully, in due time, we will be out playing around. I would like to play with a live band for a little while before I commit to any recording right now. The band does not have a name, but on drums is JJ Street, bass is Ryan Woodall, and lead guitar is John Hussmann. These guys really help me bring music to life beyond what I expected! It’s great working with them!
e: Is there anything else you’d like readers to know about your upcoming shows, new music or Rescue Fest ’17?
JMC: Just be on the lookout on my Facebook page or my website www.jaredmichaelcline.com. I have several shows lined up for the month of July, and I hope to get this band moving forward.
I’m looking forward to playing Rescue Fest because I’m playing with my friends in Chasing Opal and my friend Cara Schauble. They are super talented and just great people!
I hope to continue performing for you lovely people here in Wilmington, and beyond. You guys are the best!
Rescue Fest ‘17
Feat. Jared Michael Cline, Chasing Opal, Kyle Lindley, Cara Schauble
Saturday, June 17, 12 p.m. – 6 p.m.
7250 Market St.
[Writer’s note: Anyone interested in expanding their family by fostering or adopting a kitten or cat may email email@example.com or meet them in person at PetSmart in Monkey Junction every Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Or find out more about All 4 Cats’ Rescue Fest ‘17 on Facebook.]