Grafton singer-guitarist returns to in-person gigs with safety measures

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By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer

Chad Clements
Photo/Artrocity, Ted Theodore

Grafton – Soon after the pandemic restrictions were loosened for restaurants in Massachusetts, singer and guitarist Chad Clements of Grafton began entertaining audiences again at eateries where safety measures have been implemented. He feels comfortable performing at these venues.

“It feels safe in the places I’ve been playing – the musicians are well-distanced from anyone else and they’ve all been outdoors,” he noted. “I know the owners and how carefully they reopened.” 

Originally from Queensbury, N.Y., Clements played drums in a band as a high school student. He bought a guitar on his way to attending SUNY Cortland. While in college, he landed his first paying job as a solo acoustic musician.

“I ended up with a solo gig at a bar across the street from where I was living,” he relayed. “I got paid 50 bucks and pizza. That turned into an every-Friday-night gig.”

Clements complements his repertoire of classic hit songs that he performed in the 1990s with contemporary tunes.

“The vast majority of what I play reflects the years when I was in a band in high school and through college,” he said. “I also play whatever songs I hear now on the radio that spark me.”

While living in New Jersey, Clements met his wife, a Shrewsbury native, and they relocated to Worcester in 2005. Soon afterward, he landed a weekly job performing at the city’s Victory Bar & Cigar on Shrewsbury Street. 

Among other Worcester venues where he has performed are Brew City, Buck’s Whiskey & Burger Bar, Greater Good Imperial Brewing Co., Quinn’s Irish Pub and Valentinos.

Seeking a different setting to raise their family, the Clements moved in 2014 to Grafton. There, he has performed at Hunter’s Grille & Tap at the Grafton Inn, Reunion Tap & Table, Post Office Pub, and Town House Tavern.

“We heard good things about the Grafton school system and the community itself,” he said. “We found a great neighborhood. It fits with what we were looking for to raise our kids.”

Prior to the pandemic restrictions, his last gig was on March 13 at Chuck’s Steak House & Margarita Grill in Auburn.

Clements proceeded to livestream his acoustic music via a private Facebook group that he organized to stay connected with college and local friends, and family in New York. Additionally, he shares his musician colleagues’ livestreams online.

On June 13, Clements began entertaining audiences outdoors when he returned to The Mill 185 in West Boylston, which he describes as “one of my favorite places to play.” 

Three days later, he performed outdoors at Reunion Tap & Table in Grafton.

“The atmosphere at Reunion is really cool,” he raved. “They have a big capacity outside with two tents and people are loving it.” 

He also made return appearances outside another favorite venue of his, Specialty Sandwich Company in Holden.

Clements has adjusted to once again performing in-person gigs after the unexpected and
lengthy hiatus.

“I remember feeling nervous my first night back playing – which I hadn’t felt in a while
because I’ve been doing this for years,” he recalled with a laugh. “Then I suddenly got to play in front of people more often again. The nerves went away pretty quickly and I’m having a lot of fun.”

Follow Chad Clements at facebook.com/chadclementsacoustic.