Christopher Claiborne Salveter adopted the songwriting moniker Judson Claiborne in his mid-twenties following the breakup of his band, Low Skies, in 2007. In a review of Low Skies’ final record, Stuart Berman of Pitchfork wrote, “Through his public suffering of separation anxiety, guilt, shame, and a broad-ranging spectrum of other unpleasant emotions, All the Love I Could Find itself becomes Salveter's very real salvation: He feels how he does so we don't have to.” The name Judson Claiborne, which refers to Salveter’s family roots, marked a new phase of creative expression that focuses on paired down acoustic arrangements and lyrics that are intimate, socially engaged, personal, and perhaps funny.
Many JC songs would fit in the folk-rock genre, but the androgynous and hair-raising vocal performances of Roy Orbison, Nina Simone, Grant Lee Phillips, and Jeff Buckley are bedrock influences on Salveter’s singing style. The Judson discography tells tales of crime, love, morality, and transformation. In his lyrics, Salveter loves to find connections between his life experiences, political and cultural events, and sociological and scientific research. Many songs are poetic portraits of strange and beautiful human beings from his community or his imagination. A tree house-dwelling bank robber, a seeing-eye pony, a self-immolating anti-war activist, an ecstatic cat, a disappeared marijuana trimmer, and an alleged time traveler are a handful of characters you’ll encounter in the JC catalogue.
Salveter was raised in a Missouri river town turned suburb. Beckoned by Chicago’s art-rock bands and labels of the 1990s, he moved to the city of wind in 2000 and soon became a proud member of its music community. He has released nine records and supported tours for Neko Case, Bill Callahan, The Handsome Family, Band of Horses, Okkervil River, and Explosions in the Sky. In 2014, Salveter co-founded a performance art and music ensemble with composer/guitarist Jefferey Thomas called The Fruit Stare. The group produces the experimental episodic Fruit Stare Pod Opera and stage show Dr. Atop’s Journey to the Polygon of Suffering.