NEW AGE DIATRIBE
The new year of 2012 eschews an era of change and positivity across all spectrums of life. There are those who believe the world will end, but so what if it does? Does that make this moment any less or more important? As a musician who has been playing in San Francisco for a while now, I don't see the point in becoming something bigger. It's much more meaningful to embrace a small group of people who are closest to you and share the gift of music with them. Every time I get up on a stage I am filled with gratitude for those who allow our songs to be sung. I watch in awe as the subtle tides of our everyday lives create that universal awareness which brings people together through music. This is my church, and I'm humbled every time I walk off that stage and realize it is US who resonate as one entity; I am but one mechanism that creates the action. It calms me to feel as a piece of something bigger.
Ever since I was a kid growing up in the south I have always had an affinity for the traditional music played around me. First it was bluegrass and country, later on it was blues and gospel. Our heritage resonates throughout us, and it doesn't matter if we come from Africa or Asia or Europe; within folk music lies the ancient bond we have always shared as humans. A respect for this common current is what allows one to have a strong foundation in familiarity. When this foundation is applied to music it can bring people of all different cultures and continents together. Somewhere deep inside each one of us we long to return to Mother. Through song there is the potential to capture that fleeting feeling, if only for a little moment in time.
That being said, I have always been curious to leap forward and innovate. Connections between distant ideas must be approached with courage and humility. Whatever remote stations of the cosmos one can tune into must be immediately pursued with optomistic openness. This does not always produce a great result, but be brave. It is the breakthroughs of the imagination which inspire hope; an element not to be ignored in the realm of music.
At conclusion there is no need to explain more; for nothing more is truly known. A break must exist for information to accumulate and process. Just keep remembering: "There is no limit to what one may learn when they first admit what they do not know".
- Swami Maharajarati Punham Cahones
This Will Be It (2011) is a collaboration between Chris and Jenni Alpert; a long-time friend who has her own successful music career in LA. It is a hybrid of self-made home recordings and studio overdubs, and the overall mood is mellow and reflective in nature. Jenni is responsible for the song selection and production of the project while also performing background vocals and Rhodes piano on many tracks. One of the goals of this record is to feature an honest delivery of some of Chris's most straightforward compositions, bringing the vocal to the front and keeping the psychedelic experimentation to a minimum, which is exactly the opposite of what Interstellar Lounge Music tried to accomplish.
Interstellar Lounge Music (2009) is a self-produced collection of songs that pay tribute to the "Summer of Two Thousand Great", which began with the retirement of KTVU anchorman Dennis Richmond and culminated in a west coast tour in a 1980's Toyota Chinook that would forever change the lives of those involved. The lo-fi psychedelic nature of the record conjures hazy spirits enveloped in smoke and fire and... well, you just have to listen to it.
For his first commercial release with a label Chris had definite ideas about how he wanted Underneath the Sun (2008) to sound. “I reached back into the rhythms and lyrics of my Southern beginnings and mixed them with the experiences I’ve had being a performer in the San Francisco music scene,” says Chris. “I wanted to write songs with classic honky-tonk themes and bring the energy of Southern Rock to innovate the sound and make it my own.”
For the full-on rock songs, he chose to lay down live performances with a minimal amount of dubbing and mixing. These sessions were performed at San Francisco’s Different Fur studios with seasoned bandmates Bill Cramer and Chris Guthridge from Ride the Blinds. The more country-rock sounding songs on Underneath the Sun were done in the remote, wind-and-fog-swept seaside town of Caspar, Calif., just north of Mendocino. Here, at Old School Studios, he collaborated with Calvin Turnbull (Sheryl Crow, Leon Russell, Eric McFadden, English Beat) to create a tavern-like intimacy and give each tune it's own personality. By overdubbing his own guitar, organ, pedal steel and harmonica playing, Chris uniquely delivers personal songs that will strike a chord with just about any listener.
“My hope is that people will hear and feel something familiar about the songs on Underneath the Sun but will come away experiencing something fresh and vital,” says Chris.