Chris Haddox – Self-Titled
Sometimes when an artist “sounds” like another well-established artist it’s not imitation, not an emulation it’s just that their styles are compatible. From the first song “Says You, Says Who, Says Me,” to the final beauty of “We Can Fall In Love Again,” John Prine’s ghost hovers over these tunes & he smiles.
Chris Haddox embellishes it with that Prine humor, enthusiasm, tone & in a respectable Prine tradition. It’s quite good. Chris is an older artist steeped in bluegrass/country-oriented material & his work is written from a mature perspective — an absorbing observational style.
Chris Haddox – Self-Titled (Drops March 25–Mountain Soul) features wonderful Maddox playing (vocals/fiddle/acoustic guitar/open back banjo) with diversified vocals. “Money Tree,” is seeded in John Hiatt soil. Warm harmonica, a soulful Julie Adams adds sparkle & Chris flexes his words to allow the song to paint itself instrumentally.
This self-titled set of 13-cuts produced by Ron Sowell (rhythm guitar/harmonica) is funny because Chris has become a “promising star” at 61. Deservedly so. The set captures decades of songwriting that went unrealized. Chris said the tunes were ‘songs that read like parts of a book on the act of living.’ That statement alone is like a muse to many songwriters who write the same song every time with cliches & empty repetitive lines. They don’t know how to apply real-life instances as Chris does to his.
The heaviest tune is “Kalashnikov,” (the manufacturer of the authentic AK-47 weapons platform) which is quite impressive. Not your average country good-ole-boy song. But Chris touches upon relatable subjects in a consummate style, sings about redemption, reflection, faith, sadness, anger, history, & love.
On “He Reeled Me In,” the addition of tuba, clarinet & soulful Julie Adams backup colors the upbeat melody. You don’t expect this in-country music quite this way. And again, Chris has all the John Prine storytelling trimmings in his own original creative way.
There’s nothing earth-shaking on this set but it’s gooood. Well-played songs with heart & soul. Chris appears somewhat like he could’ve been in Peter, Paul & Mary in another decade because he does have their sincerity. The CD comes with a handsomely stitched insert with lyrics.
Recorded in West Virginia with Ammed Solomon (drums/percussion), Clint Lewis (stand-up bass), Bud Carroll (electric guitars), Johnny Staats (mandolin), Alasha Al-qudwah, Jenny Allinder & Jesse Milnes (fiddles), Bob Webb (cello), Chris Stockwell (dobro), Mark Scarpelli (harmonium/accordion), Dave Shrewsbury (Hammond B-3/piano), Ted Harrison (tuba), John Posey (lead acoustic guitar on “Redbud,” & “Tree Frog”), Doug Payne (clarinet), Nathan Wilson (bass on “Redbud”), with additional vocals by Milnes, Lady D, Emily Miller, Ginny Hawker, & Mira Costa (lead vocal on “We Can Fall In Love Again”).
Color image from Bandcamp. The 55-minute CD: available @ Bandcamp + https://www.chrishaddoxmusic.com/