New Album Wonderizer:
Nominated for 2 East Coast Music Awards (Solo Album, R&B/Soul Album)
Winner of 2 Music NL Awards (Male Artist, Songwriter of the Year)
#74 on the Roots Music Report’s Top 100 Albums of 2012
He's a witty, spitey, pasty white kid from the woods of Newfoundland whose style is simply addictive. With his new record, Wonderizer Chris Kirby delivers old school funk to the masses. Banging out his tunes on his Wurlitzer and singing as if the fate of his own mother hangs on every word, Kirby fuses the modern styles of John Mayer and Mayer Hawthorne, along with a hefty dose of Stevie Wonder’s vintage funk and soul sound. Chris Kirby and his band The Marquee deliver a fun, high-energy live performance every night, and his funky grooves spread throughout crowds like wildfire.
Continuing in his efforts to bring classic and vintage 70’s funk and soul into the modern day music market, Kirby’s fourth release, Wonderizer, takes a somewhat autobiographical approach to living life in St John’s, Newfoundland. Originally intended to be released as two separate EPs, Kirby split his songwriting focus between the virtues of love, decency and the joy of performing, and the seedy underworld of the bar and entertainment industry.
The first six songs make up the Greasy collection, starting with the opening track, “Greasy Individual” which was inspired by a few notoriously sketchy characters on George Street, where Kirby frequently performs. The last six songs make up the Honey collection, which includes the album’s title track, “Wonderizer” – a feel-good pop-infused ode to that one special person that keeps you grounded in times of turmoil, a source of light among the grasping shadows of a shady lifestyle.
Wonderizer was recorded in two different studios in St John’s. Kirby (who also produced the album) opted for the 1970’s console and gear at Groove Den Studios in St John’s to achieve the classic vintage sound found on some of the more gritty tunes. Henge Studios was used to attain the more polished pop melodies that Kirby sought to capture in the second half of the album.
“At the last minute, I decided to pit good versus evil and let them duke it out on the one full length record,” said Kirby. “The style remains consistently funky, but the songwriting content changes up a bit in the middle of the album, creating a distinctive Side A/Side B effect.” In order to maximize that effect for listeners, Kirby intends to release the album on vinyl later in 2012.
Greasy vs. Honey, love vs. lust, heads vs. tails. In his own life, Kirby plays both sides of that relentlessly flipping coin, but no matter what the outcome, the odds are always in favour of the song.
Chris Kirby is a 9-time ECMA nominee and has 3 Music NL wins. Career highlights include performing at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics, participation in the 2010 CBC Song Quest program, and multiple festival and showcase performances. He co-writes frequently with other accomplished songwriters, and this year he will be spending some serious time behind the mixing console, producing records for other East Coast artists.
Chris Kirby - Vocals, Piano, & Guitar
Craig Follett - Bass
Chad Murphy - Guitar
Mark Marshall - Drums
Wonderizer (May 2012)
Sounds Like Wednesday (2010) // solo acoustic "off the floor" - winner of the 2011 Music Newfoundland Jazz/Blues Album of the Year
Vampire Hotel (2009) // the long-awaited East Coast R&B - defining record, produced by Gordie Johnson.
Chris Kirby on Rum & Religion (2006) // Chris' solo debut. The title track from this album (Rum and Religion) was a number 1 hit on the East Coast Countdown.
Parc - Bootlegged Live (2003) // Live release from Chris' old band. This album earned the Parc a nomination for Rock Group of the Year at the 2004 MIANL Awards. All songs written by Chris Kirby.
Leave You in the Morning
Spell it Out
Waiting So Long
All You Got
I'm Your Man
Leave of Absence
- Leave You in the Morning
- Free Man
- Tell Me Something
- Nice on the Outside
- Identity Crisis
- Rum & Religion
- Crime in F# Minor (Steal the Night)
- Come Clean
- Cross on the Highway
- Arthritis Song
- Driving Song
- Make My Peace
- Don't Forget About Me
- Entertainer of the Year
- Good Man
- Golden Year
- Fool No More
Chris Kirby releases new single, video
Bob previews Chris's new single and video, "Waiting So Long"
ECMA Warm-Up Show Packed With Great Music
CBC's Bob Mersereau previews a Countdown to ECMAs show featuring Chris Kirby
Fresh Tracks from Chris Kirby
The Telegram online previews a track from Chris Kirby's new album Wonderizer
Hey! That's My Song You're Messing With
More press on Chris Kirby's Whose Song Is It Anyway tour
New Concept for the Songwriters Circle
More press on Chris Kirby's Whose Song Is It Anyway tour
Unique Songwriters Circle
Coverage of Chris Kirby's Whose Song Is It Anyway tour
Whose Song Is It Anyway in Port Hawkesbury
Coverage of Chris Kirby's Whose Song Is It Anyway tour
From Stage to Screen
The Telegram covers Chris Kirby's debut stageit.com online show
Chris Kirby Up for 3 Music NL awards
Music NL awards coverage
Vampire Hotel Review
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Independent (2009) www.chriskirbyonline.com Reviewed by Liz Sykes After too long a wait for thi...Independent (2009)
Reviewed by Liz Sykes
After too long a wait for this follow-up to Chris Kirby’s debut, “On Rum and Religion”, “Vampire Hotel” is a real treat - no sophomore slump here!
Chris gets the customary first-rate support from the Marquee - Craig Follett on bass & backing vocals and Mark Marshall on drums; check them out particularly on ‘Don’t Forget About Me’! Some very talented friends help out – Ottawa’s own Steve Marriner on harmonica, Geoff Panting on accordion, Tom Power on banjo and Leanne Kean on backup vocals – and the CD features a four-piece horn section: Susan Evoy on alto & baritone saxes, Chris Harnett on tenor sax (Terry Stone on tenor sax on one track), Rick Blenkinsopp on trumpet and John Duff on trombone.
Producer Gordie Johnson adds guitar and apparently contributed spells & incantations to the production. Well, if that’s how it’s done, I’m all in favour!
Chris is a multi-instrumentalist; as well as guitars, dobro and mandolin, on this CD he plays rhodes & acoustic pianos and synth/ keys, and this no doubt imparts the funky NOLA R&B flavour to so many of the songs. And it’s no surprise that these songs are getting radio play on pop stations in Newfoundland … they’re catchy, have memorable hooks and, with such intelligent lyrics, a quantum leap ahead
of contemporary ‘pop music’.
In these dozen new originals, Chris’ songs/themes are contemporary, he obviously cares about words and takes care with how he crafts them into lyrics and he has a wonderfully quirky sense of humour. These songs tell stories, paint pictures with words, and the stories ring true: follow the thread from ‘Day Job’ to ‘Entertainer of the Year’ to ‘Vampire Hotel’ – we’re hearing about the musician’s life. Perhaps the
Newfoundland story-telling tradition enables him to paint such a vivid picture with his lyrics in ‘Golden Year’; this certainly sounds like a true story … some family history here perhaps?
This CD won’t appeal to those who want their blues “straight up with no mix”.
Too bad for them – they’re missing a rising star!
Radio Interview with Mac Furlong
Chris Kirby & the Marquee ...the soul of blues' legends!
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Once in a while you hear a sound that just hits you where it's nice. A sound so original, you know t...Once in a while you hear a sound that just hits you where it's nice. A sound so original, you know there's no imitation, no borrowing, and no nonsense. That's what you get when you hear Chris Kirby and the Marquee.
After hearing them perform at Razoolies in Stephenville during MusicNL, I sat down and talked to them. When asked how would they describe their sound, they responded "deadly" (laughing!) And readers they wouldn't be wrong. It's powerful, inspiring, eclectic and soulful. But the band leader, Chris Kirby, goes on to explain that they like to call their sound "modern pop blues."
Kirby is a 23-year-old form Norris Arm, NL, who studied classical piano through the Royal Conservatory of Music program during high school. The other band members, who make up the "Marquee" part, include Craig Follett, also 23, from Gander, who plays a mean bass, also took professional lessons, and Mark Marshall, 21, from St. John's, a talented drummer who, like Craig, did professional training.
What's unique about this up-and-coming group is their refreshing throw-back to the styles of blues' legends but with a modern flair that's truly their own. They told me they have been close friends forever, and that comes across in the way they work their shows with tight arrangements and spontaneous jams.
Their first album "Rum and Religion" serves up thoughtful guitar, rumble-tumble piano, and smooth harmonies. Produced by Armondo Fowlow and Chris Kirby, it's one to add to your Christmas list. Check out www.chriskirbyonline.com Their album "Rum and Religion" actually took the #1 spot on the East Coast Countdown for two weeks. They have material ready for a second album but they are moving slowly - just wanted to push "Rum and Religion" first. When asked if they wanted to add anything else to the interview, they said "Ya, tell your readers to go to East Coast Countdown and vote for us!" (Laughing)
Chris Kirby and the Marquee are a rare treat. And if you're ever on George Street in St. John's, drop by The Fat Cat and have a listen to this young group with the soul of blues' legends!
Chris Kirby's got the Blues
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Most of you know Chris Kirby from his days as lead singer with Parc, who released a relatively succe...Most of you know Chris Kirby from his days as lead singer with Parc, who released a relatively successful CD a couple of years ago, which garnered a MusicNL award nomination. Now Kirby has a new band called Chris Kirby and The Marquee and his first album, “On Rum and Religion” is now available.
His CD release party recently attracted a full house to the Fat Cat Blues Bar (a rare accomplishment for seasoned blues artists in St. John’s), and his latest album showcases an impressive sound for a younger artist.
Chris Kirby is described as a young blues songwriter “with a sound beyond his years.”
That’s especially apparent on Nice On The Outside, which reminds me of Colin James. But one thing that really impressed me about this album is that the man can play guitar. He can slide with the best of them, and his blues is straightforward, honest and truly enjoyable.
The ballad Tell Me Something is already garnering radio attention with its subtle piano feel, and Believe It Or Not brings the blues to the forefront in an impressive way.
On Rum and Religion also features some impressive backup players. The Marquee consists of Craig Follett, Mark Marshall, and Cullam Bruce-Lockhart.
Craig is well known in the local music community, playing with the likes of Mojo Pin and Jill Porter. Mark, a talented young drummer is earning respect from his peers while, Cullam, described as “a jazz grad whose keyboard playing adds a sophisticated crust to the Marquee’s sound,” rounds out the group.
The music is deemed modern-pop blues, but there is one constant. This is an album you can really enjoy when you listen to, whether you’re a hardened blues fan or new to the genre. One thing that I hope is that Chris Kirby continues to play the music he loves, so we can all share that love first hand.
"Sounds of Summer" (blues section)
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"Kirby is best known for his work with alternative band Parc, which released a CD a couple of years ..."Kirby is best known for his work with alternative band Parc, which released a CD a couple of years ago. Now with a new band called Chris Kirby and the Marquee, Kirby is carving his own niche on the local blues scene. On Rum and Religion, the album, has many different elements, but Kirby shows his blues prowess on tunes like Nice On The Outside and Believe It Or Not and shows an impressive guitar sound. He also can write songs that stick with you. Kirby is one of the new faces to watch in the local blues scene." -Kevin Kelly
Gordie Johnson from Grady & Big Sugar
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"Given an opportunity I believe Chris Kirby could produce truly memorable music. I first became inte..."Given an opportunity I believe Chris Kirby could produce truly memorable music. I first became interested when hearing the vintage soul sound coming out of this young Newfoundlander and have come to admire his dedication and tenacity in making things happen."
Review - Vampire Hotel
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Chris Kirby - Vampire Hotel 2009, Chris Kirby Newfoundland has long been a center for Celtic and...Chris Kirby - Vampire Hotel
2009, Chris Kirby
Newfoundland has long been a center for Celtic and Folk music; particularly string bands, but Motown and Rhythm And Blues aren't lost there either. St. Johns' Chris Kirby proved that with Chris Kirby on Rum & Religion in 2006, garnishing a #1 single on Canada's East Coast Countdown and being ranked as #7 on the top 20 Blues albums in 2006 by Terry Parsons' Blind Lemon Blues. A sophomore album is always a tricky proposition, but particularly so when your debut album was so well received. Kirby enlisted the help of former Big Sugar front man Gordie Johnson (Gov't Mule, Taj Mahal) to produce his latest effort, entitled Vampire Hotel. Vampire Hotel continues the hot streak for Kirby, producing a second #1 single on the East Coast Countdown within two weeks of its release (Don't Forget About Me). Let's see what all the buzz is about.
Vampire Hotel opens with Day Job, an amusing yet respectful take on the plight of all the weekend warriors out there trying to get their music career going while working a 9-5 job during the week. Anyone who's ever tried to be a working musician or anyone who's ever cared for one will find that this song hits home. It's delivered in a soulful, Rhythm N Blues package with a melody that will creep into the recesses of your brain and stay there for days. Come Clean brings faith and human nature together in messy fashion, contrasting what the protagonist knows he should do and what he does. This is a great rock tune with Funk and Soul sewn in the lining. Don't Forget About Me is the first single from Vampire Hotel and has already charted #1 on the East Coast Countdown. I can see why. Folks, this is what a #1 single sounds like. Great hooks, a melody that gets your attention and holds it, lyrics that saying something with more than a little bit of style and an arrangement that makes you want to dance until you fall down.
Heavy Rain takes on an earthy, blues-rock timbre, describing the aftermath of some tragic event; the narrator looks for deliverance in the form of rain washing away his sin. Heavy Rain details the internal conversation that leads to a confession, while the telltale heart of a dog chorus reminds him of his wrongdoing. This is an amazing bit of songwriting, entering Randy Newman territory for character development and placement in a song. See You Again is a good old-fashioned Rock N Roll courtship song, done is a style that would fit in anywhere from the 1960's to today. Don't be surprised if See You Again is the second #1 single from Vampire Hotel. Fool No More heads straight for the opposite end of the relationship cycle, kissing off someone for cheating and telling explicitly why in a tune that sounds like classic Motown/Funk. Entertainer Of The Year revisits the trials of being a bar musician; being limited in what you can play based on the clientele and how much wine/beer/whatever has passed under the bridge. It's the antithesis to Billy Joel's piano man and is extremely well done.
Identity Crisis finds Kirby digging into a plate of New Orleans-style Rhythm N Blues; the Zydeco seasoning is palpable and the songwriting is divine. Golden Year, on the other hand, takes on a vague Southern Gospel flavor in an ode to Christopher and Bridget on their fiftieth anniversary. I don't know whether this is a fictional couple of a real one, but the song is incredibly moving and has that inspired touch that suggests it's based on real life (which makes it even more ingenious if it's not). Kirby closes out with the title track, an amusing track about a place you might not want to be after dark.
Vampire Hotel is amazing. Kirby matches deft storytelling with dynamic and highly original arrangements that course with the essential spirit of Rhythm N Blues, Funk and Soul music for one of the finest all-around albums of 2009. Give Chris Kirby a little time and one big break and he's going to be a superstar. Kirby puts the listener in the middle of each tale, wrapping you in the velvet folds of story and song. Vampire Hotel is the sort of CD that the "repeat all" function was created for; a Wildy's World Certified Desert Island disc. Don't miss it. In fact, go get it right now. Go!
Rating: 5 Stars (Out of 5)
You can learn more about Chris Kirby at http://www.chriskirbyonline.com/ or www.myspace.com/chriskirbyandthemarquee. You can order a copy of Vampire Hotel, as well as his first CD, Chris Kirby on Rum And Relgion through IndiePool. I could not find an outlet for downloads. If you spy one on the net drop us a line!
Chris's current performing catalogue includes more than 40 original songs and countless personallized blues/rock classics from artists such as Keb Mo, Muddy Waters, Jimi Hendrix, Dr. John, The Band, and more! Whether performing solo or with his band, the Marquee, Chris is able to entertain any type of audience with anything from a gripping 30-minute set to a marathon 4-hour show.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.