Chris J Connolly
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Chris J Connolly

Bellport, New York, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2008 | INDIE

Bellport, New York, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2008
Band Alternative Folk




"ALBUM REVIEW: "Flying Lessons""

"A U.K. native but a Long Island resident, Connolly makes music owing little to any particular locale. Centering each track around his reedy tenor and percussive acoustic guitar, he works in a grey area between pop and folk, exploiting the former’s memorable melodies and the latter’s expressive intimacy. On this debut mini-album, he’s the kind of artist who can create cuts as emotionally affecting as “Not Alone,” “Black Swan,” and the impossibly lovely “Can We Go Now” without getting stuck in the tar pit of sentimentality. He even rocks (politely) on “The Peddler,” without sounding like he’s forcing himself to do so. There’s a lot of talent in these eight songs, and it’ll be a pleasure to hear it developed further." - Big Takeover Magazine, Issue #76

"ALBUM REVIEW: Chris J Connolly - "Flying Lessons""


“An impressive debut album with engaging songs, delivered in his tenor voice with solid guitar work, bass and percussion” -- Charlie Backfish, WUSB, 90.1FM


"Chris J. Connolly's impressive debut album, Flying Lessons, will introduce listeners to an emerging major talent on the area music scene. Connolly, a Bellport resident who grew up in England's West Midlands, writes engaging songs, delivered in a tenor voice reminiscent of another British expatriate, Iain Matthews, (of Fairport Convention fame). Credit him as well for accompanying himself with solid guitar work, bass and percussion and even doing the art work on the CD, released on Chicago-based Diversion Records. Scott Simon shares credit with Connolly for the solid production work on Flying Lessons. Standout tracks for this programmer are "Black Swan," "Million Colours" and "The Peddler." --- Charlie Backfish, Host of "Sunday Street" (WUSB, 90.1fm) - WUSB, 90.1FM - DJ/Host Charlie Backfish

"CMJ February 2015 Mixtape Selection"

Chris J Connolly's "Million Colours" selected as a featured new releases for the February 2015 CMJ Mixtape. - CMJ - College Music Journal

"ALBUM REVIEW: Chris J. Connolly – "Flying Lessons" (2015)"


“…a fresh take on (an) old, no-fuss approach to making music… sweet-sounding, interlacing acoustic guitars and sometimes a sparking electric, putting his high tenor vocal and rich harmonies up front and center.”


The more that the voice and the songs of singer-songwriters are more exposed due to light accompaniment, the easier it is to know if their songs and their singing is truly good. Chris J. Connolly holds himself up to that kind of scrutiny and he acquits himself well.

Hailing from Staffordshire, England but now calling New York home, the Transatlantic troubadour makes his living much the same way Neil Young often did — and still does — without a full backing band. His debut albumFlying Lessons, out January 20, 2015 via Diversion Records is a fresh take on this old, no-fuss approach to making music.

Connolly’s songs are often backed by sweet-sounding, interlacing acoustic guitars and sometimes a sparking electric, putting his high tenor vocal and rich harmonies up front and center. And, just as crucially, catchy melodies.

Every song has its own charm: the high harmony highlights “Black Swan,” while the blend of electric and acoustic guitars behind Connolly pillow-soft harmonies make “Million Colours” instantly appealing. With a campfire harmonica to go along with an acoustic guitar, “Bravery” reminds me most of Young. “Not Alone” grabs the listener’s attention when another coat of guitars are added after the first verse, then just as dramatically, it’s pulled out. A moaning, single note line from a tube-y electric guitar acts almost as a second vocal on “Wild Beast,” and a full band is employed on “The Peddler,” generating a pretty good groove.

Altogether, Flying Lessons is a successful launch for Chris J. Connolly, who wisely focuses on doing a few, vitally important things and do them well. Keeping it simple is the key for making it great. - Something Else!

"Chris J. Connolly & Bryan Gallo with Butchers Blind to Play Patchogue Theatre, 10/23"

Chris's debut album, due out this fall on Diversion Records, is anchored around his raw acoustic guitar and vocal arrangements while also exploring new-found sonic territory. With minimalistic additions of percussion, bass, and electric guitar, the album is a diverse and spacious journey rooted in natural performances and craftsmanship that maintains the intimacy and presence of his earlier work. The first single is due in September, with the full album following in late 2014. -

"ALBUM REVIEW: Learning to Fly with Chris J Connolly"


“a relaxing, unwinding kind of adventure (that is) beautifully constructed”


Back in October 2013 I featured a UK gent who followed his heart to the Empire State. I said you would fall in love with him and hopefully you gave a listen and did just that.
If you haven’t then here is another chance, Chis J. Connolly is releasing his latest effort called “Flying Lessons” TODAY (!!!!!) through Diversion Records.
I am admittedly a fan of his music and I am glad that he opens with “Black Swan” it is a great introduction to his style. It is also one of the more upbeat songs on the album.

The songs on the album are still relatively stripped down to just his voice and guitar. There are a few tracks with some percussion and harmonica but mostly it is acoustic. In the simplicity of his sound there is such depth. There is some backing instrumentation without being a full on band. This allows the uniqueness of his voice and the content of his songs to be heard without interference. “Wild Beast” has some of the more prominent instrumentation. The addition gives the song a haunted, melancholy presence, your ears perk up and you fall prey, being drawn into the lyrics. This is followed by the innocence of “Can We Go Now” a love song for a child and the purity of seeing the world through their eyes.

The album is really a relaxing, unwinding kind of adventure. There will be no moshing with this recording. Everyone needs an album or two or three that allows them to reflect and chill out. This really is a great album for that. It is a beautifully constructed, well thought out production and I highly recommend it.

The liner notes are chock full of Chris’s drawings which in itself is a treat. Each song has a drawing relevant to the particular song. The album cover artwork is an example of his sketches.
If you have not heard Chris’s songs yet check out the album which is available today on iTunes and Amazon and MP3 format.

He also has songs on Soundcloud or if you are on Facebook check him out there maybe even show him some love and like his page. There are pictures, video snippets, local gigs and basic info there.

This is an artist you will want to keep an eye on. -

"ALBUM REVIEW: Graveyard Blues - DJ Jerry Schaefer - 01/18/15"

“Chris J Connolly's Flying Lessons not straight up anything - its a big multi-continental stew of rock, folk, blues, pop and Americana”
WRCN 103.9FM - Jerry Schaefer - WRCN 103.9FM

"A Festival Testifies to a Village’s Turnaround"

The festival, which is going by the name PAC MAC (for Patchogue Arts Council, Music Arts and Cinema), will wend its way between indoor venues and outdoor spaces, including streets, plazas, alley walkways and gardens. Offerings will range from a performance by the comedian Paula Poundstone to a conceptual art project that presents street lamps, trash cans and other utilitarian objects as museum-quality works of art. ......

.......Also taking place in the theater lobby is live music. The Live in the Lobby music series will have its first show of the season, featuring local musicians Chris J. Connolly and Bryan Gallo with Butchers Blind, on Oct. 23. - New York TImes

"ALBUM REVIEW: Chris J. Connolly ‘Black Swan’"


"a rewarding listen (that) packs some impressive emotional heft and compelling songwriting.... top-notch pop/folk fusion that’s pure ear candy".


Chris J. Connolly’s debut album ‘Black Swan’ (EDIT: "Flying Lessons) features a beguiling mix of delicate acoustic guitar picking and vocal harmonies. A British native currently based in Long Island, Connolly has played a number of local Long Island venues and radio shows promoting ‘Black Swan’, which will be released on January 20th through Diversion Records. Connolly’s sound bears a strong resemblance to the singer songwriter style of James Taylor, whom he cites as a major influence. A multi-instrumentalist, Chris handles all vocals and guitars, the majority of bass and percussion, and provides the album’s artwork as well.

The title track and album opener “Black Swan” is a definite highlight featuring a catchy guitar riff and evocative percussion. The quiet production style allows Connolly’s crisply layered vocals to really shine here, yielding a top-notch pop/folk fusion that’s pure ear candy. The lyrics are solid as well, with Connolly singing “There’s a black swan on my lawn/ and he’s wanting to come in/ said he knows me. There’s a black swan in my home/ and he sees just what I see/ it’s a mess.”

“Million Colours”, the album’s first single, is another solid track, featuring hushed guitar strumming, finger picking and gentle harmonies. It’s a beautiful ode to a sunset, with Chris delivering the lines “Go now put that camera away/ a better picture would be taken with your eyes.” It’s hard not to see a bit of social commentary here. With heavily filtered sunsets a mainstay on Instagram, the beauty of this pared-down track makes a great case for simply observing the world around us without trying to capture everything.

Harmonica adds a nice touch to “Bravery”, which features a catchy vocal hook in the verses and offers a heartfelt narrative regarding parenting. “Not Alone” opts for a more serious tone with brushed snare and beautiful minor key harmonies. The lyrics remain strong as Connolly doles out relationship advice, advising us to “Keep the key/ don’t copy it/ till you’re sure/ they’re worth it” and later, forgivingly, “Change the locks/ we all make mistakes.”

Overall, ‘Black Swan’ is a rewarding listen and packs some impressive emotional heft and compelling songwriting for a debut album. - Hot Indie News



"a brilliantly classic and sentimental album that can only bring you to a standstill."


In this dreary windy weather the UK is experiencing we need something gentle to guide us back into the wonderment of summer, back into the thought of sunshine and running through fields of daisies with our loved ones as the memories of Christmas fade into the past. Hailing from Staffordshire and Long Island, (New York), Chris J Connolly has the perfect soundtrack to play through these changing seasons with an acoustic folk jazz-fusion album that can drift you into a daydream during the hardest darkest days of winter.

With gorgeous acoustic strumming fashioned with tones of Fleetwood Mac guitar strings polished off with beautifully delicate harmonies the album is filled with gems that will easily become your new ‘favourite’ on each listen. Not Alone is wonderfully simplistic, yet poignant with fragile undertones building into a powerful anthem whilst Million Colours is magical, a simply overwhelming song that will make you want to dance round the living room with your vacuum as if the sun were shining over your frozen skin.

Opening track Black Swan is up-tempo, with more percussion blended in for a toe-tapping introduction to the album that builds into a big country and jazz infused track all the while with Chris’ gorgeous vocals gently floating over the top. Can We Go Now is a take on a classic country song but slowed down so you can’t miss a word or a beat of what can easily become you and your lover’s new choice of shared song.

Suffice to say the album isn’t all daydreams as The Peddler holds more substance with bigger drums, more electric strings than acoustic and Wild Beast is a dangerous thrilling halfway point.

Fittingly the final song of the album, Colder is gentle, a lullaby set to drift you off into a world of dreams and meditation. A perfect ending to a brilliantly classic and sentimental album that can only bring you to a standstill to reminisce of those long summer days we cherish with both hands. In this ever scary and dangerous world it is just gorgeous to have an opportunity to reflect on our joys, our hopes and all what we are grateful for; and trust me, Flying Lessons is the perfect soundtrack.

Review by Kat Bagshawe - Music Muso

"Locals release albums tonight at Live in the Lobby"

The other half of the celebration is for singer/songwriter Connolly, who is releasing his first full-length CD, “Million Colours” on Diversion Records. Connolly, of Bellport, is originally from England, and has worked diligently over the past two years to forge a meaningful career in a new country. His voice is hypnotic, with intricate layers of harmony and sound that do not distract from the lyrics. “I’m extremely excited; I have been writing songs and releasing demos for almost a decade it seems, so to have a bona fide record about to come out is bonkers, in a good way,” he said. Find his music on Facebook, or visit -

"Chris J. Connolly and Bryan Gallo with Butchers Blind"

Inspired by both early American roots music and modern alt-rock, Chris grew to craft his own unique style of writing and phrasing that moves between sublime, evolving and hook based melodies. - Arts Alive - Long Island

"50 States of Talent continues in The Empire State with Chris J. Connolly"

On his self released ep aptly titled EPII Chris offers up an array of tasty compositions. One of my favorites would be the opening track “Black Swan”. This song opens the door to what awaits you on the rest of the release and has catchy phrasing. Musically it plays with both his edgier and softer acoustic sides. In the softer acoustic songs Chris explores his innermost thoughts. He translates those feelings into beautiful songs like “American Accent”, “Ferry to Rosslare” and “Colder”. - nothaydn


Inspired to pick up the guitar by the likes of James Taylor and Neil Young, Chris’s vocal style has been influenced by the great soul artists; Marvin Gaye, Al Green, and Sam Cooke, which, as you can imagine, makes for an interesting and captivating musical blend. Add to this a healthy dose of classic rock (Foreigner, Free, Queen), and more modern pop and indie artists (Kings of Leon, Fleet Foxes, Aloe Blacc, Amos Lee), and Chris has created a style as individual as it is pleasingly familiar.

It should be noted that all the tracks on Chris’s ‘EP II CD’ were recorded on his home studio, and Chris’s debut single, Factory (available in iTunes) was mastered at Abbey Road Studios, London. - Music Muso

"Kira Velella and Chris J. Connolly: recorded live on February 8, 2014"

Kira Velella and Chris J. Connolly: recorded live on February 8, 2014 - Homegrown Music Cafe

"Chris J. Connolly"

March 13 to March 19, 2014 — “Black Swan,” “Ferry to Rosslare,” “Factory,” and “Longest Day” - Alive with Clive


Chris J Connolly - LP, Title TBA (Diversion Records)  Jan 2015 

Chris J Connolly - "Million Colours" (Diversion Records)   Oct 23rd, 2014

Chris J Connolly - "Million Colours" (Diversion Records)  Oct 7th, 2014

Chris J Connolly - "Factory" (Self Released)  2012



Weaving between two continents, Chris J. Connolly’s music has been his support system and a reflection of his journeys. Originally from Staffordshire, England - Chris spent his early years performing in hometown venues before eventually crossing the Atlantic to reside in his current home on Long Island. Inspired by both early American roots music and modern alt-rock, Chris grew to craft his own unique style of writing and phrasing that moves between sublime, evolving and hook based melodies.


Chris’s debut album Flying Lessons, released Jan 20th 2015 on Diversion Records, is anchored around his raw acoustic guitar and vocal arrangements while also exploring newfound sonic territory. With minimalistic additions of percussion, bass, and electric guitar, the album is a diverse and spacious journey rooted in natural performances and craftsmanship that maintains the intimacy and presence of his earlier work. The first single “Million Colours” was released on Oct 7th, 2014.

Band Members