Chris Strand and the Sinners
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Chris Strand and the Sinners

Austin, Texas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | SELF

Austin, Texas, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2012
Band Rock Singer/Songwriter


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Chris Strand and the Sinners @ Cheatham Street Warehouse

San Marcos, Texas, United States

San Marcos, Texas, United States

Chris Strand and the Sinners @ Lambert's Downtown Barbeque

Austin, Texas, United States

Austin, Texas, United States



"Chris Strand - Settle Down"

Last Year Chris Strand released an EP entitled Roots, which featured his guitar and vocals. A little more than a year later he is back with Settle Down, which not only has much more instrumentation but is also a vast improvement in terms of production. I enjoyed the sparse skelton-like songs on Roots but the addition of instruments like drums, violin, trombone, cello, mandolin and saxophone to name a few added layers of energy and emotion that just weren't possible before. The songs here are thick with instrumentation but Strand never loses focus and realizes that behind everything you still have to have a good song. Strand delivers and doesn’t disappoint when it comes to song quality on this ten-track album.

The album opens with “Snow In South Brooklyn,” which is a song that makes you feel warm. I think it was a combination of the title and the fact that he mentions coffee and the acoustic instrumentation that sounds inviting. The song starts off with a sole guitar and as it progresses more instrumentation tastefully gets added. “Morning Birds Call” is a flat out beautiful tune that spews with emotion (mostly melancholy). The overlapping guitar parts were great but the shaker and violin was the cherry on top. “I Would Sell My Lungs” is the closest that Strand gets to rock on the album. It’s a nice change of pace but I have to admit it was a bit jarring when I heard him say “fucking.”

One of the highlights on the album is “Hemingway Blues,” which also makes you realize how good of a guitarist Strand is. That technically impressive opening guitar riff against the orchestral string is so on point. In fact the song just gets better as it progresses. Make sure not to skip this one. “Once Was Enough” is an upbeat song that might give you pep in your step but don't get too excited because the next song “Freezing In The Rain” is the most somber on the album.

Strand closes with the horn heavy “Yellow Rose of Austin,” which feels loose but emotional. He delivers one of his best vocal performances and effectively closes the album.

Strand made some leaps and bounds from his last recording. There are a lot good things happening on this record. - The Equal Ground

"Chris Strand, Settle Down (May 2014 Monthly Reviews)"

The sophomore release from the singer-songwriter is a collection of straightforward acoustic-driven folk-pop tunes, penned by a young hopeless romantic. What it lacks in general innovative depth, it makes up for with story-telling skills and sleek production, as best heard on the lead single, “I Would Sell My Lungs.” - Austin Monthly

"Chris Strand- Roots"

You know those shows on Starz or HBO that have episodes where the main characters go their separate ways after a big milestone, like breaking up with someone or going to college or some other life BS, and then there're shots of them driving past trees and looking contemplative and mildly regretful? Every song on this EP could be used to score those scenes. If that sounds facetious it's because it is (I believe critics are, first and foremost, failed comedians, but that's another discussion). Having said that, Chris Strand, currently creating lonely highway music out of Austin, Texas, has crafted a meditative, at times emotive, and above all worthwhile, collection of acoustic songs that touch upon a little bit of everything. Alcoholism? Check out the deceptively winsome "Sweet Lucinda." The tremulous waters of Fate's ocean? He's got that covered in "Someday I'll Be Lucky.” Lonely lovers being lonely and unloved? "Chinaski," aisle five.

Strand's guitar playing is clever, quick and contains chord changes that would make Sam Beam blush. It's the strongest aspect of his music and it's what prevents the EP from getting stale. Except for a few creative studio touches, the songs rarely use anything else besides guitar and vocals. On any acoustic work, that's the biggest deal an artist must work out, but for Strand it's particularly important because he lacks pipes. There's not too much range or strength in his voice that allows the songs to be as good as they deserve. It's especially annoying because Strand is a confident lyricist; I think it's a no-no for a review to mention a song twice, but "Sweet Lucinda" is the best example of his writing, with creative imagery, metaphor and diction and all of that. I'm never very good at ending these things so I'll just say there's a song on here called "Premonitions (Jungian Heavy Metal)" and leave it at that. - The Equal Ground

"Someday I'll Be Lucky"

I was very lucky to stumble across Chris Strand from Austin, Texas, and his first release “roots” last week. After reading this review, checking him out, and spending a few moments listening to some of his music, you will be glad too. I reached out to Chris to pick a song for this review – when I have two or three favorites sometimes it is almost impossible to decide.

Chris asked me to look at “Someday I’ll Be Lucky” which is a great showcase for his talent. The song has a strong acoustic guitar sound with clear, vibrating notes. The vocals really have a folksy and slightly rock-a-billy sound and add conviction to the music and story of the song. Not being recorded in a high tech studio and lacking auto tune and other technological advances only highlights Chris’ talent and abilities.

The song while seeming upbeat have a dark undercurrent with it’s lyrics. It evokes some vivid images and thoughts. You can feel the mood with mentions of a “dark sun shining down on us” and really through most of the song. Chris is really going to stand out based upon his use of allegory alone. This is truly like a modern day parable written into a song, and it is totally unexpected.

I really can’t sum things up better than what is listed as his Bio:



Roots EP

Settle Down

Tonight's Just Begun out in April



Emerging from a Midwestern tundra and the drizzle of the Pacific Northwest, Chris Strand now writes songs about living and all it entails. Borrowing from songwriters ranging from early Bob Dylan and The Tallest Man on Earth to Tom Waits, David Bazan, and The National, his music is often described as poetic yet energetic and subtly technical. Live, he plays like a man possessed, singing himself raw and losing himself in performances that silence the noisiest of venues.

Having played music throughout his teen years in punk bands, Chris decided to pursue a career in writing and literature after his last band ended. This pursuit let him to Portland, Oregon where a chance meeting brought him back to music and songwriting. After months of instability and debauchery, he left Portland and began a rough year of uncertainly that eventually led him to Austin, TX and inspired the bulk of his debut EP, Roots. Two years later, he released his first full length album, Settle Down, in which he branched out as a songwriter and incorporated lush and driving instrumentation to flesh out his maturing sound. For it, he worked alongside members of such bands as The Heartless Bastards, Lloyd Maines, Robert Earl Keen, The Gourds, Shinyribs, The New Bohemians, and 20/20.

Now, he and his band, The Sinners, are preparing to release their new EP, Tonight's Just Begun. For this album, Chris Strand and the Sinners tracked much of the record live as a unit and expanded their narrative-driven sound to incorporate rock n' roll, soul, and a horn section or two. They plan to release the EP in April and a single in February and March building up to the release of the EP.

Chris Strand currently lives in Austin and plays music solo and with his band, The Sinners, in the surrounding area and has played such rooms as Stubbs (Austin), Mohawk (Austin), Lambert's (Austin), One2One Bar (Austin), Cheatham Street Warehouse (San Marcos), The Living Room (NYC), The Limelight (San Antonio), Neutral Grounds (New Orleans), and Latitude 44 (Sioux Falls) .

Band Members