Chris Merritt
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Chris Merritt

Provo, Utah, United States | INDIE

Provo, Utah, United States | INDIE
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Dec
06
Chris Merritt @ The Star Bar

Park City, Utah, USA

Park City, Utah, USA

Nov
14
Chris Merritt @ Coal Creek Coffee

Laramie, Wyoming, USA

Laramie, Wyoming, USA

Nov
12
Chris Merritt @ Rock N Soul Cafe

Boulder, Colorado, USA

Boulder, Colorado, USA

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Brian Wilson would be proud - the innocent lyrics and well-constructed harmonies will leave you breathless. "Virginia" best supports my claim. Merritt's piano-driven offerings deliver pop rock color to the 88 keys and a pile of good stories. His vocals are warm and honest - making each tune ready for listener accompaniment. Additional instrumentation - mostly drums and bass - dovetail the music in creating a more eccentric flow in song and story.

His double-duty obligation to the keys and vocals leave neither feeling unloved.

"Dance Karate" is whole different animal. The verse is straightforward, but once the chorus hits - look out. It jams with 70's Bee Gee's style (minus the falsetto) with excitement and groove. This song completely caught me off guard. The vocal mutations, organ and synth jams with Atari "punch" samples really make this a tune for dancing. - More In The Monitors


It's a sad thing when totally sweet bands fall by the wayside, but a sweeter thing when one of the seminal members picks up the pieces and proceeds to absolutely rule. Paperface was the band (RIP), but lead singer/pianist/vocalist Chris Merritt is the MAN. He oozes pop songwriter. He never shook hands with a melody that wasn't beautiful. His fingers dance on the keys, a melodic pas de deux, with fantastic results. - linesthroughlines


One of the best albums I have had the chance to listen to in 2007 bar far has been Chris Merritt’s debut release “Hello Little Captain.” Raging in influences from Ben Folds Five to jamiroquai, this album has been perfectly crafted to remain heavily in your ipod’s rotation. The vocal work and battle harmonies (all done in his apartment) holds Merritt two steps in front of nearly every unsigned solo artist out there, not to mention the occasional 8-bit effect and phenomenal piano playing that compliments his vocals so tastefully.

Lyrically, he has created a style that is humorous, heart felt, and beyond all…very witty. His passion for music bleeds through the entire album, and if you have a chance to see him live, it is just as impressionable. The tracks I would recommend are “Always On My Mind,” “Tower Of Sand,” “Dance Karate,” and “Time Bomb.” You can purchase the album on itunes or go directly to his site www.chrismerrittmusic.com or www.myspace.com/chrismerritt.
-Eli Roberts - LBM Music Zine


It's a sad thing when totally sweet bands fall by the wayside, but a sweeter thing when one of the seminal members picks up the pieces and proceeds to absolutely rule. Paperface was the band (RIP), but lead singer/pianist/vocalist Chris Merritt is the MAN. He oozes pop songwriter. He never shook hands with a melody that wasn't beautiful. His fingers dance on the keys, a melodic pas de deux, with fantastic results. - linesthroughlines


This is the only song I've ever heard that manages to successfully combine some of the icy, pop feel of the Junior Boys, the slow-moving tenderness of a Casiotone for the Painfully Alone track, and the melodic indie-IDM of, say, Menomena or Postal Service. Not to make this into a weird RIYL list, but 'the Facts' is a song that has a lot going on in it: clean, confidently-struck piano chords (with an organ hiding somewhere there in the background), deep heart-restarting beats, fluttering percussive clicks, and excellent double-tracked vocals (which get all smeared out and distorted at the end of the song- so nice). Check out the moment when the beats drop out entirely and it's just piano + 'I don't play country music anyway'. Hot.

The chorus is a sweetly cynical trick, alternating between 'life ain't always beautiful' and 'life can't always be beautiful'. It's got a nice school-of-hard-knocks feel to it, like a message from the older one-half of a December-May romance to the younger half. - Molars


As an artist, making a double-album takes balls. A double-album is an auditory finger to anyone who was even thinking about taking just a cursory listen. At the same time, it's an artistic risk on par with the dreaded "concept album". If you can't deliver the goods, you're going down like the Hindenburg.

Chris Merritt knows these things and he probably doesn't care. He knows he's got it. He knows he's going to lead off both discs with five-fingered-fists-of-melodic-fury and you'll be on the ropes. TKO, baby.

Listening to Pixie and the Bear, it's like sitting in the den watching 8mm's of the last 15 years of Chris' life. He names names. He tells you like it is. In the first line of the record, he's gonna "drive up north to get some." Einstein, Hawking, and Dawkins meant a lot to him. His thoughts on L4YER CAKE: "The movie's gnarly, but I'm retarded. The drugs they're taking is how I'm feeling." It's all here, all heart and introspection, laid down amidst a myriad of Beach Boys-esque harmonies, 8-bit Nintendo samples, classical piano, and the talented assistance of bassist Dustin Hofheins and drummer Tim Fellow. This is musical non-fiction.

This album is exactly as it should be. Beautiful ballads tumble into sweeping dynamic epics which saunter into glitchy, bitcrushing hip-shakers. It has the unchained personality of early Ben Folds, censors be damned. And while that comparison is inevitable, Chris's quality songwriting output is staggering in its own right. This record is nothing other than Chris Merritt, at his best, his ivory keys unlocking doors you never knew existed. - linesthroughlines


This is the only song I've ever heard that manages to successfully combine some of the icy, pop feel of the Junior Boys, the slow-moving tenderness of a Casiotone for the Painfully Alone track, and the melodic indie-IDM of, say, Menomena or Postal Service. Not to make this into a weird RIYL list, but 'the Facts' is a song that has a lot going on in it: clean, confidently-struck piano chords (with an organ hiding somewhere there in the background), deep heart-restarting beats, fluttering percussive clicks, and excellent double-tracked vocals (which get all smeared out and distorted at the end of the song- so nice). Check out the moment when the beats drop out entirely and it's just piano + 'I don't play country music anyway'. Hot.

The chorus is a sweetly cynical trick, alternating between 'life ain't always beautiful' and 'life can't always be beautiful'. It's got a nice school-of-hard-knocks feel to it, like a message from the older one-half of a December-May romance to the younger half. - Molars


It’s always nice to hear a local album with production value rivaling any major record label release. Often, a double-disc CD requires skipping through filler tracks to find the good stuff, but Pixie and the Bear just needs to be played—and played. Chris Merritt’s pipes bear a faint similarity to Chris Martin’s, minus the Coldplay front man’s dead-behind-the-eyes lyrics. His somber approach to love and relationships grow from heavyhearted, to joy in the wake of breaking up. On “Be Found,” a gem on the Bear, Chris sings, “You’re thinking of the worst thing to say/You’re waiting for the worst time to say it,” in the tale of a lady who’s kvetching is justified because she’s so breathtaking. This album could easily replace the tunes currently being played in coffee houses and Cold Stones throughout the state.
-Circus Brown - Salt Lake City Weekly


The odds are not in favour of Chris Merritt. There are enough whimsical singer-you-know-whats, with or without pianos, and one Ben Folds is surely enough for the planet, even if you love him. Besides, Chris seems to have a lot of catching up to do. There he is on Youtube, playing a badly-miked gig in what looks like the corner of someone's living room, bathed in this appalling purple light. Only later on do we realise that's a real live drummer next to him, rather than a cupboard or a sculpture made from pizza boxes. And there we might leave him, except he's playing a song called 'Tower of Sand', and the song is a gorgeous, agile thing, worthy of Randy Newman in a good mood. Listening to 'Tower of Sand' - again, and again and again - on CD, letting the words and arpeggios dance up and down your mind, you wonder how anyone could not need this music in their life.

With that done, he can flip to something as utterly different as 'Virginia', which is as sepulchral and lonely as Counting Crows can still be when they locate the muse. He's covering a lot of ground here - the voice and words like an arm around your shoulder in 'Tower of Sand', cajoling, raising a smile against the odds; and in 'Virginia', conveying darkness, apprehension and an awful lot of echoing space out there in the West. "There ain't nobody there. and there ain't nobody here", he repeats mournfully, as if singing out across the fields after dusk, the sound of his own voice the only company or comfort.

Those are the two peaks of Hello, Little Captain, Chris Merritt's first, self-released LP. The rest of the album proves a number of things:

Chris certainly can sing, and has a winning way with a melody. When he's not being absurdly poetic or evocative, he also has a nicely conversational lyric style.

He is decidedly diverse. He may write more piano-driven lyrical beauties than anything else, but is happy to drop these at a moment's notice and turn out a 'Beowulf' or 'Dance Karate' - respectively a multi-sectioned suite based on that old poem, and a squelchy, novel(ty?) 80s hip-grinder. I'm not actually sure I like either of these, but they show a joy in experimentation. He's actually probably a progger at heart.

He also knows how to pace an album. 'Tower of Sand' and 'Virginia' are tracks 3 and 4, but the last four of the twelve songs are strong. 'Off and On' in particular comes closest to marrying the playfulness and pain in those two landmark songs.

At the moment it seems only people in parts of America and - somehow - Japan are very much aware of Chris. This album has already been out for two years, and like any worthwhile young singer-songwriter, he's so creatively fecund that there are already a lot more songs out there and another LP in the pipeline. When he does make it over here, myself and my friend Emma, who deserves at least an MBE for alerting me to this guy, will be at his very first gig, even if it's in a living room in Mull. I strongly suggest you join us. Chris Merritt is most probably some kind of genius.

Stuart M - The-Mag


The odds are not in favour of Chris Merritt. There are enough whimsical singer-you-know-whats, with or without pianos, and one Ben Folds is surely enough for the planet, even if you love him. Besides, Chris seems to have a lot of catching up to do. There he is on Youtube, playing a badly-miked gig in what looks like the corner of someone's living room, bathed in this appalling purple light. Only later on do we realise that's a real live drummer next to him, rather than a cupboard or a sculpture made from pizza boxes. And there we might leave him, except he's playing a song called 'Tower of Sand', and the song is a gorgeous, agile thing, worthy of Randy Newman in a good mood. Listening to 'Tower of Sand' - again, and again and again - on CD, letting the words and arpeggios dance up and down your mind, you wonder how anyone could not need this music in their life.

With that done, he can flip to something as utterly different as 'Virginia', which is as sepulchral and lonely as Counting Crows can still be when they locate the muse. He's covering a lot of ground here - the voice and words like an arm around your shoulder in 'Tower of Sand', cajoling, raising a smile against the odds; and in 'Virginia', conveying darkness, apprehension and an awful lot of echoing space out there in the West. "There ain't nobody there. and there ain't nobody here", he repeats mournfully, as if singing out across the fields after dusk, the sound of his own voice the only company or comfort.

Those are the two peaks of Hello, Little Captain, Chris Merritt's first, self-released LP. The rest of the album proves a number of things:

Chris certainly can sing, and has a winning way with a melody. When he's not being absurdly poetic or evocative, he also has a nicely conversational lyric style.

He is decidedly diverse. He may write more piano-driven lyrical beauties than anything else, but is happy to drop these at a moment's notice and turn out a 'Beowulf' or 'Dance Karate' - respectively a multi-sectioned suite based on that old poem, and a squelchy, novel(ty?) 80s hip-grinder. I'm not actually sure I like either of these, but they show a joy in experimentation. He's actually probably a progger at heart.

He also knows how to pace an album. 'Tower of Sand' and 'Virginia' are tracks 3 and 4, but the last four of the twelve songs are strong. 'Off and On' in particular comes closest to marrying the playfulness and pain in those two landmark songs.

At the moment it seems only people in parts of America and - somehow - Japan are very much aware of Chris. This album has already been out for two years, and like any worthwhile young singer-songwriter, he's so creatively fecund that there are already a lot more songs out there and another LP in the pipeline. When he does make it over here, myself and my friend Emma, who deserves at least an MBE for alerting me to this guy, will be at his very first gig, even if it's in a living room in Mull. I strongly suggest you join us. Chris Merritt is most probably some kind of genius.

Stuart M - The-Mag


There is something particularly festive about the music of Chris Merritt. The songs are short narratives about parties, relationships and the woes of being a young adult male. It is obvious that Merritt is classically trained, but unlike Ben Folds, is a little less street corner and a little more Carnegie Hall. I wanted to hate this album because the use of the piano seems so cliche; but the songwriting is incredibly solid and the recording is very professional. The songs get a little emo at times, but aren't we all a little emo? Maybe not, but Merritt seems very true to himself and very confident in his abilities as a songwriter. -Art Glassett - SLUG Magazine


There is something particularly festive about the music of Chris Merritt. The songs are short narratives about parties, relationships and the woes of being a young adult male. It is obvious that Merritt is classically trained, but unlike Ben Folds, is a little less street corner and a little more Carnegie Hall. I wanted to hate this album because the use of the piano seems so cliche; but the songwriting is incredibly solid and the recording is very professional. The songs get a little emo at times, but aren't we all a little emo? Maybe not, but Merritt seems very true to himself and very confident in his abilities as a songwriter. -Art Glassett - SLUG Magazine


This wonderful, keyboard-driven album riveted me in its spell from the first track to that last “secret track”… Oops. Sorry. Didn’t mean to let the cat out of the bag.

If I tried to narrow down what influences I think Chris gleaned from and then injected into his musical endeavors, I would be doing this work a disservice. Kind of like pigeon-holing an eagle. But, if I have to, I would say that if you enjoy 100 Days, PFR, Ben Folds, Captain Beyond, Jackson Brown, Billy Joel, Bruce Hornsby, The Beatles… you get the picture… then you will thoroughly love this album.

With 12 official tracks (13 if you count the “secret” one… oh Pooh! There I go again!) and with most tracks (except two) well over 4 minutes, it is a substantially long album, but not the least bit tedious. Merritt possesses a definite talent for cleverly turning a phrase and constructs engaging songs that are lyrically remarkable. His considerable skill at the keyboard transmits an enthusiasm for his craft that is contagious, as do the multiple musical transitions that frequent each song on the album.

The funky, disco-esque “Dance Karate” is a holdover from Chris’ former band’s album, “Paperface - The Legend of Harley Knowles”. This is definitely a fun and innovative dance track that throws me back (only somewhat against my will…) to embarrassing memories of velvet jumpsuits and platform boots, and because of my tendency to pull an “Elaine”, I’ll sit it out and just listen to this nicely refined version. Anyone who has seen the infamous “Elaine” jig will also thank me for that.

By far my personal favorite track is the ominously butt-kickin’ “Beowulf.” He updates the classic epic story in song and makes it very vivid lyrically. Almost makes the angry villager in me want to grab a pitchfork or a torch from the castle wall and join the fray.

Chris’ vocal abilities are as varied as the styles his music implies. This versatility especially shows itself in “Beowulf” where his range is showcased quite beautifully. While his relaxed vocals aren’t as spit-polished as someone who may have a more commercial production, I couldn’t think of one thing I would want to tweak on this album. Chris’ fantastic and intricate background harmonies also grace the whole of the album, and his voice snugly fits the vibe and attitude of the album like the proverbial glove.

Hello, Little Captain is a memorable album and great fun from beginning to end. In fact, you may want to hit the play button again after the first play… and the second… and the third…
-Mita Pogue
- buddyhollywood.com


This wonderful, keyboard-driven album riveted me in its spell from the first track to that last “secret track”… Oops. Sorry. Didn’t mean to let the cat out of the bag.

If I tried to narrow down what influences I think Chris gleaned from and then injected into his musical endeavors, I would be doing this work a disservice. Kind of like pigeon-holing an eagle. But, if I have to, I would say that if you enjoy 100 Days, PFR, Ben Folds, Captain Beyond, Jackson Brown, Billy Joel, Bruce Hornsby, The Beatles… you get the picture… then you will thoroughly love this album.

With 12 official tracks (13 if you count the “secret” one… oh Pooh! There I go again!) and with most tracks (except two) well over 4 minutes, it is a substantially long album, but not the least bit tedious. Merritt possesses a definite talent for cleverly turning a phrase and constructs engaging songs that are lyrically remarkable. His considerable skill at the keyboard transmits an enthusiasm for his craft that is contagious, as do the multiple musical transitions that frequent each song on the album.

The funky, disco-esque “Dance Karate” is a holdover from Chris’ former band’s album, “Paperface - The Legend of Harley Knowles”. This is definitely a fun and innovative dance track that throws me back (only somewhat against my will…) to embarrassing memories of velvet jumpsuits and platform boots, and because of my tendency to pull an “Elaine”, I’ll sit it out and just listen to this nicely refined version. Anyone who has seen the infamous “Elaine” jig will also thank me for that.

By far my personal favorite track is the ominously butt-kickin’ “Beowulf.” He updates the classic epic story in song and makes it very vivid lyrically. Almost makes the angry villager in me want to grab a pitchfork or a torch from the castle wall and join the fray.

Chris’ vocal abilities are as varied as the styles his music implies. This versatility especially shows itself in “Beowulf” where his range is showcased quite beautifully. While his relaxed vocals aren’t as spit-polished as someone who may have a more commercial production, I couldn’t think of one thing I would want to tweak on this album. Chris’ fantastic and intricate background harmonies also grace the whole of the album, and his voice snugly fits the vibe and attitude of the album like the proverbial glove.

Hello, Little Captain is a memorable album and great fun from beginning to end. In fact, you may want to hit the play button again after the first play… and the second… and the third…
-Mita Pogue
- buddyhollywood.com


Discography

2008 - Chris Merritt - Pixie and the Bear
Self Release

2007 - Chris Merritt - Hello, Little Captain
Self Release

2006 - Upperville - EP
Self Release

2005 - Paperface - The Legend of Harley Knowles
Takeover Records Release

2004 - Paperface - The Legend of Harley Knowles
Self Release

2003 - Paperface - Rock, Scissors
Self Release

2001 - Paperface - Jimmy's Bad Day with Chicken
No Official Release

2000 - Paperface - Thawed for Your Convenience
Self Release

Photos

Bio

"Chris never shook hands with a melody that wasn't beautiful. His fingers dance on the keys, a melodic pas de deux, with fantastic results." -linesthroughlines

Chris and band have toured throughout the nation over the past year hitting both the East and West coasts. They recently headlined a 10-show tour to Japan and opened for Ben Folds in Salt Lake City. Merritt released his latest album, "Pixie and the Bear" on June 21, 2008.