Chrisopher blue
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Chrisopher blue

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ROOM TONES (Sarathan)
The scenic route is often the road less travelled, but just as often, a man just needs to get where he's gong, physically and emotionally. Chris Blue's Roomtones is a record made after taking that long way home. The standout track on this complex 13-chapter story is "These Thoughts," a wonderfully crafted song pairing Blue's Jimmy-Gnecco/Jeff-Buckley-flavored vocal brilliance and a searing guitar. However, most of Blue's vocals recall the once very popular Dave Matthews, especially on "Good Time Baby," "After All I've Heard You Say," and "Ghost in the Night." "Equanimity" is Roomtones' hidden gem, perfectly balancing Blue's vocal diversity with his wonderful knack for layering guitar and spinning a compelling yarn.
CHRIS WARD - Seattle Sound Magazine


Christopher Blue has seen his fair share of fire and rain. From the breakup of his band The Sensation Junkies, to the demise of a highly touted project with ex-Guns ‘n’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan, to doing time in the slammer and a few other assorted curveballs that are the stuff of rock and roll legend, Blue has a right to sing the blues. Fortunately, his troubles make for great songs. Much like the world-weary ruminations of Tom Waits and Mark Lanegan, Blue’s boozesoaked narratives get to the heart of the matter from the first downbeat. “Such Love”, a sloppy shuffle punctuated with chipper countermelodies rendered on vibes portrays the singer at his most desperate, as he slurs his vocal lines whilst walking along the train-tracks hand-in-hand with his equally doomed lover. A nod to Jeff Buckley’s legato vocal phrasing in “These Thoughts” is most reverential as is the intimacy of “Disquietude”, wherein the listener can practically hear Blue’s whiskers rubbing up against the mic. Who says nobody loves you when you're down and out?
~Tom Semioli - Amplifier Magazine


Chrisopher Blue
Tangier, Los Angeles, CA - 05.25.07
Filter Grade: 86%
by Stephen Barr | 05.30.2007

May seems to be perfectly suited for rare occurrences.

In some sort of weird cosmic coincidence, not only will there be two full moons this month (a phenomenon commonly known as a “blue moon”) but troubled troubadour Chrisopher Blue made the trek down to Los Angeles last Friday for one lone performance, a stripped-down set of bittersweet ballads pulled from his debut full-length album room tones and spiked with some absolutely inspired new compositions.

This particular blue moon was shining down upon Tangier, a cozy restaurant & bar decked out in red lights and red curtains, playing host to a small crowd in a small room waiting to hear Chrisopher’s big voice. Blue was flanked by his longtime collaborator/producer D.C. Cooper on upright bass and an undeniably cool percussionist slapping his snare and splashing his cymbal with bare hands and a funny hat. The trio surreptitiously transitioned from sound check to opening number and by the end of the first song, the musical chemistry on stage was humming along rather nicely.

Not only were album tracks like the melancholy “Such Love” infused with a simple, seductive intimacy, but the idiosyncratic singer revealed a real knack for storytelling, introducing each song with terse but tear-wrenching anecdotes, swallowing some mystery-amount of sadness before launching into a number about the love of his life (who happens to be in Ecuador instead of here with him in California).

Blue’s voice was cracked with cigarette smoke and sleepless nights, but it completely saturated the tiny Tangier stage, and most of the songs he played that night had a moment or two of spine-tingling perfection, courtesy of his belted, possessed vocals. Chrisopher put down his guitar for a brief spell and D.C. Cooper's fret-work helped lullaby-ize one of the songs off room tones, then the partnership launched into what I considered to be the highlight of the night, a new number by the name of “As I Lay in the Warmth of Another.” Cooper switched back and forth between plucking his bass and bowing it, and Chrisopher sang over an emotional mess of chords, spinning a yarn about yearning and fleeting satisfaction. He let the last few words of the song sink into the crowd, and I was so intrigued I had to shout out, “What’s that called!?” He answered promptly.

In fact, even though Chrisopher hasn’t played in Los Angeles for months and months, the whole performance felt very prompt. I got the feeling that everything that’s happened to Blue since his last appearance came out in the songs, punched through the melodies and made its presence known, right on time. His heart wasn’t so much on his sleeve as it was beating on the bottom of the floor, and for the sake of the singer’s well-being, something like that should only happen once in a blue moon.

Check out a snippet of the closing number below…

http://grouper.com/video/MediaDetails.aspx?id=1884790&vt=1 - Filter Online


With how difficult Chrisopher Blue’s life has been for the past few years, it’s amazing that his new album Room Tones is as upbeat as it is. This tortured soul has endured homelessness, evil labels, and a run-in with the law, but has come up with a CD that sounds like it was less inspired by these events, and more inspired by the sounds that emanate from a jazzy drum setup.

Blue’s voice is a little like Luke Doucet’s, except smokier and lower, with a few more hums added in for good measure. He sounds like he’s been through it all and come out the other side a little worse for the wear, but happy to have gone on the journey.

Many of his lyrics seem to be about women who have tortured him, in every sense of the word. “I wish you would stay, but you’re the one who got away,” and “After all I’ve heard you say, after all I’ve heard you do, what am I supposed to think, what am I supposed to do?” give us a sense of a man who really is trying to understand—but isn’t getting any help from the ‘fairer’ sex. Perhaps it’s the syntax of his sentences, or the gentle way in which he sings them, but everything comes out sounding just so honest, so honest it hurts. Saying words like “I’ve never known such love,” is never easy; saying it on an album that will be distributed is, I’m sure, worse. But he seems to weather it.

Room Tones is very full of drums, as I said before. The brush drum is an oft-used instrument, and it lends a certain feeling of floating through the music that Blue adds to with his lyrics. His album is a good example of how to build tension through sound, but also knows when to release that tension.

— Amber Henson - Red Alert


Sometimes listening to too many singer-songwriters in a row makes you think that singer-songwriters, as a whole, lack creativity. Singer-songwriter, acoustic guitar, mellow songwriting, pop rock: all those phrases begin to seem synonymous after a while.

Then in walks someone like Chrisopher Blue, and all I can say is, thanks! If you don't like Chrisopher Blues' style of jazz and blues-influenced rock n' roll, you have to at least give him credit for breaking up the singer-songwriter monotony.

Prior to the release of his newest album, room tones, Chrisopher Blue faced all kinds of hardships, including everything from jail time to failed bands and homelessness. But thanks to a pep talk from former Screaming Trees frontman, Mark Lanegan, Blue moved from Seattle, WA to Mendocino, CA and started over. His story is a fascinating one, and music lovers should be glad that Blue did not give up. room tones is a diverse collection of somber and joyful tales that gives the listener insightful visual snapshots into the life of Blue.

Kicking off the album is the uptempo, bluesy "Ghost in the Night," a track that sets the pace for the album and will have you swaying in your shoes. The album doesn't let up there; all of the remaining songs culiminate into a fascinating listen that never tires or wears. Tracks like "Alone" are almost waltz-like in their lullaby delivery, and one can't help but be impressed by Blue's ability to make each and every track different from one another.

Blue may not be new to the music scene, but he is new to me, and I'm stoked that I've found a new singer-songwriter that I'll be listening to time and time again. He is truly a talented musician, and I'm glad he was able to conquer his personal slump.

Reviewed by: Vivian Hua - Redefine Magazine


Discography

chrisopher blue- roomtones (sarathan april 2007)

chrisopher blue EP (sarathan records 2006)

Sensation Junkies: Once for the Money
(Sarathan Records – 2004)

Chrisopher Blue: Live
(Smelenski Pred. – DVD 2002)

Chrisopher Blue: Songs for Lovers, Loners and Losers
(kufala.com – LP 2002)
. This is chrisopher’s first solo offering. It is ‘a knot of abstract noize and americana road music’. Good to listenin’ to when you’re on the run, wandering around town drunk on over-the-counter medicine…or when it’s 3a.m and you just realized that everything you are doing with your life has nothing to do with where you want to be… The very best time to listen to this record is five minutes after your lover drives off in the moving-truck, full of everything that is theirs, yours, and yours and theirs together. Hopefully, they left you with something to listen to it on. If not, there is always the library.

Chrisopher Blue: Blue Black Hours
(damah.com – short digital film 2001)
Created, narrated and edited by Chrisopher in collaboration with Tyler Hansen. Debuted in the 2001 Damah Film Festival and selected as a top-twenty favorite.

Big Gun Project: In Capsules
(self released, LP 1999)
A DIY project that produced several recordings in 1998/1999. Chrisopher was the co-lyricist and vocalist for this angular Seattle rock band (ala Jesus Lizard/Mike Watt). The project also included Dan Schwarz (Meinfecto), Ben Larson (Meinfecto) and Sanjay Sharma (Neo). .

10 Minute Warning: Self Titled
(Sub Pop – LP 1998)
This Sub Pop recording featured Chrisopher on lead vocals with Duff McKagan (Guns ‘n Roses/Velvet Revolver), Greg Gilmore (Mother Love Bone), Paul Soldier (Green River, Mark Lanegan) and David Garrigues (Ashanga Yoga Teacher). This rock album was produced and mixed by Jack Endino (Nirvana). The band recorded and toured globally from 1996 through 1998.

Ventilator: Desert Station Frequency
(Blue Rose Records, LP 1997)
A recording project released on the London based label Blue-Rose (Olivia Tremor Control/Tim Keegan/Richard Davies). This 1997 lo-fi/Americana/noise release was Chrisopher performing and recording under the name Ventilator. Produced by John Cale (Velvet Underground).

Photos

Bio

Down and out, tired of the Seattle music scene and his place in it, Chrisopher Blue was ready to call it quits.

“I was walking around telling myself ‘I’m fucking done with this shit, I don’t want to do it anymore and was ready to stop music entirely,’” explains Chrisopher Blue.

And then there was one fateful day. Mark Lanegan doesn’t seem like a likely guardian angel. But perhaps he is. There he was, the former Screaming Trees frontman, dressed in black, sitting in a car in a 7-Eleven parking lot and waiting for a beautiful woman to buy his cigarettes. “He saw me and said ‘Chrisopher, keeping singing, man, keep doing what you’re doing.’”

A fellow Pacific Northwestern musician, Lanegan and Blue had met years prior through mutual friends but whether Lanegan could read Blue’s obviously distressed face that day or not remains unknown. However, it was those words of encouragement that kept him going.

“It’s happened a few other times as well,” Blue says. “He’ll just randomly pop up in my life.”

It’s strange to think that if it wasn’t for that chance encounter, Blue may have never created his evocative new album, room tones, years later.

The story of room tones couldn't be more incongruent: A man spends his days and nights in a shoe on wheels otherwise known as a Dodge Neon, homeless and utterly alone, writing songs as the waves crash and the miles crunch by. Yet somehow, the voice arising out of those songs is not that of a man who is lost and adrift, but one who has finally found home.

“It's almost as if these songs were written for where I am now,” says Blue of the rooted sound. “Psychologically I was in a different place than I was physically. I'm home today in my heart and my head, and the songs reflect that process. They're the stories of how I got home.”

Now based in Mendocino, California, after spending several less than successful years in Seattle, Blue's home, and for that matter, lifestyle, is the very definition of rustic. No mod cons, no cell phone reception for miles... the man lives in a geodesic dome made of trees felled from the spot, for crying out loud. (Actually, it's a historic dwelling, built in the 60’s by the grandson of Hiram Bingham IV, a diplomat who performed heroic acts during WWII and the brother of the discoverer of Machu Picchu.)

The mental image is a head-shaker, to say the least. Here's a guy who worked with John Cale and once fronted 10 Minute Warning, a raging band that among its members included Duff McKagan — fresh off the ultimate in balls-out rock and roll trips, Guns N' Roses. McKagan eventually bailed when Geffen started waving wads of cash and a solo career in his face, and Blue did what most guys in his position would have done: he got wasted and tried to put the pieces back together.

What he did put together was Sensation Junkies, which Blue ruefully describes as “a band that didn't exist.” The recordings were well received, but the label sent him on the road as a solo act. “I toured alone, playing first on bills,” says Blue laughingly, “and it was like Willie Nelson showing up to support Radiohead. I'd walk on stage, and people who came to see Sensation Junkies looked at me like 'who the hell are you?'...Well, I'm that guy! It's was a cringeworthy experience the labels like to call 'Profile Building,' he chuckles.”

Then there was that little incident in Kansas, where Blue landed himself in the clink. “It was just like in the movies,” he says. “The patrolman walked up to the van and called me 'son,' and a few minutes later I was in handcuffs. They don't like you driving around with a bunch of green stuff in the car. It seemed like a good time to move to Mendocino,” Blue recalls. “I became a vegan, and decided to take responsibility for myself and my health. No one else was going to take care of me.”

Statements like that are what inform room tones with its poetic sense of painful lessons finally learned. Track after track play out like a journey, and each is a story rich with cinematic imagery. Whether Blue is walking down railroad tracks thinking about what was and what could be (“Such Love”), looking for simplicity by “Turning out the lights and letting the wheels spin” (“Equanimity”), or seeing things in front of his face for the first time (“Alone”), everything he's saying can be seen as well as heard. Lyrics play out against sparse piano, drums, and guitar effects that unfurl gloriously despite their resigned melancholy.

Although Blue may be happier now than in the past, room tones is far from a joyful sounding record. It is filled with paranoia, narcissism, remorse and ruminations on the human condition and man’s place in the world. “It’s mellow but agitated,” Blue asserts. “It’s still an unsettled record.”

For instance, although love is a common thread on the album, he focuses on the regrets. “A lot of the lyrics are about squandering relationships with beautiful women,” Blue reveals. “It’s about my inability to love witho