Chris Volpe
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Chris Volpe

Cleveland, Ohio, United States

Cleveland, Ohio, United States
Folk Country

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""Lyrically it's ingenious and a terrific read if you want to spend some time glimpsing behind someone else's eyes. Pick it up!""

Chris Volpe — Refugee Blues Buy it from InSound
San Franscisco’s singer/songwriter Chris Volpe pours his whole lot of emotions into each of his songs. The fingerpicking guitar portions breathes an air of Americana folk into “Refugee Blues”. He reminds me a bit of early Curt Porter. Lyrically it’s ingenious and a terrific read if you want to spend some time glimpsing behind someone else’s eyes. Pick it up. - J. Sin - smother.net


""With his sound arrives the first train back to spirit in music!""

Singer/Songwriter strums through
Saint Mary's. Chris Volpe points students in right musical direction.

On October 11th, General Manager of KSMC, Kelly Rubert, delivered the second installment of the Campfire Series starring Chris Volpe.

The San Francisco-based Volpe broke in a guitar he purchased the prior Saturday at the show. By the first chorus of the first song, the audience was well aware of why he won the Independent Music Award for Best Album by a Singer-Songwriter for 2006. While Volpe admitted he was not a fan of set lists, the set progressed as if it was overly rehearsed. He played his guitar across his knee, bent like he was listening to his guitar guide him through his own mind.

Extensive instrumental portions of his songs allowed a smirk to emerge from behind his harmonica. He commented on the seven harmonicas he has accumulated over the years: "Write a song with one, got to keep it forever." The presence of the harmonica never deterred from his aggressive guitar picking.

As a performer, he allows his instrument to shine over his voice. Conversely, he performs never forgetting that his voice is an instrument. Never does he neglect his lyrics to focus on his fast pased picking. After performing his deeply personal Ashtray Memories, Volpe let out a breath of fresh air by saying, "I must confess that's an awful lot of fun for me to perform." The laughter of the crowd and Volpe continued through song breaks as stories were exchanged.

He introduced a "new and favorite song" entitled Speaking Sounds. The song began with the strong strum of Spanish influence before going to his progressive folk style. The chords suddenly seemed heavy. Capable of playing the piano, bass, and drums among other instruments, Volpe knows his craft and does not shy away from influences. Other songs had hints of blues, while others still that of Paul Simon, but all were distincly his own.

His storytelling ability took center stage along with his versatility as he played a new song on the banjo. The song weaved together nautical imagery with a narrative that involved Frederick Douglas and Harriet Tubman. It ended with a conversation between Charles Bukowski and Helen Keller. The complexity of the song indicates his time at Kent State was well spent. By the end of his set, the audience was well aware of why the event is entitled the Campfire Series. It is intimate and colorful. The blending of songs from Volpe's album and new songs provided a strong insight to what loving music is about.

The album Refugee Blues can only come from the places where Volpe has traveled. Volpe made the record in its purest form-in two hours. He won limited studio time in a songwriting contest, which is not unfamiliar ground for Volpe. The physical and emotional displacement that attaches itself to youth presents itself with a sharp sense of maturity on the fifteen track album. Volpe possesses an intricate lyrical arsenal. He has the sensibilities of a poet; the ability to tell stories in metaphors. At every turn, it is apparent he challenges himself musically, which is no surprise considering his is a self-taught musician. Perhaps the honesty found on Refugee Blues can only come from writing songs in New York subway stations as he did.

Volpe's voyage through Americana relays to listeners a sense of honety found in coffee shops, but with a sound ready for the masses. With his sound arrives the first train back to spirit in music.

--Danny Acosta - Saint Mary's College, Berkeley, CA


""The musicianship on the album is obviously incredible.""

I appreciate receiving your album. This might have been the best way to start off a Monday that I've heard of. This is the kind of music I wish artists would send to me specifically on Monday's. It was just fantastic! The musicianship on the album is obviously incredible. It was also really great for me to listen to someone who clearly knows what he's doing, both musically and lyrically. Whenever someone sends me their album, I put it in my computer and hope it isn't terrible. On a few occasions (this being one of them), I put in the CD and listen to about half of a song until I realize that I have nothing to worry about. And that my friend is a great feeling.

While listening to "Refugee Blues" I could really hear your influences through the music, but I couldn't put my finger on exactly who vocally and lyrically you're reminiscent of. That's really great for the listener though, because it sounds to me like you've blended a lot of great influences enough that it's your own, and then lyrically you're in your own category. I found that like other great song writers, most of your songs have really powerful lyrics, and then every so often you throw in a lyric that blows the listeners mind. An example of this is on "Your Little Toy" towards the beginning of the song you sing "We could play the hot potato blues", which may not stand out to you, but it seems that throughout your entire album you have these little shining golden snippets in the form of incredible lyrics. I'm really enjoying this record! - Shut Eye Records


""Bay Area Songwriter Chris Volpe's Transient Folk Music Shines!""

Chris Volpe is a San Franciscan singer-songwriter whose introspective writing delves into his personal experiences with feeling like a "refugee" in his own country.

As Volpe sings, "I roam alone and restless, a ghost through the alleyways," he reflects on his encounters after "giving up everyone and everything" to move to New York City, a rite of passage for many musicians and artists. There is a haunting sense of loneliness to Volpe's songs as he thoughtfully explores the vast American landscape.

Volpe is earning recognition for his self-taught, self-made and self-released music. He recently won an Independent Music Award for Best Folk Singer of 2006 in a competition judged by the likes of Norah Jones, Melissa Etheridge and Bill Wyman.

The featured track on Volpe’s Refugee Blues is "Shoes." - NPR.org Open Mic


""If you are a fan of thought-provoking lyrics and acoustic guitar play, then pick up Chris Volpe's "Refugee Blues," you'll be glad you did!""

- An acoustic guitar lovers’ delight describes Chris Volpe’s “Refugee Blues.” While many of the songs sound the same, the lyrics discern each track with their uniqueness and double meanings, making this album a must-have. “Shoes,” is a ballad about hiding from one’s misfortunes with lines like, “I’m runnin’ madly. I don’t really know from what. I’ve been livin’ my whole life like some phrase trapped at the tip of my tongue. Don’t really know how to say it, it's always just out of reach, stay locked away in my larynx along with my freedom of speech.”

“Wait ‘Til Tomorrow,” is faster and has more of a country flow with lines like, “I’ve seen enough, it’s been long and cold. We all have our breakin’ point.” “1849 Revisited,” is a unique title for a song and its lyrics speak about interpretation with lines like, “Always look the other way, they’ll tell you, of course what other means is yours to prove….in proclamations meant to guide my move.” Volpe’s somber voice lends a deep understanding to his lyrics and the assumption that they have a hidden meaning behind them. If you are a fan of thought-provoking lyrics and acoustic guitar play, then pick up Chris Volpe’s “Refugee Blues,” you will be glad you did.

Reviewer: Sari N. Kent
- CelebrityCafe


""....all with poetic musings and a voice that would make the likes of Paul Simon proud!""

"I’m running blindly, I don’t really know from what
I’ve been living my whole life like some phrase at the tip of my tongue"

* Chris Volpe, "Shoes" from the "Refugee Blues" cd

It's been a banner year for Chris Volpe, the self-taught Sanfrancisco-based singer, songwriter and guitarist. Following the release of his self-produced cd "Refugee Blues", Volpe has won the Best Album/Folk-Singer-Songwriter in the 2006 at the Independent Music Awards, the Best Singer/Songwriter 2006 at London's international Singer-Songwriter Awards, and honorable mentions from both the John Lennon and Billboard's songwriting contests.

As he reveals on MySpace page, it has not been an easy road to success. With "Refugee Blues," Volpe explores his rites of passage as a struggling artist in New York City ("Jersey Sun"), his lonliness on the road while touring ("Refugee _Blues"), and his own self-reflection ("Shoes"), all with poetic musings and a voice that would make the likes of Paul Simon proud.

Check out the Leo Kottke-finger picking "Shoes" and Dylan-inspired lyrics, and more of his work at MySpace and take a test drive yourself. You won't be disappointed.


- BeatKing


""The first five tracks are intense and romantic Americana of the highest quality!""

This is a very unsuitable album to be sent to me. No guitar histrionics, no shouting and no indie! One musical reference point I have is from 60's folk music such as Bob Dylan, especially the harmonica playing. The picking guitar style is one I know from English Folk and I am very envious of what Chris can do on the guitar. The songwriting and musicianship is excellent-he did recently win the We Are Listening's 2006 Singer/Songwriter award. I am not big on Folk normally, but there are some songs when Chris Volpe comes into the same league as Elliot Smith and Josh Ritter (and that is my area). The first 5 tracks from "Shoes to "Where the Rubber Meets the Road" are intense and romantic Americana of the highest quality. I would say we have a man who can evoke pictures of emotions of a gentle and intelligent American dream.
-Dave Home - coolnoise.co.uk


"After hearing this, all I can say is long live the finger picker!"

Chris Volpe was either so confident or so broke that he headed into the studio and recorded Refugee Blues in one take, something few musicians would attempt these days. Lucky for him, he's good enough to pull it off and in fact pulls it off beautifully. With a fine voice, a harmonica straight off of the streets of 60s Greenwich Village and a finger picking style which blends extremely well with his songs, he lays out no less than fifteen originals, some ghosting the days on Bleecker and MacDougall, some echoing the cult days of John Fahey and Leo Kottke and all with a signature which is quickly marking Volpe a performer to watch.

If anything sets Volpe apart from his folk contemporaries, it is his ability to weave voice and guitar into a larger whole. While lulling you with effortless vocals, he finger picks his way around the melody until the guitar becomes much more than an instrument of chord progressions. Only later are you aware that the songs reverberating in your head rely on those picked notes which at first seemed like mere accompaniment. Call it an epiphany. Listen enough and you'll get there, I guarantee.

While all songs on the CD are worthy of mention, a few stand out: Shoes for its fine vocal performance and unique picking; The Bandwagon Farm for its eerie feel reminiscent of the psych/folk scene of the late 60s and early 70s; Wait 'til Tomorrow because it's just a damn fine tune; Where the Rubber Meets the Road because it steps out a bit further than others of its ilk.

Envision the street folkie, harmonica held by that strange contraption around the neck, fingers dancing spiderlike along the neck, voice not unlike that of Randy Burns and Tom Rush and a handful of others but better able to carry a tune. That is Chris Volpe. If that sounds like where your ears are, you will most certainly hear this. In fact, I'd lost my Randy Burns ESP-disk albums until just shortly before receiving this. Refugee Blues brings back some great memories while creating some of its own.

After hearing this, all I can say is long live the finger picker.
- Frank Gutch Jr.-Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange


""Given the way the album sounds, it's amazing when one considers the fact that all fifteen tracks were recorded in one take!""

Chris Volpe is a promising San Francisco-based singer-songwriter whose music draws obvious comparisons to the likes of Dylan, Drake and Paul Simon. His 2005 self-release Refugee Blues had already garnered plenty of attention when it was recently named the Independent Music Awards 2006 Folk Album of the Year, an honor that has in the past been bestowed upon the likes of Chris Whitley, among others. Given the way the album sounds, it's amazing when one considers the fact that all fifteen tracks were recorded in one take, nor were there any overdubs. One gets the feeling that the young Volpe is just getting started. - Jeremy Petersen of KISU 91.1 FM "In House" Radio Show


""While the fingerpicking of this self-taught virtuoso often draws comparison to the legendary guitarist, it is his lyricism that sets Volpe apart!""

One listen to Refugee Blues and you'll realize Chris Volpe is not your mother's Leo Kottke. While the fingerpicking of this self-taught virtuoso often draws comparison to the legendary guitarist, it is his lyricism that sets Volpe apart. Accolades from the West Coast Songwriting Association attest to the fact that Volpe and Refugee Blues perfectly invoke the feelings of alienation and desperation arguably intrinsic to living in modern-day America. - San Francisco Bay Guardian


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Bio

** 2013 1st RUNNER-UP!! **
---International Acoustic Music Awards
---Best Folk/Roots Song: "World Isn't Worth It"

** 2012 IMA NOMINEE!! **
---Protest Song of the Year: "Ain't No Politician"

** 'Up, Up, & Awry' RELEASED Nov. 2012 !! **
---Featuring Alex DePue on fiddle
with Bill Sanders on Percussion
---Recorded LIVE in the studio!

Chris Volpe is an American songwriter, singer, guitarist, and recording artist. After backpacking around Europe, Volpe spent a year honing his songwriting in the New York City subways and in clubs like the Sidewalk Cafe, before hopping a one way cross country train to San Diego, CA. Eventually landing in San Francisco, he recorded 15 songs in 3 hours, after winning studio time at an open mic contest. The album, Refugee Blues, won numerous world wide contests, including Singer Songwriter Album of the Year at the Independent Music Awards in 2006, and London's "We are Listening" Singer/Songwriter Award. Several avenues opened up, and Volpe followed one to Nashville, TN.

After moving to Nashville in 2007 to explore the country songwriting world, Volpe quickly changed course and found inspiration in the embedded bluegrass world and burgeoning indie rock scene. Volpe has shared the stage with the likes of Jakob Dylan, Gillian Welch, Levon Helm, Del McCoury, Conor Oberst, and Steve Earle, and has recorded, performed, and collaborated with many other legendary instrumentalists and songwriters. He has appeared at the Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion, Louisville’s Forecastle Festival, and WSM’s Bluegrass Underground series, as well as a performance during the inaugural season of Nashville's popular Music City Roots series.

His most recent album Shipwrecked!, a commanding folk- meets-50s-Blue-Note collection of recorded songs, is according to Volpe "an experiment with the finest sounds human beings can make". On the record, Volpe worked with Bob Dylan’s band mate Donnie Herron, legendary percussionist Kenny Malone (Johnny Cash, Tom Waits), 3-time Grammy winning jazz musician Jeff Coffin (Flecktones, Dave Matthews), and bassist/cellist Bryn Davies (Patti Griffin, Tony Rice). In addition, the performances were recorded by acclaimed bluegrass engineer Phil Harris, who received Grammy praise for his work on Doc Watson's Grammy Winning instrumental album in 2006. Drawing on Bluegrass, Early Jazz, and folk traditions, Shipwrecked! has been lauded by Nashville's finest musicians and critics worldwide as a tremendous achievement, and "a breakthrough in American music". Please visit myspace.com/chrisvolpe and sonicbids.com/chrisvolpe for additional info.

AWARDS:

*2011 USA Songwriting Competition WInner--Top Ten
International Finalist Award--Best Folk Song--"Peace
of Mind (You're a Long Lost Friend)"

*2011 International Acoustic Music Awards Winner--
Top 10 Best Americana/Folk/Roots Song--"Why Did
I Change My Tune?"

*2011 International Esongwriter Competition Winner--
Top 10 Winner-- "Don't Go"

*2010 Billboard World Song Contest -Honorable
Mention Award- "Salvations Round the Bend"

*2010 Billboard World Song Contest -Honorable
Mention Award- "Dusty Bibles"

*2010 Top 3 Finalist-- Music City Song Contest-Red
Ridge Entertainment, Nashville, TN- "Don't Go"

*2009 Top 4 Finalist -Gary Allen Nashville
Songwriting Contest - "Steamroller Rain" from new
album "Shipwrecked"

*2008 International Winner of the Lyric Writer Awards
--"Shipwrecked"

*2007 Great American Song Contest-9th Annual
Lyrical-Finalist -"Dusty Bibles"

*2007 International Finalist- Song of the Year
Award--"Shoes"

*2007 International Honorable Mention- Unisong 11th
Annual Songwriting Contest-L.U.N.C.H./Local United
Network to Combat Hunger--"The Bandwagon Farm"

*2007 International Top Finalist- Unisong 11th Annual
Songwriting Contest-L.U.N.C.H./Local United
Network to Combat Hunger--"Shoes"

*2006 International Winner--Album of the Year/Singer-
Songwriter--Independent Music Awards for "Refugee
Blues"

*2006 International Winner--Singer/Songwriter
Awards--We Are Listening, Sphere Studios in South
London with Producer, Steve Williams. "Shoes"

*2006 International Best Folk Song Finalist--
John Lennon Songwriting Contest (Round I)--
"Where the Rubber Meets the Road"

*2006 International Best Folk Song Finalist--
John Lennon Songwriting Contest (Round II)--
"Shoes"

*Billboard 14th Annual World Songwriting Contest-
Honorable Mention Award-"Shoes"

*Billboard 14th Annual World Songwriting Contest-
Honorable Mention Award-"Jersey Sun"

*2006 International Finalist & Honorable Mention
Award-International USA Songwriting Competition-
"Shoes"

*2006 International Best Folk Song Honorable
Mention Award-- International Song Prize.com
winner- "Shoes"

*2006 International Songwriting Competition-
Semi-Finalist--"Albuquerque" (Instrumental)

*Winner "