Chris Wilhelm
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Chris Wilhelm

Asheville, North Carolina, United States | SELF

Asheville, North Carolina, United States | SELF
Band Folk Singer/Songwriter

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"Documents me and another Boston Musician"

Check out Alan Gray's trailer for his awesome new film, "Faster than a Fax Machine." The movie documents me and another Boston musician, check it out at grayfilms.com.
- Gray Films


"Boston Globe Article -hanging on Notes from the underground"

http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2007/03/04/hanging_on_notes_from_the_underground/?p1=MEWell_Pos1

Hanging on notes from the underground
T singer hopes for his break

By Kevin Clay, Globe Correspondent  |  March 4, 2007

An Orange Line train moves into the Downtown Crossing T Station, blowing a dollar bill through the corridor. The bill belongs to Chris Wilhelm, a 33-year-old musician who is too busy to chase after his earnings. Wilhelm is standing 15 feet away, guitar strapped on, serenading a tough-to-please audience of T riders. Its members lean against pillars and sit on benches for 10 minutes at a time, until the next train comes along.
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"It's a lot different than playing an event," Wilhelm says between audiences. "At an event you have a more devoted audience. Here, I'm exposed to more people."

Wilhelm stands in front of a dirty tile wall. Behind him is a door marked "Hazardous Waste: Authorized Personnel Only." An arrow on the wall above him points right to Franklin Street; the arrow pointing left gives no destination.

Wilhelm arrived at this spot at 3:12 on an unusually warm Saturday afternoon last November. Setting up his equipment in 10 minutes, he nudged the left side of his amp an inch back and checked a cheat sheet below his right foot: "D F# G A B." Leaning forward into the microphone, he strummed his acoustic guitar and began to sing.

Come on, get on - Boston Sunday Globe


"Documentary -Faster Than A Fax Machine"

Meeting the actors at a debut is a privilege usually reserved for the private-driver, I-have-a-twin-named-Mary-Kate crowd. Local director Alan Gray, however, is treating us to our very own red carpet ceremony.

Boston is rife with sympathizers for starving musicians (Berklee) and students who understand the struggle of compromising comfort (Allston) in favor of pursuing their dreams, which is exactly what Faster Than a Fax Machine is about. Gray follows two musicians struggling to make music while still surviving. Singer/songwriter Chris Wilhelm is a professional musician searching for a label. Gray decided to make this documentary as soon as he heard Wilhelm had quit his job and started playing in the MBTA full time. "I can't stand working a regular job," announces the guitarist. Supported by his girlfriend, he works the subways four days a week for $60-$80 dollars a day. Chris' three guitars have names—"Mr. Alvarezzzz," he coos to the shiniest one.

A well-chosen foil to Wilhelm is Garland "Bullet" Cook, a self-proclaimed rapper/rocker who makes the best of working two jobs. Bullet rhymes wherever he is: "You know you want a sausage! Yeah! You want a sausage!" he sings to the passers-by. He's known as MC Sausage at the sausage stand he works at, which can be found outside the Roxy in the theater district. "Even if they don't buy a sausage, at least they're happy about something." He is also the most distinguishable bike messenger in the city due to his Winnie the Pooh helmet and his beat-boxing routine. "The good thing about riding the bike is that I sing all day," says Bullet, and it just about breaks your heart. "Garland puts music into his work," says Gray, "whereas Chris puts work into his music."

Alan Gray is a filmmaker with a B.F.A from MassArt, and Faster Than a Fax Machine is his first feature-length film. Bullet's battle with substance abuse and Wilhelm's vivacious dedication are portrayed in equally compassionate and hopeful lights.

MassArt's Film Society is hosting the debut. The screening runs 90 minutes, and will be followed by a live performance from Wilhelm. It's rumored that if we're very good, Bullet may show up and sing us some sausage songs.



FASTER THAN A FAX MACHINE

TUESDAY 11.4.08

MASSART FILM SOCIETY

SCREENING ROOM 1, EAST HALL

MASSACHUSETTS COLLEGE OF ART

621 HUNTINGTON AVE.

BOSTON

8PM/FREE

MASSARTFILMSOCIETY.BLOGSPOT.COM

GRAYFILMS.COM



- Weekly Dig


"WERS 88.9FM Live music week 10/08"

Standing in the studio early Tuesday morning in a rumpled black button-up and baggy jeans, Chris Wilhelm’s humble smile immediately puts everyone around him at ease. His casual demeanor radiates throughout the room, making the session feel more like a low-key garage jam than a live mix recording. Drummer Noah Appel, who has been playing with Wilhelm since March, jokes that he’s heard the singer/songwriter curse “maybe once.” Filmmaker Alan Gray, who recently filmed a documentary featuring Wilhelm entitled “Faster Than a Fax Machine,” joins in on the joking.

Wilhelm takes it all in stride, grinning and laughing as he sets up for his sound check. The studio is flooded with easy acoustic as he starts to play his first track “Stop the Rain.” Wilhelm infuses his folk sound with a light bluesy overtone, flawlessly blending a touch of rock into the mix as well. His third song in the line-up, “Chasing the Moon,” has a deep, mellow sound, which pairs nicely with Wilhelm’s smooth vocals. Wilhelm nonchalantly strums, eyes closed, grin almost imperceptible. When asked about the comparison of his sound to early Bob Dylan, Wilhelm gives an unpretentious shrug, grin, and laugh before responding “that’s cool.”

Wilhelm, who has been writing songs since the age of 13, hopes to have another album out early next year (his first album, “This Train’s Not Goin’ Slow,” is available on cdbaby.com as well as on itunes). When asked about being filmed in Alan Gray’s “Faster Than a Fax Machine,” Wilhelm remarks that it’s “totally different from music.” Gray adds that when filming began Wilhelm was camera shy, although after being followed around for a year he loosened up. The documentary is set to screen November 4th at the Mass Art Film and Music Show, where Wilhelm will perform as well.

Wilhelm will also be performing at P.A.’s Lounge in Somerville November 20 in what he promises to be a great line-up, including artists Audrey Ryan, Brooklyn-based In the Trees, and Mighty Tiny.

www.chriswilhelm.net

www.grayfilms.com

-Maressa Levy - WERS 88.9fm


"WERS 88.9FM March 19, 2008"

Chris Whilhelm stopped by the WERS studio Tuesday afternoon, imputing his genuine heart into his guitar strings. The rhythm of life lives inside of him while he plays guitar. His closed-lipped concentrated face keeps it flowing within, while his fingers slide up and down the fret board, playing songs inspired by a heritage of American blues and folk music.
Wilhelm’s songs are like suitcases that contain the observations of his honest eyes and the soundtrack he writes for them. His most recent album, “This Train’s Not Going Slow,” self-released in 2007, was inspired by his experiences with people in passing during his travels from Albany to Boston, on busses, trains, and in subways, where, for a time, he played guitar regularly. Whalen said of his experience playing in the subways: “It can be a tough audience. You can play your song and it seems like nobody is listening, but you look around at everyone; you kind of see if you’re connecting with your audience. You look for that foot tapping. They look like they’re not looking at you, but they’re tapping their foot.”
Having settled in Boston, Wilhelm is working on an album tentatively titled Down Here by the Docks. Although he is working on his album with plans to collaborate regularly with a lead guitar player and a bassist, you can catch Wilhelm as he passes through the Northeast before returning to the docks to continue writing. Wilhelm will be making a stop at Boston’s own Middle East Corner in Cambridge on March 28, and at Java Jo’s in Jamaica Plain on April 4.

www.chriswilhelm.net

-Claire Burgner - WERS 88.9fm


"WERS 88.9FM March 15, 2007"

March 15, 2007

Chris Wilhelm could well be described as the reigning prince of Boston’s singer-songwriter scene. He gigs constantly throughout the Northeast. He was a featured artist on WERS last year and his self-released full-length, This Train’s Not Going Slow, was one of the station’s top-ranking albums. And his heartfelt acoustic indie-folk hybrid is infectious and insightful.

It’s so infectious, in fact, that after a passing listen, Chris Wilhelm seems pretty easy to pin down. He begins his on-air performance for Live Music Week with “McKinsley Steel,” a straightforward acoustic pop tune brimming with melody and a thick, driving guitar. When the song slows down into an almost psychedelic-sounding bridge, Wilhelm’s honest delivery makes the simple lines (“Do you remember McKinsley Steel? / These empty buildings are for real”) ring so true.

And that seems like that. Hooks, lines, and a good singer. But as Chris Wilhelm opens up, his quiet conviction begins to shine through. “It’s a real pleasure to be here,” he says with innocent enthusiasm about his widely promoted (and much-requested) appearance on WERS. “This is my favorite station.”

He mentions that his favorite part about making This Train’s Not Going Slow was that it was recorded on simple, organic analog tape. He then talks of his practice of busking, playing songs at T stations around Boston, as a very pure part of his career. “I’ve been playing in the subway for a year and a half, off and on,” he says. “The Globe did an article about it, but I like to think it was really about what it’s like to be a working musician in this day.” He says no more, keeping the press thematic in nature, not about him. He just tunes his guitar and smiles.


Chris goes on to mention a documentary (Alan Gray’s Faster than a Fax Machine) also made about the subway practice. Despite the fact that he’s a featured subject in the film, Chris Wilhelm maintains the relaxed modesty displayed in his songs. “It tells a story about everyday life,” he says of the film. “It involves different people who play in the subway. It’s a real universal story.” And he laughs, a quiet, unassuming, sincere laugh made almost in defense. The reigning prince of Boston singer-songwriters may be more of the pauper, and that’s just fine. By the time he performs the haunting, country-tinged “The Outsider” and finishes his set with the somber, piano-laced “In Her Dreams,” you realize that Chris Wilhelm utilizes a little of everything, yet strives to merely remain the everyman.

www.chriswilhelm.net

-Jon Meyer

- WERS 88.9fm


"Best Young Singer-Songwriter on The Boston Scene"

I have been watching Chris Wilhelm develop as a performer and songwriter in Boston venues for a couple of years now. While many other young artists are doing pale imitations of popular artists like John Mayer, Chris is an original who has his own great sound. The songs on this cd are all enjoyable and they are done with tasteful instrumentation from Steve Nillson on drums, Jack Younger on percussion and Joe Streeter and D. Lawrence on lead guitars, organ and bass. Chris writes about a variety of subjects including modern working life, self-identity, and love. I'm sure we'll be hearing more from and about him.
-Craig Sonnenfeld - cdbaby.com (Oct 17, 2006) - cdbaby.com review


"WERS 88.9FM 2006"

Folk singer Chris Wilhelm has a voice that rings with a certain vulnerable sense of conviction. And indeed, this Boston-based singer/songwriter has seen a lot during his 16-year music career: In between his relocations from Hudson, New York to Albany and now to Boston, he has spent time busking for change in subway stations, singing open-mic nights in coffee shops, and altogether honing his delicate craft. His current songs reach a rare level of emotional urgency, steeped in a palpable sense of hope and understanding.

He began his music career, he says, as a child of 10 in Hudson, NY, making his first guitar out of a piece of cardboard with strings drawn on with permanent marker, so he could play along with his favorite music. He made the decision to make music his primary focus after moving to Albany in 2000. But that childhood sense of innocent musical wonder hasn’t seemed to change over the years, as he is happiest to live his life simply: traveling around town-to-town spreading his message of breezy acoustic melodies that echo the best of early Bob Dylan and American blues and roots music.

With a respectable roster of original songs and a self-released album, This Train’s Not Going Slow, under his belt, Wilhelm shows no signs of slowing down. He plays about five shows a month all around the Northeast, and even continues to perform in T stations in Boston, keeping things humble so his music and voice can grow organically. It is doubtful he would want it any other way. - wers.org


Discography

2005 "Mckinsley steel"
2005 "Tonight Louisiana is Cryin'
2006 "This Train's Not Going Slow"
2009 "Glory, Filth + Fame"

Documentary "Faster Than a Fax Machine" check out the trailer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzMAiMCLQrU

"This Train's Not Going Slow" was #4 on WERS 88.9FMs top 30 -Boston, MA

WUMB 91.9FM-Boston, MA
PIXY 103FM-Cape Cod, MA
WNYU internet radio- wnyu.org
Tracks "The Navigator"
"Travellin' on Down"
Were played on air.

Photos

Bio

Chris Wilhelm could well be described as the reigning prince of Boston’s singer-songwriter scene. He gigs constantly throughout the Northeast. He was a featured artist on WERS last year and his self-released full-length, This Train’s Not Going Slow, was one of the station’s top-ranking albums. And his heartfelt acoustic indie-folk hybrid is infectious and insightful.  

It’s so infectious, in fact, that after a passing listen, Chris Wilhelm seems pretty easy to pin down. He begins his on-air performance for Live Music Week with “McKinsley Steel,” a straightforward acoustic pop tune brimming with melody and a thick, driving guitar. When the song slows down into an almost psychedelic-sounding bridge, Wilhelm’s honest delivery makes the simple lines (“Do you remember McKinsley Steel? / These empty buildings are for real”) ring so  true.

And that seems like that. Hooks, lines, and a good singer. But as Chris Wilhelm opens up, his quiet conviction begins to shine through. “It’s a real pleasure to be here,” he says with innocent enthusiasm about his widely promoted (and much-requested) appearance on WERS. “This is my favorite station.”  

He mentions that his favorite part about making This Train’s Not Going Slow was that it was recorded on simple, organic analog tape. He then talks of his practice of busking, playing songs at T stations around Boston, as a very pure part of his career. “I’ve been playing in the subway for a year and a half, off and on,” he says. “The Globe did an article about it, but I like to think it was really about what it’s like to be a working musician in this day.” He says no more, keeping the press thematic in nature, not about him. He just tunes his guitar and smiles.

Chris goes on to mention a documentary (Alan Gray’s Faster than a Fax Machine) also made about the subway practice. Despite the fact that he’s a featured subject in the film, Chris Wilhelm maintains the relaxed modesty displayed in his songs. “It tells a story about everyday life,” he says of the film. “It involves different people who play in the subway. It’s a real universal story.” And he laughs, a quiet, unassuming, sincere laugh made almost in defense. The reigning prince of Boston singer-songwriters may be more of the pauper, and that’s just fine. By the time he performs the haunting, country-tinged “The Outsider” and finishes his set with the somber, piano-laced “In Her Dreams,” you realize that Chris Wilhelm utilizes a little of everything, yet strives to merely remain the everyman.

www.chriswilhelm.net

-Jon Meyer