With the New Year comes a fresh crop of album and single releases that promise additional full-length recordings in the coming days. While this current output represents just (or soon to be) released material, most of these artists have been developing their individual style for a number of years now. Featured on indie labels with consistent track records, the first month of 2022 finds this site digging in to a variety of creative songwriters and sound designers.
Frequent contributors to this site Big Stir Records has rolled-out their first major album release of 2022: “Darling Please” from acclaimed North Carolina singer-songwriter Chris Church. A remastered version of songs recorded eleven years ago, the tracks are re-imagined with the assistance of studio wizard Nick Bertling and benefit from newly tracked backing vocals by Lindsay Murray of Gretchen's Wheel. Originally recorded in the artists basement studio, it is dedicated to his late brother Mike Church, who passed prior to the start of this project. Mike played drums on most of Chris's earlier music.
A chiming clarion introduces opening cut “History” before lurching into a slow-buring groove driven by hard-edged guitars. The distinctive vocals come on passionate and forceful, with the entire presentation (instruments and voices) reflecting an early 70's vibe. A bit of The Byrds and Poco (Timothy B Schmidt's pre-Eagles band) wrapped up in the overall feel. Coming in at a relatively brief 2:42, the main body actually ends sooner – allowing for :30 seconds or so of fadeout panning. Follow-up track “We're Going Downtown” is punchier right out of the box, with power chords and snare drum locked in for maximum emphasis. Bass guitar moves up to drive the verses along, with that ever-present steady snare drum and measured power chords filling out the sonics. A catchy chorus dabbles in near-pop-like hooks, putting emphasis on repeated lyrics (“this world”). Points for rhyming “ashes” with “I wonder where my cash is.”