If the axiom, "What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger," has any merit, it certainly applies to singer/songwriter Chrisopher Blue and his evidentiary full-length, room tones, due April 17 on Sarathan Records. A subdued lullaby to a convoluted past, the album's 12 tracks were forged from Blue's tumultuous life and showcases a musician who has finally found serenity. This newfound state was previewed on a five-song self-titled EP released Sept. 26 via Sarathan Records and digitally on iTunes.
"It's almost as if these songs were written for where I am now," says Blue of his 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."
However, getting there wasn't easy and required the Northern California-based musician to walk an arduous path. Following the breakup of his band the Sensation Junkies, a brief lock up in jail and a variety of life's other curveballs, Blue relocated from Seattle to the remote coastal city of Mendocino, Calif. where he sorted out his life and wrote songs as the waves crashed at his feet.
The resulting room tones is Blue's most accomplished work to date, deftly demonstrating his versatility, ranging from rootsy rock to jazz and blues. Produced and recorded by life-long friend DC Cooper, the album is a slinky affair that illuminates Blue's cinematic narratives and booze-soaked croon (think a less nicotine-damaged Mark Lanegan). Lyrics play out against spare piano, drums, upright bass and guitar effects that unfurl gloriously despite their resigned melancholy. "Ghost in the Night," a song that sways like the pendulum on a grandfather clock opens the album before giving way to slow burning tracks "The Moon I Dream Of" and "These Thoughts," which recall Jeff Buckley with their rich textures. Meanwhile, closer "Scare Crow" opts for the opposite: lone slide guitar accompanies a macabre tale about malicious crows, resulting in something like back-country Poe.
Blue is confirmed for an intimate gig at The Mint in Los Angeles on Jan. 24 before heading to Nashville for two shows in late February. More tour dates to be announced soon.
CHRISOPHER BLUE ON TOUR
Apr 18 Live on KEXP, John Richards a.m show
Apr 18 Seattle, WA - Sunset Tavern
May 4 Los Angeles, CA â€“ Tangier
(more to follow)