Rock 'N' Reel (UK)

by Norman Darwen | July 2011

A very varied set from New York born Chris. It is unusual to hear a man, never mind a young guitarist, cover a Bessie Smith song these days, but Chris does full justice to ‘You’ve Been A Good Old Wagon’, with its wasted vocal and Hawaiian tinged guitar break. He also turns in a driving version of Howling Wolf’s ‘Down In The Bottom’, and astonishingly maybe, for ‘Dust My Broom’, Chris lays his slide aside and although the track powers along nicely, the famous riff is notable by its absence! Something of his association with Levon Helm (Chris has used his studio) rubbed off on ‘Goin’ Home’, which has that timeless, classic Americana sound of The Band in its heyday off to a ‘t’ and makes for a notable opener. ‘Mr. Jackson’ grooves along very nicely – funky horn riffs and jazzy keyboards break too – and ‘Laying It Down In White’ has more than a tinge of country music to it. The set closer is a mournful Bob Dylan song that builds slowly and thoughtfully over its eight and a half minutes.