Chris Backfish is a Singer-Songwriter from Terre Haute, Indiana who delves into genres like Folk, Blues, Rock, and Funk. Chris has just released his album “A Gathering of Friends”, featuring Jim Thistle on Drums (Nashville, TN), Byron House on bass, and Rod January, lead singer for Minding the Store from Greencastle, IN. Sounding somewhere between Willie Nelson and Tom Waits, is both a polarizing and defining place to be, vocally. It’s obviously the first thing that strikes you when you hit the play button on this album. Chris’ growly, raggedy but tuneful voice, is also what will initially keep you mesmerized and locked into this recording, track after track, until your ears modulate and attune to his particularly captivating voice. Once you’re over the initial surprise, then it’s time for the music, songwriting and storytelling to stamp themselves onto your appreciative musical sensors.
The first thing to state is that Chris Backfish is a true original. His songs are everything that is beautiful about organically driven Americana-based music. They are true to life and Chris has a way of making you feel every single word, raw and real.
The good about Chris’ music? It is not what you hear on the radio today. The bad about Chris’ music? It is not what you hear on the radio today. Each song takes you to a place that you may, or may not have been before. And if you have not lived the experiences the songs speak about, you surely will receive the feelings these songs provoke.
Smooth, rich, soulful, the songs on “A Gathering of Friends”are very deep and emotional. Right from the opening track, “Cries In The Night”, Chris’ true grit makes for an incredible auditory and storytelling experience for the listener.
here is no over-production here and instead the project has Chris’ commanding vocals and often poignant lyrics at the forefront of each track. However it has to be mentioned that “Good Enough” features some engaging flute interludes which matches Chris’ voice bar for bar, adding that extra melodic dynamic to the mix.
The heart of this album is a trio of standout songs that unveils even more shades to Chris Backfish’s character as a songwriter and performer. These tunes sit right in the middle of the album, namely “Life Ain’t Fair”, “Succubus” and “The Jester”. This is an amazing set of back to back standouts that bring as much vocal grit as it does emotion.
“Twisted Memories” fits in perfectly with this collection of sturdy songs, performed with warmth and passion. Its slow-burning groove remains compelling throughout. The sound is produced and engineered to make you feel like you’re part of the music. And that’s an essential key to really experiencing Chris Backfish’s words and feelings.
The warm, room-like closeness of the entire production is essential in in giving the music an impactful intimacy, and it is flaunted most beautifully on the closing track, “What I Want”, where Chris’ expressive voice is once again juxtaposed against the mellifluous flute yearnings.
Every once in a while we have someone come along who stays true to the classic spirit of organically driven Americana music, who manages to write some solid heartfelt lyrics, and has an unusual singing voice that cuts through the commercial crap. In 2020 that someone is Chris Backfish.