It’s not a given that when we look 10 years into the past at ourselves we’ll be pleasantly surprised. When Chris Black drove home from Nashville in February and found a burnt CD in his van with “Boog Style Padukie” scribbled on it, he got that happy moment.
“Come to find out I wrote 19 songs in 2008 that are just as good, if not better than the songs I write nowadays. That blew my mind,” Black said. “The funny thing was that I could still relate to the subject matter. I thought to myself, ‘I’m either good at writing songs or bad at growing.’ I still haven’t figured out which is true.”
With help from Shelby Preklas at Loud and Clear Studio, the “new” CD should be available in May, and its release is a point of reflection for the 36-year-old Black.
The Salem, IL, native moved to Paducah not long after 2008 for love, and a place to pursue music. Much has changed: his sound has evolved from straight-forward blues-rock to something akin to 2002-ish Black Keys dragged through mud – a swampy garage rock sound with lyrics of discontent and heartbreak, all heavily informed by the latter. This shift is apparent when you compare his first album “Illinois, Kentucky and Tennessee” (11 songs of blues-rock with some repeating hand claps sprinkled in) to “230 West Allmon St. Apt B” (an angry album heavily influenced by a breakup).
“People say that it (Apt B) sounds like ‘The Big Come Up,’” Black said, referencing the 2002 Black Keys debut. “Which I don’t really think that it does. But I’m also a massive Black Keys fan so you know, I’m really familiar with their work and by familiar I mean I obsessed over it for years really trying to learn how to play blues guitar. So it probably does sound like the Black Keys, you know what I mean.”
In addition to “2008,” Black will soon release “230 West Allmon St. Apt A,” a follow-up with songs written at the same time as “Apt B” but with a different tone. “The best way I’ve figured out how to put it is that ‘Apt B’ was like testosterone and ‘Apt A’ has a lot more estrogen in it,” Black said.
Black is looking to keep moving forward, regardless of which hormone he’s tapping into to do so. And along the way, he’s enjoying a local musical community continually growing in opportunities to play and collaborate.
Hear Chris Black
Get to know Chris in this episode of the NPR podcast Something from Nothing: “Sam Walton of Music – Chris Black”
You can also catch Chris playing live in a unique lineup on April 13th at Dry Ground Brewing Co. as part of The Love Jones Experience. He plays guitar with a band backing local underground hip-hop artist J Skrilla.
Visit https://www.songschrisblackwrote.com/ for more about Black, including music videos and more.