Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Chris Lavancher “Roadside Attractions” album review

Chris Lavancher is a North Reading, MA based songwriter. A story teller and singer, who develops the characters in his songs with precision and expertise. His record “Roadside Attractions” was released just about a year ago and he sent it along for a listen…

The majority of the record is studded with intricate picking and Lavancher’s soothing, friendly vocal work. There are carefully placed other instrument/vocal parts, but it’s not at all overdone. I have to give applause to the producer (and Chris) on that front. The recording has just enough moving parts to make in interesting for a recorded work, but not so for off from what you may get a solo acoustic show. Kudos on that front. There are some excellent fiddle (“Bury Me”) parts and slide guitar (particularly in “Lone Train Whistle”)…and some nice accompanying mandolin as well. Although, this method does wear after a few tunes about halfway through the record the tracks begin to add a few additional parts as in “Eli’s Song” with its light root bass thump, fiddle, percussion and lovely female harmony part.
It has some bluesy feel to it in the first couple tracks, but without as much grit as most of the genre, making it real unique as well as hints of bluegrass (in the instrument choices) on the more folky end of the spectrum. It’s a really just a pleasant listen, with the songwriter’s smooth voice at the forefront of some really well thought out instrument parts, played with professional precision.
The writing is playful and sprightly. Lavancher doesn’t seem to take himself all too seriously in his writing, well not too personally I guess is the better way to describe it. I don’t get the feeling that too much is autobiographical and he dreams up these profound characters in a lot of his songs. “I Can See You” departs from that and is a bit more of a poignant song of lost love and heartache. It’s a nice change up and shows the artists adaptability as a songwriter and performer.
A really nice listen.
Check out Chris’s record “Roadside Attractions” online at: http://chrislavancher.bandcamp.com/

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