The Chicago-based singer/songwriter Chris Darby first hit my radar back in late 2014. A friend and music aficionado in her own right had invited me to the big city of Fort Wayne to come see Mr. Darby play a small, intimate show. I wasn’t able to attend the show, but said friend and generally pretty amazing human being(we’ll call her Mary. Why? Because that’s her name) gifted me a copy of Darby’s 2014 album Cabin Songs. It’s a record of truly intimate, pared down folk songs that Chris Darby recorded in a cabin somewhere hidden in the wilds of southern Missouri.
The term “folk” has been used and misused for quite some time. Iron and Wine, Devendra Banhart, Joanna Newsome, and even slacker-king-turned-21st Century Gordon Lightfoot Beck have put on the folk name tag. While maybe some of these folks have hinted at a folksy sound, none have truly captured the spirit of the folk movement of the 50s and 60s. Chris Darby is folk, through and through. Guitar and voice, telling a story. A mission of spiritual mercy lies under his voice and strums.
Chris Darby is readying a brand new release called Instructional Songs For Quality Living for an August 11th release via Chicago record label Seven Sided Records. Here’s what’s been said about the new album:
To capture the singular spirit and infectious energy of a live performance, the entire album was recorded without the use of overdubs in a single 9 hour session. Chris welcomed two respected and talented musicians as accompanists on the new release: Andru Bemis (John C Reilly, Tom Brosseau) on violin and vocals, and Charles Murphy (Duck and Goose, The Diving Bell) on lead guitar, dobro, piano, ukulele, and vocals. In a change of tone from 2014’s powerful yet melancholic Cabin Songs, the new album presents a cultivated collection of ten tracks with the ambition of imparting gentle advice for living well.
Lead single “Don’t Look Back” is an uplifting, uptempo song that lives up to the album’s title. Hopeful in the idea that as long as we know who we are things will turn out all right, it’s simply ornamented with guitar, voice, and violin.
Instructional Songs For Quality Living arrives on August 11th, via Seven Sided Records. Keep up with all things Chris Darby here, and you can see Chris live at the dates below.
08/12- Russellville, AR- Penny University
08/13- Murfreesboro, TN- Wall Street
08/14- Louisville, KY- OPEN Gallery
08/15- Lexington, KY- House Concert
08/16- Bloomington, IN- TBA
08/17- Fort Wayne, IN- House Concert
08/18- Cleveland, OH- TBA
08/19- Morgantown, WV- Black Bear
08/21- Fairfax, VA- Epicure
08/22- Washington, DC- Ben Tufts and Friends Festival
08/28- Brooklyn, NY- Red Hook Bait and Tackle
09/01- Burlington, VT- Radio Bean
09/03- Youngstown, OH- TBA
09/04- Port Huron, MI- The Raven (Early Show)*
09/04- Port Huron, MI- House Concert (Late Show)*
09/05- Lansing, MI- House Concert *
09/06- South Bend, MI- Chicory Cafe *
09/08- Milwaukee, WI- Bremen Cafe *
09/10- Chicago, IL- Jerry’s *
09/11- St. Louis, MO- House Concert
* w/ Andru Bemis