Equally intimate and expansive, hopeful and world-worn, the songs of Chris Bigley reveal that he is cut of that rare cloth: a songwriter whose impassioned, visceral delivery is equally matched by a keen grasp of his craft. But his ease with phrase and melody, along with his deft finger-picking, are only the most recent outgrowths of his innate talents – the story started much earlier.
It started in the years before junior high, on a rented and slightly-worn alto saxophone. The sax, though fun, just wasn't enough, or wasn't right. Then came the piano – an instrument he studied without formal instruction and yet still lead him into various rock bands in his native New York state (Astronauts, Villa Vina). The bands fizzled out, but he persisted, venturing into electronic composition (“Voices In The Dark.”)
Still unsatisfied with his output, Bigley found himself moving away from the piano, drawn instead to the guitar. Inspired by songwriters like Townes Van Zandt, Robbie Basho, Roy Harper and Bob Dylan, he found a completely new perspective on writing music. There was 'the click', according to Bigley: “With the guitar and words and melody, everything made more sense.” The compulsion to create that he'd felt since childhood, that finally found its natural voice. The musical ideas came faster, the melodies were born easier – the songs poured out.
Drawing on his travels through the Southwest in 2011, he recorded and released “The Golden Hill Choir EP,” hardly sounding unfamiliar with the elements of folk, country and blues that informed his new songs. Bigley spent the following year performing around Portland, continuing to write and eventually collaborating with multi-instrumentalist Ben Cartwright (pedal steel, resonator, guitar), J Elwood Johncox (upright bass) and Max Skewes (banjo, mandolin) to form The Desert Kind. Bigley's latest songs continue to mine steadfast veins of Americana, while his gift for clear-eyed lyricism only grows sharper. Bigley is currently at work on his debut full length record with The Desert Kind, “Old Overhaul,” due out in early 2014.