CROSSROADS TO FREEDOM ALBUM OF THE WEEK ON HEMIFRAN !! Hemifrån - Gut Music For All People http://www.hemifran.com/
I have been in the music business pretty much all my life. I have a love for music that seems to control most of what I do in life. I am a music journalist along with several other music related jobs and projects. As a music journalist I don’t review the bad stuff. I only write reviews on releases that have merit. I listen to an average of 4 releases to find 1 worthy of a review. ~ Jerry W. Henry (JerryW.Henry@yahoo.com) Chris Dair’s Crossroads To Freedom (self released) is a 13 song collection for those who want serious guitar work. The guitar work on Crossroads To Freedom is amazing - tastefully amazing. Chris Dair is French, he sings very well and can play guitar with the best of them. That’s all I know about the man. Track 2 is “See The Stars” which has a moody melody that is hard to get out of your head once you have heard it. Listening to “Lovin’ You Too Much,” I checked the liner notes to make sure it wasn’t Johnny Winters. On “Never Comin’ Home Blues” he added sounds like it was on a 78 rpm vinyl disc. When he plays “Last Fall” you think is from the swamps with a sound somewhat like Tony Joe White or J.J. Grey. I enjoyed every single track on this blues masterpiece. Don’t expect an hour of Hendrix frenzy. There are all kinds of tempos and he never overplays. This guy is brilliantly creative. Diversity in styles and composition make this a great blues listen.
Chris Dair "Crossroads To Freedom"
Just before I started this review I headed over to Chris Dair's main website and noticed some scrolling text on the top of his homepage. It said "Chris Dair is now NUMBER 1 on the Reverbnation BLUES charts for FRANCE!!", certainly a worthy accomplishment for any blues artist. Chris Dair however is not just any blues artist, nor is he just a blues artist, for his talents far exceed such a simple classification.
Chris Dair's introduction to musicianship was sparked by hearing the famed flamenco artist Manitas De Plata, whom after hearing "him play at Arles in 1964, Pablo Picasso is said to have exclaimed "that man is of greater worth than I am!". At 14 Chris Dair's love of the Blues quickly got him gigging with the likes of John Mayall and John McVie, at many great London Venues. While still a young lead Guitarist, Chris Dair jammed and played with many of the greats such as Rory Gallagher, Jimmy Paige, Ginger Baker, Mark Knopfler, Led Zeppelin, Peter Green, Jeff Beck, and Bukka White, to name just a few. Chris Dair is also a very talented Composer in the Film and Media Industry, for Nickelodeon, Guinness World Records (USA), The Vibe, Brian Waddell (USA), True Hollywood Story (USA), ITV, and Planet Television, to name a few.
"Crossroads To Freedom" is Chris Dair's fourth Album and his first Album completely dedicated to the blues. It consists of 13 tracks which are all Originals, written by Chris and while you could certainly over simplify it by saying that "Crossroads To Freedom" is a Collection of 13 great songs, you would not being doing that Album justice, for it is much more than a Collection of Songs, it is quite simply a Mosaic of exceptional music. It is also an Album, that of course has many Blues Styles, but that are done in such a way that they transcend Geographical borders and would better be classified as World Blues.
Most of songs that you will hear on "Crossroads To Freedom", may certainly be familiar in style to other well known musicians, such as B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, and yes even Jim Morrison, but they are brought forward by Chris with a uniqueness of delivery, that you may find even more amazing considering the fact that the only musician and vocalist on "Crossroads To Freedom" is Chris Dair. This is a fact I confirmed with him via email in which he stated, "all of the instruments are played by me, bass, guitars, harmonica, etc. I recorded and produced the album in my small studio at home." Something I also found unique was Chris Dair's fantastic ability to match his vocals to what ever particular style he is playing, which is a rare talent indeed.
I found listening to "Crossroads To Freedom", to be more of a long uninterrupted journey than simply a bunch of quick stops. The music Chris Dair presents on this Album is put together in such a way that it gracefully and logical blends as one, almost like the score one would expect on a great movie.
Pulling out a few songs that could be said were my favorites would be doing this Album a disservice, somewhat like pulling the teeth out of a persons mouth that had a perfect smile already. Each song on "Crossroads To Freedom" has it's own unique specialness and does not deserve the classification of being "better than the rest".
"Crossroads To Freedom" shows off the amazing talent that is Chris Dair, a talent that can certainly be put up and compared to the best musicians,vocalists, and songwriters, out there today.
Not to much thought was required for me to see that "Crossroads To Freedom" certainly deserved my highest rating of 5*****. A rare find, from a rare Artist.
Review by John Vermilyea (Blues Underground Network)
17 April 2011 at 16:06 I have been in the music business pretty much all my life. I have a love for music that seems to control most of what I do in life. I am a music journalist along with several other music related jobs and projects. As a music journalist I don’t review the bad stuff. I only write reviews on releases that have merit. I listen to an average of 4 releases to find 1 worthy of a review. ~ Jerry W. Henry (JerryW.Henry@yahoo.com) Chris Dair’s Crossroads To Freedom (self released) is a 13 song collection for those who want serious guitar work. The guitar work on Crossroads To Freedom is amazing - tastefully amazing. Chris Dair is French, he sings very well and can play guitar with the best of them. That’s all I know about the man. Track 2 is “See The Stars” which has a moody melody that is hard to get out of your head once you have heard it. Listening to “Lovin’ You Too Much,” I checked the liner notes to make sure it wasn’t Johnny Winters. On “Never Comin’ Home Blues” he added sounds like it was on a 78 rpm vinyl disc. When he plays “Last Fall” you think is from the swamps with a sound somewhat like Tony Joe White or J.J. Grey. I enjoyed every single track on this blues masterpiece. Don’t expect an hour of Hendrix frenzy. There are all kinds of tempos and he never overplays. This guy is brilliantly creative. Diversity in styles and composition make this a great blues listen.
Chris Dair Chris Dair Crossroads to Freedom (Chris Dair Music)
Honestly, it has been a while since I heard a guitar player that I resonate with like I do Chris Dair. The French guitar slinger is not only a brilliant and creative innovator on the six-string, he is also a extremely talented vocalist.
On Crossroads to Freedom, Dair takes us on a joy ride from the straight up electric blues of “Lost in Wasted Time” and “No Reason Blues” to the wah-wah laden blues rock instrumental “Lovin’ You Too Much,” a tune that evokes memories of Johnny Winter and Stevie Ray Vaughan. And just when you think you have him figured out, that guitar of his takes us into a slow, moody “See the Stars,” a kind of Van Morrison meets Dire Straits sound. The title track “Crossroads to Freedom,” is a blues that hints at Pink Floyd and Jim Morrison. At least that’s what I hear. All I know is that I could play that one song on a loop for hours.
I do love the way Dair recorded “Never Comin’ Home Blues” with pops and scratches to sound like an old 78 rpm record. There are so many wonderful sounds on the album, it is almost hard to describe. I even hear Tony Joe White and J.J. Cale influence on songs like “Last Fall,” while at other times his guitar playing brings to mind people like John McLaughlin or Frank Zappa on his Shut Up and Play Your Guitar record.
Until last week I had not heard of Chris Dair. Now I can honestly say that he is one of my favorite artists. Yes, it is that good of an album. Buffalo says “check it out.”
-Michael Buffalo Smith
Chris Dair puts out an amazing collection called "Crossroads To Freedom" BY GLENCASEBEER – NOVEMBER 20, 2010 POSTED IN: ALBUM REVIEWS
If you are on the lookout for some great blues guitar playing, whether it be throwback blues or blistering blues rock riffs such as I am, then here is another name to throw at you. Chris Dair. I’ve been hearing some phenomenal guitar players lately like Lance Lopez, Dudley Taft, and Chaz DePaolo , just to name a few but Chris ranks right up there with anyone. The list of legends Chris has played or jammed with is lengthy and includes names like Jimmy Page, Ginger Baker, Rory Gallagher, Jeff Beck, Led Zeppelin and the great blues player, Bukka White. This 13 song collection has some seriously amazing guitar work coupled with deep penetrating bass lines. There is some beautiful violin playing implemented on “See the Stars” that harmonizes very nicely with some flawless acoustic guitar work. It has a bit of a haunting melody that I enjoyed a lot….this song could have been done 50 years ago but somehow seems relevant today as well.
Track 3 is a piece called “Obsession” and it starts out with a flawless electric guitar in the style of Carlos Santana, just absolutely epic playing. “Obsession” is a brilliantly composed instrumental piece with some very clean picking, underneath a fat guitar sound that leads to a very nice mix. The differing styles just melt together. The guitar used on “Obsession” is a PRS Custom Tiger Stripe body with birds inlaid on the neck. I’ve included a photo attached that Chris sent me on Facebook and in his own words, “It’s a very special guitar”. The title track “Crossroads to Freedom” is an interesting tune. I’m going to go out on a limb here and attach a label to that song, in my mind that is Psychedelic blues. No wonder he lists Frank Zappa and Jimi Hendrix as two of his influences. The song has an addicting beat that draws you in, while Chris employs the hypnotic powers of delay and echo to keep you there. Track 5 “Please Don’t Let Me Go” is a very jazzy number that has one foot in the blues and one foot in jazz.
Another great song on this release is “Never Comin’ Home Blues”. This is modern day delta blues at it’s absolute best, with some decent harp work and the artificial record scratching on that song is brilliant, leading us to believe it was born in a different time and place and why not? Track 6 features some more traditional blues playing and as he jumps into the next tune, Chris Dair proves again on this CD that he can drift back forth effortlessly between deep southern delta blues and string scorching blues rock. He earns a spot as one of the top players out there. Is that a juice harp I hear on track 11? This guy has a lot of tricks up his sleeve. On “Goldwater Mountain” he rolls out the canvas and paints another instrumental masterpiece, demonstrating his flawless fretwork. It’s gonna be really hard to choose a favorite song on this CD, in fact, I’m not going to. I totally enjoyed this entire collection of songs. Chris Dair will definitely get a 5 bluestar rating from us. “Crossroads To Freedom” is truly a must have in your music collection. Track Listing for Crossroads to Freedom 1. No Reason Blues 2. See The Stars 3. Obsession 4. Crossroads To Freedom 5. Please Don’t Let Me Go 6. Never Goin’ Home Blues 7. I Feel The Need 8. Lovin’ You Too Much 9. Last Fall 10. Leavin’ Town Blues 11. Ya Smile At Me 12. Goldwater Mountain 13. Lost In Wasted Time You can find Chris Dair on the following sites: iTunes Amazon.com YouTube ReverbNation Myspace By Glen Casebeer/Northwest Music Scene You can find the American Blues Scene at: American Blues Scene website Facebook Twitter Last FM Myspace YouTube ReverbNation Live Blues World
Chris Dair – Crossroads To Freedom Crossroads To Freedom is written and performed entirely by Chris Dair and is his first album dedicated purely to the blues from the Mississippi delta all the way to the streets of Chicago and beyond! What is refreshing is that there appears to be no limitation as to how Chris Dair interprets the way his guitar should be played, having jammed with the best of them down the years including Jeff Beck, Peter Green, Rory Gallagher, Jimmy Page, Mark Knopfler and the great Bukka White to name but a few! Crossroads To Freedom gets straight down to business with 'No Reason Blues' that is classic Chicago blues harking back to the Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf era! Influences abound here as you would expect from such a seasoned musician, with a somewhat mystical sounding 'See The Stars' offering more than a hint of Ravi Shankar, before the Santana inspired instrumental 'Obsession' transcends over proceedings. Some of these recordings might easily lend themselves to a film soundtrack, that incidentally is not new territory for this man who is not afraid to experiment, as is well demonstrated on the innovative title track 'Crossroads To Freedom' which delivers some very interesting psychedelic blues! 'Please Don't Let Me Go' cruises into some really cool jazz tinged blues ahead of the vintage sounding 'Never Comin' Home Blues', which is given some authentic worn vinyl treatment that many listeners may find intriguing? Right from the first note on the laid back 'I Feel The Need', you become spellbound as his guitar riffs and smooth vocals combine to find the perfect blend and are only set fee once a wailing harmonica introduces 'Lovin' You Too Much', as he connects his wah-wah pedal to unleash some screaming guitar SRV style! The laid back 'Last Fall' and 'Leavin' Town Blues' lead us well into JJ Cale chartered territory and on 'Ya Smile At Me', he even finds time to mix in some rare juice harp with some good ole country blues. Listening to 'Goldwater Mountain', you discover a fabulous example of American acoustic roots music (reminiscent of the early Doobie Brothers), before 'Lost In Wasted Time' delivers a dreamy guitar solo that even Roy Buchanan might have taken his hat off to! Crossroads To Freedom is the album you always wanted to own that you could never remember the name of, and it also marks the moment Chris Dair stepped out of the shadows to become a genuine blues artist in his own right! Check him out on his website at http://www.chrisdairmusic.net/ where you can also order a signed copy of the Crossroads To Freedom CD, and discover what you've been missing! John Stracey – Blues Connections