What does it sound like?:
Serendipity has led me to two of my favourite albums of the year. Recently I posted a review of Amanda Ann Platt & The Honeycutters; today it’s Chastity Brown and this absolutely knock-out album which also came out in the middle of the year and is one I’ve been enjoying for a few months.
I was struck by her song Colorado listening to my Discover Weekly playlist on Spotify. It gave me one of those “What was that?” moments, leading me to go back and play it again and again and then go to the album.
I found it remarkable that Chastity performed Colorado back in September 2014. I didn’t see it and if I had I’m not sure I’d have been sold on it. In the intervening time she has evolved the song’s dynamics to make it into the very different beast it is today. It has gone from pleasant and unremarkable to outstanding and essential. I guess the delay between writing and release is that modern day malaise facing so many artists of the lack of any record company backing. Chastity include in her thanks in the sleeve notes her Kickstarter backers. If she needs backing for next album I’ll be pledging my money.
Chastity has a remarkable voice. The only comparison I can come up with for her is Anne Peebles, but it’s not that close. Its a voice that has a sort of fractured timbre, a touch of that throatiness of Rod Stewart (in his prime) or, Heaven forfend, Bonnie Tyler. But it’s a voice that struck me instantly and a voice that I love.
The brilliant opener is Drive Slow. A heartbeat pulse from her drummer Greg Schutte holds things together as the music intensifies and relaxes – crescendo and diminuendo – “What is really happening, One can only guess” sings Chastity. What is really happening is that she is beguiling the listener, preparing us for a fantastic experience.
Things step up with second song “Wake Up” which raises the tempo and is as near as Chastity comes to rock while third song Carried Away is more of a R&B number.
This is a really varied set. I only seek to classify her music to give readers some sense of what to expect, but really it’s not important. I’ve found in 2015 she played Celtic Connections – not a link that is obvious to me, but I don’t have a problem with it. Chastity plays acoustic guitar which is why I’ve seen her referred toes a folk artist. When I bought the album I found it in HMV in their Blues section. Blues is about the only thing I’d say for sure it is not. At least not as I understand blues as performed by anyone from Bessie Smith to Mary Flower (though since buying this I’ve found a song on YouTube from 2013, called By The Train Tracks which is a blues).
Centrepiece of the album is a song title My Stone, a slow, brooding number and is just a beautiful performance.
Sadly I didn’t discover this record until after Chastity toured the UK around June. I find it really frustrating that it has taken me until now to discover someone who has been around for years.
I’ll be ready the next time. I hope it’s not too long.
What does it all *mean*?
There is always another fabulous artist out there, waiting to be discovered.
Goes well with…
Listening on your own and listening with family or friends
Might suit people who like…