CHRIS FOX – From The Shadows (own label)

From The ShadowsChris Fox sent me a link for the lead single from From The Shadows and I thought it was little gem of songwriting. ‘I’m In Love With You’ doesn’t have the typical backstory of an artist with a leaning towards Americana – very few have to start shopping in Morrison’s in order to avoid meeting someone in Tesco. If that story appeals to you then Chris is your man. Principal support comes from multi-instrumentalist producer Dan Wilde with Jamie Welsted on drums, John Parker on double bass and Zoe Wren on backing vocals and it’s all delightfully restrained – mostly.

Chris doesn’t restrict himself to just one style. He describes ‘Little Brown Sparrow’ as a minimal blues in which the bird is a metaphor for the broken and homeless. I’d love to think that it will emerge as a major song of social conscience when From The Shadows hits the streets. In contrast, ‘The Motivator Blues’ is foot-stomping electric rocker with just a hint of T.Rex about the pain of pub gigs – “I don’t need nobody to tell me I’m wrong” he sings. But plenty of people will. There’s a good deal of loneliness and loss in these songs: ‘You Helped Me Through’, ‘Anabelle’ and ‘Castaway’ all have their share of misery.

It’s not all grim. ‘Who Really Loves You’ is about home and family; the people who offer you support when you need it but even that is hedged around with questions and regrets. The album really is full of shadows.

Before all that we have the splendid ‘Tinseltown’, a murder ballad with a Tex-mex shuffle inspired by Brad Pitt (that’s another story) and, indeed, it does have the feeling of being a pitch for a TV series along the lines of The Fugitive. It would need some work, of course, because the man on the run is actually guilty – or would even that run in Trump’s America?

From The Shadows is Chris’ third album and, such is the music business, this is the first I’ve heard of him. I sincerely hope it won’t be the last.

Dai Jeffries

Artist’s website:

‘Bird Of Paradise’ – live: