Chris Fox’s previous album, the excellent From The Shadows, was released in 2019. Then his career went onto the back burner as the country shut down and he slipped under people’s radar again, mine included I’m afraid. I sincerely hope that the same fate does not await his new CD, In Plain Sight.
The spine of Chris’ style is Americana with an English flavour – in fact In Plain Sight moves in a more English direction as it progresses. The opener, ‘Diamonds And Gold’, has a country vibe thanks to Holly Brandon’s violin and Chris’ simple thumb-picking on his bass strings. Listen carefully and you’ll pick out the political message which applies on both sides of the Atlantic. “I don’t need it all, I just need enough” is a feeling that we can all get behind. ‘Better Than That’ has a Latin feel as it picks up the theme of the first song and takes it somewhere else.
The single, ‘One More For The Road’, sounds like the end of a romance drowning in alcohol but it’s actually about an old friend moving away. After several listens it struck me that the emotions are very similar – a bromance story if you like – but without the finality of death or divorce. ‘What Came Over Me’ explores the roller-coaster of moods and emotions that we all experienced in the throes of lockdown.
Chris’ picked acoustic guitar is always the root sound with (often minimal) support from John Parker’s bass and Dan Wilde’s percussion and ‘Perfectly Normal’ is a perfect example of clever lyrics matched to an accompaniment that is just sufficient, as is ‘Wandering’. ‘Way Up’ cleverly uses its title to return us to cowboy country. It has a jokey sound but it’s not a joke. We’re approaching the end now and ‘Who Knows’ is serious, almost bleak. Chris knows better than to leave us in that frame of mind so ‘Dance With The Devil’ is a banjo decorated shuffle with a nice acoustic guitar break.
The key message of In Plain Sight is stand up for yourself, don’t put yourself down and, to a certain extent, sod the rest of them. If Chris plays anywhere near you do go and listen to him.
Artist’s website: www.chrisfoxmusic.org
‘One More For The Road’: