Missoula singer-songwriter Chris Lane showcases 14 original songs on his new album, which he backs with acoustic and electric guitar licks. The finger-picker has a fine, emotive baritone voice to go with his tasteful songwriting.
The 50-something Lane, recently recovered from a stroke and subsequent heart attack (causing him to flatline and miraculously come back), writes about love and family, heartbreak and sorrow, and the joy of being alive.
“Little Girl,” written for his oldest daughter, Alex, is a blues-rock number with a rolling tempo; Lane adds his own vocal harmonies and plays a stinging guitar riff to move it along.
“Virginia Johnson” opens with finger-picked dissonance and Lane’s trembly, whispery delivery telling the tale of blues legend Robert Johnson’s first wife, who died in childbirth. In the shoes of Johnson, he bemoans her fate long after she’s gone. It’s quite riveting.
The country-folk “Josephine,” an ode to Lane’s youngest daughter, cooks with crisp electric guitar licks. Lane also serenades his children in “I Love Your Mother”; it has a sweet message wedded to a pensive, folky melody.
“Brother” is about Lane’s father-in-law, who died in his yard of a heart attack. Lane knew him for only a short time, but says “he made up for time through living.” It builds eerily from a quiet reminiscence to an unsettling finish. “Go forth my dear angel and speak your soul above,” he sings.
The bluesy loper “I’s fine” suggests we relax and not sweat the little things, because tomorrow will be better. In short, Lane remains hopeful. He has earned the right to feel this way, having gone through a trial by fire himself. Besides, he opened for Greg Brown a few years back, who told him he was a “hell of a guitar player.” Now that’s a laurel to rest on!
Visit Lane at cdbaby.com/cd/chrislane6.
– Mariss McTucker