Hot on the heels of his last release, Bring It Neat, A Collection, Missoula songwriter and guitarist Chris Lane has released what he calls a “lo-fi” effort. He admits to having so many song ideas rolling around in his head that he needs to quickly get them out of there.
He’s playing and singing everything on the nine tracks, including the harmonies; he says he likes playing with others, but life is short, and he’s “on a schedule.” Prolific, you might say.
Lane possesses a fine sandpaper baritone, and his folk compositions are simple and straightforward. He cherishes the land – mountains and rivers, rocks and trees. And fishing. He extols the virtues of the Garden City in “There’s Soul in Missoula,” with its hammer-on guitar lines and cool chords, and references to famed Montana fishermen Norman and Paul Maclean.
On the bluesy finger-snapper “Man Made Blues,” we join Lane on a river float, and while he enjoys the scenery, he ruminates on the modern notion that we can own nature’s places. “Great spirits quiver when they hear ‘What’s mine is mine’… great spirits quiver when they recognize our bones …” As he bends the vocal notes, his guitar seems to have a mind of its own on soft, squiggly riffs. Cool counterpoint!
In “Bullets and Beer,” Lane examines an undercurrent of two Montana passions – hunting and beer drinking. The pace of the ballad weaves slowly, as a hard-drinking man buys beer and ammo in the morning, drawing stink-eye from the clerk. With a husky, whispery delivery, Lane intones, “the days they get longer, it’s the darkness I fear, bullets and beer, it’s a wonder I’m here.”
Catchy melodies, pensive lyrics and fine guitar playing make Lane a thoughtful songwriter. Visit cdbaby.com/artist/chrislane.
– Mariss McTucker