Chris Lind – Drive
Chris Lind has become a driving force in the New York City music scene. “A dazzling singer-songwriter a la Jeff Buckley and Nick Drake…” – Chronogram Magazine. He’s developed a unique and personal sound, defined by soaring vocals and hauntingly beautiful melodies. Beyond a solid background in rock and jazz, Chris spent a year studying Hawaiian Slack Key guitar at its source. Now he regularly performs at many of NYC’s most respected listening rooms. Lind’s expansive musical journey presents some fascinating geographic storylines. A native of South Jersey (near Philly) who became a driving force on the NYC music scene, Lind has performed regularly in California and recently relocated to his dad’s native Hawaii. In between studies at Skidmore College, he lived, worked and gigged often in Honolulu. Expanding his repertoire, he studied with renowned artist Ozzie Kotani. After graduating with a Bachelor’s in Music, he moved to NYC and within a year began gigging at hotspots like Rockwood Music Hall. For being well-known around NYC, Chris Lind reaches clear across the nation to Hawaii as explained in his bio, but what about the rest of the nation? Well, this song helps clear that air a little and lets you know that he’s geologically aware and determined to spread himself around very widely. This single helps him head in that direction anyway, even though the song has nothing to do with that on the surface. This guy really can sing, and not only that, the instrumentation is layered and just complex enough to back him perfectly. His Slack Key style is behind all of this but not at the forefront. I really like how it blends every element needed to reach its overall point. A love song with an overall message to help it sink in. I’m not used to Slack Key and actually had to look it up. So to his credit he’s already educating the educated, and that’s a jump start and a half for this review and tells me I like that sound a lot.
It’s nothing to do with pop music but the song winds up defying any logic on that. Perhaps Chris Lind could introduce a very well-needed sound onto the airwaves with his music, as it’s a very radio-friendly single. And as long as his music keeps this sound threaded throughout his new EP, it should be safe to say he is really onto something. There is a relationship song here on top of all else to be found, and that is likely the inner most core of what Lind is conveying, but it works on so many levels it can’t be nailed down to just one element. There is nothing too heavy to think into it, as it tells you everything without coming down that way. If mid-tempo is boring, this also defies even more of such logic as it practically reinvents a lot about what dominated airwaves decades ago, but makes the folksy factor work within that period and I attribute that to the guitar playing and how he weaves it into such a pop oriented groove. Where Lind goes on this “Drive” is up to you, but it aims east, and him being from New York, perhaps California or the great northwest bound is the aim. Either way it’s about changing directions to stay fresh in a stale world. His guitar style reminds me of a lot of harp, which obviously stems from his Slack Key roots. If anyone else is doing this, I have no idea and it wouldn’t be that easy for me to spot, even after hearing it done this way. To be honest, after looking into Slack Key, the thought of one artist did cross the mind and she was from Hawaii, so that is about the best I can do to identify with it, which adds up to the facts concerning this artist. And the lyrics also mention taking the chance to just drive on things in order to find out where you’re going in life. This is an added depth that if for not following the words wouldn’t make any difference, but some people like to know what a song might really be about. Others don’t care about that. This single can appeal to both very easily, as it doesn’t lose itself in the meaning, but doesn’t stay stuck on it either. This is a very flexible sound from a well-trained musician with an almost youthful crooner style vocal to go with the sound not a lot or any are out there forging. That is what Chris Lind is proving and more, as he makes his way across the current musical landscape. He has a hard foundation that is refined with pop elements that keep it grounded and help his own style flourish in organic but lightly polished way.