In his short time on the planet, Chase Coy has accomplished much. As the music industry has grown hard for an original songwriter to break into, the Internet and home studios have allowed artists like Chase to emerge with a spontaneous creativity rare among his peers. Like many of his ancestors including James Taylor, Joni Mithell, Jackson Browne and Josh Ritter, the center is his voice, acoustic guitar and the melodic lyrics which fall effortlessly from his personal vision. While other teen artists experiencing musical success are lost in the American Idol image-machine, Chase’s words reaffirm that everyday experience and ordinary times can be expressed with the simplicity.
His first full length album, Picturesque, takes us through the caverns of his young heart with gentle acoustic arrangements and sweet chamber like instrumentation. In a recent interview he described his songs as abstract; an attempt to capture some of the moments we live in words and music. On this album the melody and words trickle down like so many drops of rain. It’s a revelation to hear the purity of this music. The album is impressionistic, romantic and introspective without being indulgent. These songs are from the breath of the youth in the same way James Taylor’s Sweet Baby James was 40 years ago.
The most encouraging thing about encountering this talented young singer-songwriter is the sense of continuity which can be felt to the past music of the troubadours, the old traditions of song-cycles. Reflected in these songs is reminder that music is immortal and is drawn from some unknown place in our spirits. We all felt it the first time we heard Jackson Browne or Joni Mitchell and many of us have feared this has been lost on more recent generations in the blur of commercialized, overproduced iPod downloads. Chase Coy is living proof, acoustic music will continue to live. As the following interview suggests ased on the following interview, there’s no reason to believe he won’t, his artistry and craftsmanship will continue to grow and develop.
Terry: You’re so young, what has inspired you to write songs?
Chase: I don’t know, I started doing and then just got used to it. I didn’t think about it too much. It started for fun. I started in middle school and as I grew up it became more serious.
TERRY: What are your main themes?
CHASE: I write a lot about relationships. It’s personal , but it’s the kind of thing anyone can related to.
TERRY: These are based on your own experiences?
CHASE: Yes. I’m not really a storyteller though. I write based on my own experience. It’s grounded in reality. If I were a painter, I’d be an impressionist. I try to do snapshots in time, not really concrete. It seems like that opens the lyrics. And it’s not something I think about too much. You know, it’s not chronological. I’m trying to capture these moments.
TERRY: Carrie Newcomer has said, we don’t really remember days as much as we remember moments.
CHASE: That’s exactly right. That’s what I’m trying to do.
TERRY: Where does this come from?
CHASE: How do I say this. For me, I don’t think analytically. If I do that it goes away, if there’s too much thought. It’s not cerebral. The beauty of music is that it gets past thinking. I hope my songs evoke emotions, feelings. You know, when I write a song, I don’t really have to ask why. I just let it happen. It has a iife of its own.
TERRY: What music do you listen to?
CHASE: All sorts of stuff. But the music which has really inspired me is contemporary songwriters…like John Forman. Lately I’ve been listening to the older music, James Taylor, Elliot Smith.
TERRY: Do you feel pressure to make ‘commercial music?’
CHASE: At the end of the day, what is commercial? You know a lot of singer-songwriter music is pop. I try to make good music and not worry too much about the rest. The beauty of the radio and internet is, aside from you, you know, the business, which can be terrible, the music that comes from people can be heard. And you know, the music industry is a slave to the consumer. People want to hear honest music. Music industry is a slave to people. If people want it, it’s commercial. It’s about making music that people love.
TERRY: It’s seems like you represent a backlash among young people from the punk/metal scene toward melody and lyric.
CHASE: Yes….well there are bands and acts that just kind of church stuff out that may be good, but it’s like coming out of machine. You know, overproduced. But, through the Internet, I’m able to put out something now that is meangingful and real. I listen to bands that no one has heard of because of the Internet. That’s how kids find good music.
TERRY: Are you a folksinger?
CHASE In a way. Would consider myself to have components of folk music and pop. I’m not the storyteller, the more traditional kind. It’s also pop music with a different format. You know, I try toward songs that with catchy melodies. Sometimes folk music has done this with words and melodies. But, then, it’s considered pop if it has media appeal. The trick is writing a song that people don’t have to listen to closely to…It just hangs on a melody. I don’t want it to be too weird. I’d like my music to be immediately accessible. At the end of the day, that’s what I hope this new CD is.
TERRY: What about Acoustic music as opposed to electric
It’s interesting that acoustic music has become considered to be its own genre. When I play unplugged without microphones or electric guitar, I’m much closer to the listener. lIke I’m in your living room. You know the Jonas Brothers can play to audiences of 50,000, but there’s that barrier between of electricity and show. I hope people can listen to me without that distance…I want closeness.
TERRY: Does it make you more vulnerable?
CHASE: Yes. There’s distance inherent in electric guitar. Mentally, it feels like you’re farther away. Yes. It’s not really being more honest. Yes. I think more vulnerable is true. There’s nothing between you and that person you’re playing for…
TERRY: You’ve had as much 40,000 downloads on iTunes. Is this from regional or national success?
CHASE: Definitely national. We sometimes draw bigger crowds in Texas or Illinois than we do in Indiana.
What’s in the Future for you?
Tour behind the ablum in June. Producing. Self produced new CD. Continue writing. Toured last summer but this year much bigger.