Review: Chris Jamison – Cradle to Cradle (Self Released, 2011)
Chris Jamison is a native Texan whose travels eventually brought him back to Austin with a musical worldliness informed by time spent in Europe, South and Central America and Africa. He sings in an alto that momentarily suggests Lindsey Buckingham, but in longer form finds the polycultural soulfulness of Paul Simon. His third album moves between Latin-tinged organ-soul and gut-string Americana, with touches of tuba, trumpet and the rhythmic magic of New Orleans. The recordings were split between studios in Austin and Marfa, the latter of which Jamison says “seemed like a proper setting for the sound and feel I was going for; just the right distance from home and all the baggage it carries to let us get absorbed in the music and spirit of the songs as well as the open and charged energy of West Texas.”
The album opens in a soulful groove with “Bienvenidos,” but quickly strikes a melancholy tone with the wonder-wander “Going Down the Road,” salvational “Corpus Christi” and nostalgic “Lovelorn.” Jamison’s doesn’t sound fully settled until the closing “Out with a Bang” contemplates an end among the pleasures of his native Texas. His melodies are both sing-a-long immediate and earworm lasting, and the assembled players, including drummer Tommy Jackson, bassist Ronnie Johnson, accordionist Michael Ramon, fiddler Warren Hood, and guitarist Sebastian Cure add impressive instrumental color. This is a wonderfully rendered album whose charms are accessible but not simple.