A couple of weeks ago I happened upon a poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson called “The Death of the Old Year.” It had the cadences of a ballad, and I wasn’t doing anything at the time (or I was avoiding doing something), so I picked up my guitar and plucked out a tune to go along with the words. I had so much fun, I decided to try it with a few more poems. My wife suggested I write nine more and compile them in an album called TENnyson. Much to her disappointment, I more or less ran out of inspiration after seven. For now, the album has been demoted to an EP. You can listen to demos of all the tracks here.
Track list: 1. The Lady of Shalott 2. Ulysses 3. The Charge of the Light Brigade 4. The Splendor Falls 5. The Death of the Old Year 6. In Memoriam 7. Crossing the Bar
Jon T. introduced me to Chris Staples’ stuff. They had him out to the Modest Music Fest in Moscow and apparently, in addition to being a great musician, he’s a total ham.
I know almost nothing about what makes music great. Of all the forms of entertainment in my life – fiction, poetry, movies, TV – music is the one about which I am most likely to say, “I just like it. I don’t know why.” But I’ll try to give a little defense of Chris Staples.
His music is often quiet, which could make you think that it’s simple. But it’s not. There’s a lot going on under the surface, a lot of different layers to listen to. My favorite songs of his have a syncopated rhythm that makes them almost seem to have two “speeds,” if that’s the right word. Listen to “Golden Age,” “Black Tornado,” or “Dark Side of the Moon” to see what I’m talking about.
He has a great blurb on his Google Play profile, too, courtesy of who knows:
There are no casual Chris Staples fans. The man inspires devotion. The turnaround from casual listener to evangelist is nearly instantaneous. Play his music during a road trip with friends and inevitably someone will ask, “Who is this?” And a lifelong fan is born. Such is the unaffected power of these songs, of this voice. Chris Staples fandom is rewarding and lasting (despite his understated approach to promoting his own work, which – as it should be with all artists – seems secondary to the effort he puts into the making of it). We follow where he leads, and our numbers are growing.