Friday, December 30, 2011

From the Land Down Under: Chris Altmann

Recently, I had the good fortune to receive an e-mail from Alysha Main, the manager for this next artist I’m going to write about today.  She was kind enough to send me his most recent album and said “I think you’re really going to like his stuff.”  This past week, and with many apologies to Alysha, I finally listened to the album she was gracious enough to send me.  And, I can honestly say, Alyshia was absolutely right.  This album came out of left field to me. I didn’t expect to hear the sounds that I heard from this album.  It was a great and wonderful surprise.

ChrisAltmann’s 2010 release “Que Paso” on Ridin’ High Records is a gem to listen to.  The first track, Who Knows Where, piqued my interest from the get-go, with a gritty opening guitar lick and vocal that is reminiscent of classic Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.  A multi-instrumentalist, “Zig Zag Rag” is an infectious tune that showcases Chris’ talent on the keys, as this tune is filled with an excellent horn section and the sound of rockin’ piano. 

“Love Like This” is another great track that could have easily found itself on an album by The Byrds or the Flying Burrito Brothers.  Without having met Mr. Altmann, my gut feeling tells me that his musical influences lie with a hybrid of Southern California country rock, mixed with some great Texas/outlaw country music and combined with some old fashioned southern rock.  The result is a winning combination that nails “Hard Tac” and makes it one of the highlights on the album. 

To me the best cuts on this truly outstanding album is the wonderful, hidden duet with singer Suzannah Espie, called “All the Things You Do.”  This is a song that is made for a duet, as it deals with a lot of one-upmanship in a love-gone-wrong scenario.  The other track that appears earlier in the album is “Other Side of the Mountain”, a tune about working through life to find oneself. 

Chris has been gaining steam on a musical career that has taken him from his home country of Australia, to the fertile musical ground of Peterborough, Ontario, Canada and the move has paid off thus far.  Chris was heavily involved at this past years Americana Music Conference and Festival in Nashville, performing a few shows there during the week, most notably at the Saturday night showcase at The Rutledge sharing the bill with Ryan Tanner, Blackie and the RodeoKings, Great American Taxi and Orbo and the Longshots.  Chris was also involved with the Sounds of Australia show the next day at the Basement and Grimeys, a day long showcase featuring Chris and many of his fellow countrymen and countrywomen showcasing the musical talent that is so prevalent in the land down under.

This past November, Chris had his debut performance at the legendary Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto, Ontario.  Sadly, I was not able to attend that show.  Having listened to “Que Paso”, I can safely assume that it was a great show that would have had the Horseshoe crowd on their feet for the entire set.  Chris has his next show on January 20, 2012 at The Montreal House in Peterborough and again, I sadly will not be able to attend that show as I will be on route to Boston to cover the Robert Earl Keen/Deep Dark Woods show.  If you’re in the Peterborough area or are a short drive away, I invite you to make the trip to the Montreal House and check out one of the rising stars of Americana, Chris Altmann.  Keep an eye on this gentleman, there are big things in store for Chris in 2012.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays Everyone!!

Hello everyone,

I wish you and your families a great, healthy, happy and very Merry Christmas.  I know it's been a few weeks since the last post on this site, but I've noticed a lot of people still visiting and reading some of the older posts.  I cannot possibly thank you enough for taking the time out of your busy day to read the writings of a rambling man.  

One of my former managers at a former workplace often said it best at the holiday season, and I say it here to all of you: "You can do your job without me, but I cannot do my job without you."  There  will be thousands, even millions of web sites that vie for your attention and may be far more interesting than this site.  But without all of you reading these postings and sharing them with friends, leaving your comments, etc. there would be no site.  There would be no point.  

Thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts and writings with you.  

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays,

Jason Gartshore
Americana Review
A Proud Member of the Americana Music Association