Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Review from The Oklahoma Gazette

Christophe's outlaw country not "miserable"

By Stephen Carradini  
August 3rd, 2010

Some artists cast such a long shadow over their genre that that it's hard for other artists to escape comparison. For outlaw country singers, it's just hard to shake Johnny Cash. Christophe is a local outlaw country singer who is not exempt.

His latest EP, "Crossroads," released last month, features four songs written with very old-school country instrumentation (think Kenny Rogers) and outlaw country lyrics about hard living, wrong choices and the like. The songs are very sparse, featuring Christophe's low voice and gently strummed acoustic guitar.

None of the four tunes are very fast, which lets Christophe put emphasis on his baritone vocals and lyrics. This works well on "Misery Road," where he sounds confident in his drawling, speak/sung delivery. His vocal performance meshes with the band perfectly, and the tune becomes a highlight.

The other tunes succeed on lesser levels; the band sounds particularly tight on "The Life of an Outlaw," although the vocal performance doesn't mesh as well as it does in "Misery Road." "You're Gonna Drive Me to Drinkin'" doesn't sound all that country, which makes Christophe's vocals stick out in a strange way. But the ode to an impending breakup has a very pretty arrangement, which saves it.

Inevitably, Christophe will remind you of Johnny Cash. You may be put off because, well, Christophe's songs aren't as indelible as Cash's. But no one can top Cash but the Man in Black himself, so put your preconceived notions of outlaw country aside and check out Christophe. Start with "Misery Road" and head on from there.


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