Chris Kemp White
Chris Kemp White
Debut E.P. from solo singer-songwriter with captivating voice and creative arrangements explores themes of love, loss and longing, revealing classic and modern influences like David Bowie, Crowded House, and Coldplay.
Portland, Maine singer-songwriter Chris Kemp White has been making music in and around the state's largest city for more than twenty years. After performing almost exclusively with bands––The Frotus Caper, Hotel Arrival, The Lomax and An Overnight Low, to name a few––Chris released his debut self-titled E.P. in June of 2016.
In the CD's first track "If I Linger," White sets the tone for the album singing, "If my hands shake, words fail / If I fail to be clear / If I drift off, eyes glaze / I don’t seem to be here." Don't be fooled by the lone mandolin accompaniment; driving drums and bass reminiscent of U2's "Joshua Tree" blossom out of the speakers, soon followed by a dense yet deceptively simple medley of wordless voices.
The second track, "Repeating," combines Smith's era Marr-styled guitars with an active bass line and subtle tom-centered drums. The lyrics lament our collective disconnection from each other and our pasts: "Used to know / The words to all the songs our forebears sang / Used to know / The end and the beginning are the same." Upbeat with solid backbeat for the final chorus, Chris Kemp White reveals a pop sensibility rooted in classic, new wave and modern rock influences.
The final two songs, "The Same Man (Who Broke Your Heart)" and "Trouble on the Ground," are epic numbers replete with key changes, melodic guitar solos, and tight vocal harmonies that are a trademark of White's work. Although he performs solo, with only acoustic guitar accompaniment, or with a three-piece of electric guitar, bass, and drums, White plays all the instruments in the recordings including guitars, bass, keys, and programmed drums––and the aforementioned mandolin––sounding more like a five-piece band than a singer-songwriter.
No doubt, fans of melodic modern bands and artists like Coldplay and John Mayer will be drawn in by White's intimate vocal style and smart arrangements, feeling right at home with this first of what we hope are many releases to come.