Performer Magazine premiered a video (and David Bowie song) that Tim Huggins and I recorded recently.
Here's what I said about the track:Every February I go to Kansas City for Folk Alliance International. It’s a really special event, and it’s always inspiring but after four days and nights of un-amplified acoustic music you kind of need a palette cleanser.So for the past two years, on the last night of the festival, my buddy Tim and I have gone late-night to a local studio and recorded a bunch of 70’s pop and rock covers. We only have a handful of hours until dawn to get the takes, so we try to keep it un-fussy: put down the basics live, throw on some extra guitar, sing the vocals, mix the song, go eat breakfast. This year we did “Oh! You Pretty Things” and a swampy version of Badfinger/Nilsson/Mariah Carey staple “Without You.”By next year we might have enough of these sloppy cover songs to release a whole record, but for now I at least wanted to put this video out there, since Bowie’s passing was still very heavy on our hearts when we went into the studio. It’s a song I’d covered live a few times, but we’d always done it the faithful way, with the drums only coming in on the choruses.That night Tim got his friend Mike Patrum, who plays with Kerry Livgren, to come and record drums, and I figured if he’s gonna be here, we might as well have him play on the whole song… thus the bigger arrangement.As for the song itself, the chords kill me. So good. Not sure Bowie gets enough credit for how genius his harmonic changes were. And the lyrics, so bizarre, with the Ubermensch starman stuff amidst the cozy domestic details…I just watched the preview for Werner Herzog’s “Lo and Behold” and started really obsessing over the obsolescence of mankind. Gotta make way for the Homo Superior!
The venerable PopMatters.com was kind to feature my new video for "1973" on their site.
Here's what they said:
I’m firmly of the belief that a certain brand of nostalgia — that ever-present nag that music stopped being good when the ‘rents stopped being young enough to enjoy the new stuff — is toxic and has no place in our music community. Thankfully, Chris Robley’s “1973” is of the more pleasant sort, genially sepia-toned instead of acid-stained. It’s a self-admitted “fantasy”, a pleasant scene of how two folks met and made a kid that doesn’t actually exist in Robley’s true life, but oftentimes fantasy is compelling too. And “1973” certainly is compelling, charming wordless harmonies preceding a folk-rock stomp and killer psychedelic guitar solo. It might be a fictionalized portrait of the year it attempts to illustrate, but that fiction is a genuine joy—if a slightly depressing one—nonetheless.
And here's what I said:
“‘1973’ is one of the songs on the record that has absolutely nothing to do with me. It’s complete fiction, a mix between ‘1941’ by Nilsson and ‘That Was Your Mother’ by Paul Simon,” says Robley. “It’s sung from the point of a view of a deadbeat dad returning after too long away to rationalize his absence. I have a great dad. I wasn’t born in 1973. But I had the chord changes, and when I started to write a melody those were the words that came.”
Wicked kind words about my song "Veterans Day" from Nooga.com, the website premiering the lyric video for the tune:
There's something mercurial and surprising about the graceful ebb and flow that washes over you as the song progresses. It's alternately comforting and riveting. He manages to instill a sense of momentum and weight to these experiences without sacrificing the ebullient swagger that clings to this kind of inclusive pop music.
Listening to "Veterans Day," it's easy to forget just how hard it is to fashion this specific pop aesthetic without losing a sense of your identity. But Robley easily draws back the sentiment to showcase the heart and earnest soul of his work. The song's complexity is subtle—it doesn't call attention to itself but merely expresses an ocean of feeling with the simplest rhythmic passages. As the song fades away, you're left with the feeling of having fully lived within another person's life, even if only for a short while.
My newmusic video for the song "Anonymous" is premiering right now on KCRW, home of the fantastic show Morning Becomes Eclectic.
The video was filmed entirely in reverse (you'll understand as you watch), and I had a ton of fun making it with the help of director Craig Saddlemire and Chicken 3000 (the extras).
Please check it out, and — as you see fit — like, share, comment, sing, swim, strum, jump, or levitate accordingly.
Click HERE to view the video.
My mother really hates whenever my hair gets long. I thought I could sport the grizzly Mainer look through winter (ah, the small pleasures of defying parents even when you're in your thirties), but it really wasn't working for me... so this video is kinda like an early birthday present for my mom.
Special thanks to Nancy Breau for the last minute trim, and Lauren Breau for womaning the camera.
The song "User-Friendly Guide to Change" was recorded at Mike Coykendall's Blue Room Studio, and was released on my album MOVIE THEATRE HAIKU. It was produced with Mike Coykendall, mixed by Jeff Stuart Saltzman, and features some sweet playing from:
Arthur Parker - Bass
John Stewart - Drums
James Gregg- Trumpets
Hope you enjoy the song and high-speed haircut. If so, please give the video a thumbs up and subscribe to my YouTube channel!