Exposé Online banner

Chris Hartford — Losing Season
((Not on label) no#, 2011, CD)

by Paul Hightower, Published 2014-01-22

Losing Season Cover artI’m guessing that singer songwriter Chris Hartford has permanently exited from folk rock outfit Cathedral & Rum. Based on this solo outing it might be a good move. I often felt that Hartford’s earnest folk-based songwriting was at odds with the instrumental angularity of C&R. Here his tales about love and the follies of humanity are presented within a straightforward and almost nostalgic setting, with few of the acid-folk or psych trappings from past recordings. There’s a late 60s/early 70s vibe infecting this collection that is a good match to the material. Fans of Bob Dylan circa Nashville Skyline will warm to the acoustic guitar, reedy organ, and gentle bass and drums backing most of the songs. I can’t tell if the light country twang Hartford frequently throws into his vocals is genuine, but it definitely works. Songs like “La Pistola,” “Straightjacket Midnights,” and “Box of Stars” have instant accessibility, though I feel like I’m closer to the message on songs like “A Few Steps...” or “Never Let You Go.” On these he lets the vocal stretch into an almost boozy swagger that embraces the lyrics and makes the prose feel more urgent. Folk music is about making a connection with the listener, so I can’t say how successful these songs will be with anyone but myself, but I do feel that Hartford has grown with this collection. My only real complaint is that for a singer-songwriter album why aren’t lyrics included in the liner notes? Maybe next time.

Filed under: New releases, 2011 releases

Related artist(s): Chris Hartford

Latest news

2019-11-07
Glenn Smith RIP – Glenn Smith, founder, mandolinist, and primary composer of the DeLand, Florida based prog / fusion band Magnatar, passed away on October 18th 2019 at the age of 68, after a brief illness.  » Read more

2019-11-04
Dino Brassea RIP – Word reaches us of the passing of Dino Brassea, who sang and played flute in Cast for many years. By our count, Brassea appeared on 11 Cast albums between 1994 and 2002. He also released music as a solo artist. » Read more

2019-10-06
Ginger Baker RIP – Legendary English drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80. After coming to fame with Cream in the 60s alongside Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, he became one of the most recognized and influential drummers of the rock era. On September 25, his family announced that he was critically ill, and on October 6 his death was confirmed. » Read more

2019-08-20
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more

2019-06-05
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Paul Rucker & Hans Teuber - History of an Apology & Oil – Like Nels and Alex Cline, Satoko Fujii, and even Henry Threadgill (all with their various ensembles), Paul Rucker produces music that is usually referred to as jazz, but has such far-ranging elements...  (2004) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues