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

2020-09-09
Simeon Coxe RIP – Simeon Coxe, best known for his experimental electronics in the band Silver Apples, has died at the age of 82. The band's 1968 debut album set the stage for both German electronic music and experimental punk music a decade later. Coxe died on September 8 from pulmonary fibrosis. » Read more

2020-09-05
Gary Peacock RIP – Legendary bassist Gary Peacock, veteran of many recordings and performances with Paul Bley, George Russell, Roland Kirk, Bill Evans, Tony Williams, and many more. » Read more

2020-07-22
Tim Smith RIP – Tim Smith, leader of the eccentric band Cardiacs, has died at the age of 59 after many years of health problems. Cardiacs was known for intense and complicated music that combined punk energy with the rhythmic and harmonic sophistication of progressive rock. » Read more

2020-07-12
Judy Dyble RIP – Singer-songwriter Judy Dyble, who was a founding member of Fairport Convention and one of the distinctive voices of the 60s folk revival in Britain, has died at the age of 71. Her passing came at the end of a long illness, though which she continued to work. » Read more

2020-07-06
Ennio Morricone RIP – Famed composer Ennio Morricone has died at the age of 91. The creator of scores for more than 500 movies, some of his works have become the most recognizable sounds in the history of cinema. His soundtracks for Sergio Leone's Westerns made from 1964 to 1971, are iconic landmarks in film music, but he also composed for dramas, comedies, and other genres. He won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 2016 for The Hateful Eight. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

The Spacious Mind - Organic Mind Solution – The Spacious Mind is a contemporary Swedish band that wants nothing more, nothing less, than the opportunity to blow your mind with their authentic psychedelic rock. Layers of guitars echo in the...  (1995) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues