If you’re like me, you get tired of the same old polished pop littering the iTunes store and Spotify streams, not to mention terrestrial radio. What happened to the down-and-dirty, glass-clinking camaraderie of an electric guitar, some rockin’ drums, and a happenin’ bass? The kind of music that sounds fresh and new even decades down the road? Well, it’s still here. It just appears that it’s migrated north… of the border. Vancouver, to be exact.
Meet Andre Chrys, a Canadian who’s chewed up and spit out Americana and roots better than most of the big boys in the US. His is a classic sound, one that originated with cats like Carl Perkins and carried through the years via surrogates like Wilco. “I’ve always responded to music with a timeless quality to it,” says Chrys.
His album, Window to Nowhere, is more of a super-sized EP, and features tunes writtes on a 60-year-old Gibson. Opener “Get Away With It” pulls no punches (“you’ve taken me for granted, now I’m taking it all back”), while “The Velvet Rut” recalls kitschy swing a bit reminiscent of the Doors’ “Alabama Song.” And though Chrys gets soulful on “Love Don’t Understand,” “Don’t Disappear On Me,” and “The Benefit of the Doubt,” it’s the autobiographical title track (literally written about a window in Chrys’ house that, well, goes nowhere) and “Old Volvo,” penned about a car accident that Chrys was lucky to survive, that steal the show. Closer “Falling Apart” exhibits a bit of wistful nostalgia and a hint of pity, truly expanding the emotional magnitude of the collection.
It’s that real-life inspiration that truly makes this album one of note. And, as Chrys explains it, it’s not only his heart that’s in the right place, but his pen also. “That’s something I wanted to achieve in my music,” he says, “to put in the kind of attention to songwriting that you see in some of the real greats: Tom Waits, Townes van Zandt, and Steve Earle…really putting the song first.”