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Wednesday July 23rd 2014

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American Soft: Another Honest Story

By Sarah McCartan

Many know Chris Staples from one or more of the musical acts he has been a part of over the years—Twothirtyeight, Discover America or Telekinesis—depending on your stage in life or geographic location. For those who have experienced his music in any capacity, one thing is universal regardless of the nature of your familiarity—knowing Chris Staples as an unequivocally talented guitarist, singer and songwriter. And for those who have not yet heard, his new album
“American Soft” serves as a prime introduction.

The last time the IN caught up with Staples, he was packing his bags in Seattle and hitting the road again, while well into the process of raising money to fund his in-progress album through his online Kickstarter campaign. And now? Well, after reaching 150 percent funding via Kickstarter; doing an old school, two week East Coast tour run in a van; and finishing up recording back at his home in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., Staples has done it again. He has signed, sealed and delivered another memorable and meaningful solo album.

From start to finish, the ten-track “American Soft” is reminiscent of past creations in that it communicates in a manner that is beautifully poignant. Although the album title itself was churned out from an automatic title generator, the pieces and parts of each track were given great thought and attention, making the entire album something remarkably genuine.

“‘American Soft’ is a record I’ve been wanting to make for a long time,” said Staples. “All the vocals and rhythm guitar were tracked at the same time. I sort of produced around these performances, adding keys and other sounds where needed. This process really helped me simplify and focus on the essence, rather than tracking everything individually and obsessing.”

In the opening track Staples sings, “If you just stay true, some good things are coming back to you,” perhaps setting a tone for the entire album, as he reassures listeners he is sharing another honest story about the moving seasons of life. Midway through the album, “Wurlitzer” serves as an interlude of sorts, leading into the higher energy “Grand Coulee Band,” one of two tracks that had contributions from Tim Very, drummer of Manchester Orchestra, as well as Andy Prince, bass player of The Gills.

Locals Sound-Off
Various local musicians have had the opportunity to know Staples as both friend and fellow musician over the years and were eager to share their take on his music as well as the new album.

“I have grown up listening to Chris Staples progress, morph and grow into a songwriter who seems comfortable in being open and writing honest music. ‘American Soft’ is another chapter in the life of a great songwriter, who I’m really fortunate to also call my friend.” – Jason Leger, Pioneers! O Pioneers!

“The funny thing about Chris is that it doesn’t require any music for him to get your attention. His way with words and overall storytelling is a talent all of its own, but to hear his writings combined with his musical compositions is like learning the lesson with a little bit of conviction. You hear a glimpse of what he’s feeling. A lot of times I’ll listen to music and feel the need to go and play for the sake of figuring something out. When I listen to his music I am just content to listen.” – Gio Lugo, Paloma

“Chris Staples has been making fantastic music for years now. His lyrics have impact that’s rare to find these days. ‘American Soft’ has a great feel to it that comes from the fact that he made it himself completely—paid for it, wrote it and recorded it. That’s real musician stuff. I am happy to be a small part of it.” – Tim Very, Manchester Orchestra

“After looking up to Chris for a long time, it was awesome to be able to make music with him and be a part of his new album. I love the new album and am glad to see the fire is still burning within Chris. Keep your ears open people, listen carefully, enjoy and pull the good from what you hear. That’s why us musicians do what we do.” – Andy Prince, The Gills

What & Where to Buy

Released May 29, “American Soft” is now available for download on iTunes, Amazon and chrisstaples.bandcamp.com. Additionally, the album can be ordered from chrisstaplesmusic.com or purchased locally at Revolver Records.
Chrisstaplesmusic.com offers plenty of other goodies including recent live recordings from a show in Knoxville, Tenn. available for free download, in addition to an online store. Chrisstaples.bandcamp.com is also home to previous albums for purchase along with additional tracks from the past that Staples has recently shared.

Upcoming Shows

Vinyl Music Hall—Chris Staples will be playing Saturday, June 9 at Vinyl Music Hall supporting The Gills for their album release show. For tickets and more information visit vinylmusichall.com.

DeLuna Fest—Tried and true Twothirtyeight fans’ mouths dropped at midnight last month just 41 seconds into the DeLuna Fest lineup video announcement when the band’s name flashed on screen. That’s right, the disbanded act will be reunited on the white, sugary sand this September. To view the full lineup visit delunafest.com.