Having just (re)touted Warren Zanes' Memory Girls, it's kind of fitting that I've selected Chris Staig's Davenport as today's featured disc. Staig, from Toronto, has a very similar sound to Zanes, both vocally and stylistically.
Davenport features a winning combination of power pop, roots rock and singer/songwriter pop. There are also hints of Neil Young and John Lennon as well as Grandaddy's Jason Lytle. Things start off in fine fashion with Staig pleading for a "Rock'n'Roll Holiday", as it's "time to blow up my television/can't make shopping my new religion"; in the next track Staig sings of how he "Fell Off The Wagon", an ode to getting plastered. "All I Need Is You" is a catchy rocker in the vein of the Ike Reilly disc I raved about yesterday, and "Another Year" almost heads into the Rockpile territory mined so well by Terry Anderson (he of the Olympic Ass-Kickin' Team).
He has three tracks from Davenport streaming at his myspace page, and others can be sampled at cd baby, which is of course the best place to pick it up.
Professionally trained guitarist, Chris Staig, has won praises for his work with other performers and for his solo recordings.
A former member of Taxi Chain, Chris performed with the band that made their mark by having the bagpipe as the dominant instrument.
After leaving Taxi Chain, he made two solo CDs that expanded his skills from musician to songwriter. Deeper Weâ€™ll Dream (2000) elicited Kurt Swinghammer to call Staig the â€œsurprise local discovery of the yearâ€ and The Toronto Sun refer to him as â€œa song writing Charles Atlasâ€. After his second release, Death of Romance (2003), Staig received many angry phone calls from ex lovers and employers. Although fictitious, many of Staigâ€™s friends mistook the characters as personal references, perhaps taking the honest lyrics too literally. Both discs have received commercial, campus and CBC radio airplay.
Chris currently plays guitar with Greg Hobbs and his skills are evident with the recording of Hobbsâ€™ CDs â€œDrake Motelâ€ (2001) and â€œThreats and Promisesâ€ (2004). Hobbs comments, â€œStaig has an uncanny ability to colour a song perfectly without showing off.â€
After six and a half years, he recently retired from hosting the weekly open mic night at Torontoâ€™s Old York Tavern. Chris now only hosts the first Wednesday of every month.His role of driving everyone home at the end of the night, has also been retired.
The appeal of Chrisâ€™ songwriting is widespread and varied. His work was covered and recorded by both power pop cynic Dan Bryk (â€œHonest Loveâ€) and Canadian novelty song act The Arrogant Worms (â€œBuy a Bottle of Boozeâ€).
Chrisâ€™ current band consists of Josh Hicks on the drums, Ayron Mortley (Taxi Chain, Pagan Mary) on guitar and Dennis Mohammed (Wild Strawberries, Kathryn Rose) on bass.
Chris misses the house he used to share with Josh Hicks at on Davenport Rd.
His latest release, â€œDavenportâ€ is a dedication to that time and the relationships he experienced with close friends. He describes the CD as, â€œa labour of friendship and a triumph of hard won optimismâ€. Produced by Josh Hicks at the Purple Tea Room Studio on Davenport Rd. it has a direct connection to the neighbourhood and his respect for the community around him.
Check out the artist's website:
1. Rock and Roll Holiday
2. Fell Off the Wagon
3. Time Won't Leave You
4. All I Need Is You
6. Graduation Day
7. I Want to Be Different
8. Another Year
11. Look Me in the Eye