Chris Black has been crafting and performing music around the Paducah area for quite a while. So when we learned he’d be releasing his first solo album in seven years this month, we wondered why it had been so long. Aside from Chris being a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to his music, he readily admits that it took some time to see things from a different perspective, a change that allowed a new set of songs to rise to the surface. “Honestly, I started listening more in every way,” says Chris. “I had been in a band that was really, really loud, and it started to get on my nerves. Literally. Listening to something too loud can really blur the edges of reality. You should try it sometime? It won't really help anything, but it will give you perspective. Anyway, I just started listening more and that's what made these songs. I put the songs together for a lot of reasons, but primarily because I started listening more.”
While exactly what Chris heard is a mystery to us, the result was 230 West Allmon St. Apt B. The title is a nod to an old address that Chris once called home. “It was a crazy time,” he says. The songs are often intensely personal, something that is evident in Chris’ voice and guitar. At times, it is bluesy. At other times, it takes the listener on a Doors-esque, pre-Dark-Side-of-the-Moon Pink Floyd journey, drifting with a 1960s jam-vibe. It is, at its core, true to the feel of the music that has influenced Chris.
Chris sees one track rising above the rest. “Karaoke Excuse” was released as a single from the album earlier this year. “'Karaoke Excuse' is the best song I've ever written,” says Chris. “It means you can be whoever you want to be if you try hard enough.” Maybe that means dreams can come true, even if it’s only in one’s own mind. The feel of “Karaoke Excuse” will be familiar to many if you are familiar with one of Paducah’s most infamous dive bars—a place where Chris can sometimes be found doing a little karaoke of his own.
Chris also decided to release 230 West Allmon St. Apt B on vinyl, which, in our opinion, is the best way to experience the album. As Chris once pointed out to us, vinyl causes a person to take an album in as a whole, something the artist had in mind when it was constructed. And while several songs might stand out as “singles,” this album should be taken and enjoyed as a whole, if possible. And if you don’t have a record player? It does come with a download card. So you will have a Digital copy and a cool keepsake.
The album can be purchased at Piper's Tea & Coffee, Bricolage on Market Square, Herbane Naturals in the Smedley Yeiser, or by contacting Chris directly.