Monday, May 26, 2014
Chuck Senrick - Dreamin'
Here's one I just had to share. Hipped by my good friend Mark, I was told to expect a supper club organ player that grapples with something much larger than his square acre of Fettucine Alfredo over the course of an album's worth of original songs. And it's true, as Senrick's effortlessly simple and often repetitive chord changes stare you in the eye immediately across an empty room, a mannequin framework of drum machine pitter patter coercing his riffs and croons forward, the elegance of his voice blanketing wide eyes and a child-like heart in crushed velvet, satin-like. A jazz man. There's a lot of panache on display across this record, and I would argue that every song hits in one way or another. Senrick has the ability of a great songwriter, to push you to a kind of elemental catharsis in a bridge and hold you there trapped in an amber glow over the course of the next verse. He builds craft simply into each song, quietly, so that his subtle genius creeps up on you and it's totally fulfilling. He has a joyful soul. The mood is not explicitly melancholy, or wistful, but does occupy a kind of cartoon-like jazzy downs. It's a rendering, not unlike an imagined world. It's this latter fact that pushes the record that much further into greatness for me, as he's clearly a man at home in his imagination, and there lies the freedom that we all want to feel in music. He comes from a familiar place, but he leaves you with the delight in something new. The record morphs and mingles over the course of it's two sides into a wonderful micro-climate between jazz, soul, and lounge music. Lyrically the concerns are simple, often universal, and times verge on the philosophic. When so many people linger most exclusively in affairs of the heart it's nice to hear a grown man musing about what makes kids different from grown ups, or how he feels about his lost dog. It's not to say that "Dreamin'" does not contain love songs, but they're often tempered and have a self-assured maturity that I'm assuming came from a married man (see "Wedding Trilogy"). Across the disc his vantage remains oddly pure and graceful in a way I don't always associate with the period, as on "Downtown" he spins with clarity how meaningless the rat race appears if you actually stop and observe things. These concerns are never directives though, as he works like a painter, and the blended color is his own labyrinth for simple truths. Take his ode to a friend who succumbed to drugs, "Drop a Dime," which blends metaphors rapidly creating a portrait of the addict as a part of a universal concern, "he's a little bit you, a little bit of me," yet pushing the song predominantly through a highly repetitive chorus that seems to illustratively offer that same man's base reality ("drop a dime, drop a dime"). The juxtaposition allows you to enter his world. It's this kind of enchanting subtlety that makes the record, and is not altogether what one may have gathered from drinking in the soft blue cover with that hand drawn mug boomeranging out of a suburban abyss. Or maybe it is that simple: music for a late afternoon, perhaps a bit wet with rain, when one might plunk down in a bean bag chair, with one light on and eat a graham cracker. Haha. I mean while you listen to the record obviously! A time and place to relax, and think about the world. So c'mon Duke, check it out!