Chris Pickering is the writer, performer and musician behind some of the most elegantly arranged songs you are likely to hear played… In case you’re wondering, that wasn’t an unfinished sentence. You see, there is no qualification necessary; no matter where you are, the musicianship of Chris Pickering must speak to you with an absolute purity and confidence.
His melodies are timeless, his voice is as lush as a temperate rainforest and his styling is both familiar and unique. A lovely potion comprising equal quantities of indie, folk, country, and soft rock, will surely leave you spellbound.
Chris Pickering’s personal blend of offerings was born from an early introduction and appreciation of music through the channel of his Parent’s record collection; a collection made up of classic pop rock by The Beatles, The Animals and The Rolling Stones. He began taking guitar lessons at the age of six and drum lessons followed shortly thereafter.
After experiencing band life as a drummer with The Boat People, Pickering opted out, following his urge to explore his options as a solo artist. This decision to venture out into the musical world as a lone wolf eventually led Pickering to Nashville, Tennessee.
Why Nashville? “The USA is the biggest music market in the world and Nashville is renowned for being a musical town” Pickering tells Gleeko in a brightly lit Northcote café. He makes a good point. And considering his inclination, whether conscious or otherwise, to write songs with often more than a touch of that Americana soul, it was seemingly a perfect fit.
And Nashville certainly had much to offer Pickering. Aside from the co writing endeavours he participated in with other local songwriters which produced material that he wasn’t particularly fond of and that didn’t fulfil him artistically, Nashville magnetically led him to fellow Aussie and female musical counterpart Emma Swift. And so began a musical and personal friendship that has seen the two tour together as well suited accompaniments to each other’s respective efforts.
A precursor to his upcoming album (to be released around April/May 2015) which was recorded in Nashville, and Joshua Tree California, in two separate sessions, Pickering’s EP Corners plays out like an enchanted fairytale awaiting discovery.
First track ‘Howl’ sets a steady pace and builds on a very pretty guitar sequence, while the lengthy sprawl of the last track ‘Bones’ is a great closer. In between are warm and wistful nostalgic tunes that will make you want to lie in a hammock with a straw hat and Mark Twain novel in hand. Stand outs are ‘Headlines’ with its stunningly gentle progression and achingly beautiful vocals, and the lyrically poetic ‘Lost in the Crowd,’ which sounds like it belongs on the sound track to Annie Hall.
With lyrics like, “Where has love gone? It was here just before, perhaps it turned the corner now, and in a second it got lost in the crowd” it’s little wonder that Pickering is often primarily identified as a songwriter. “I know it sounds very ambitious and arrogant” he starts, “but I’d rather have my songs be the songs that the market wants rather than me moulding my songs to the market.” And that folks, is one reason why Chris Pickering is so darn cool and why his songs won’t sound like everything else on your ipod.
If you ever happen to be browsing through your local gig guide and notice the name Chris Pickering, show yourself some kindness and treat yourself to a soulful show that will leave you smiling for days.
Chris Pickering plays at the Queenscliff Music Festival this weekend 28-30 November 2014. Tickets are still available! Check out the website for more info on the lineup and set times – www.qmf.net.au
Corners can be streamed on www.chrispickering.net
A new live clip of ‘Headlines’ performed by Chris Pickering and Emma Swift can be found at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G18pqqH9tAs