Chris Harford has been a longtime friend of mine for approximately the past 18 years. He's a brilliant, mixed media artist, photographer and (rockfolkpunkeverything) guitarist. He's been featured for his musical projects in Rolling Stone Magazine, People, Billboard, and New York Times, just to name a few. He's also shared the stage with loads of wonderful people such as Richard Thompson and Mark Mulcahy.
The New Yorker described Chris as:
"...A singer, guitarist, and songwriter who rose through the local club scene in the nineteen-eighties, Harfordoperates in the free zone outside rock's usual categories. He has a foot in country, a hand in seventies rock, a toe in folk, a finger in post-punk. With his gruff but plaintive voice and his fondness for muddied-up guitars, he sometimes recalls Neil Young...". And according to National Public Radio, his music "has been described as 'beautiful, heart-rending and soulful,' as well as 'dark, rocking and dangerous'"
Chris may be one of the most kind and giving people that I know. He's very much a collaborator, as can be experienced through his longtime project, Chris Harford and the Band of Changes. There are some constant players in the group, such as Dave Driewitz and Michey Melchiondo of Ween, multi-instrumental performer/singer Stephanie Sanders, Scott Metzger of Joe Russo's Almost Dead and more, Joe Russo of Benevento/Russo and Joe Russo's Almost Dead and more. However, you will usually see new faces in the group, which is what creates such an amazing experience.
Chris Describes The Band of Changes as "A constantly evolving, consistently changing series of musical performances by a band that never plays the same songs in the same way twice."
BLANC DU BLANC : The Album
This past October, Chris released a traditional Dub Reggae record, Blanc du Blanc, and I asked if he could share a little about Blanc with us all. Chris also created a playlist for us which mostly contains songs that have informed the Blanc Album. He shares more on this below.
Chris: “The Blanc Album is a 13 song instrumental record and my first foray as a Dub Creator. Included are a few selections from this debut but mostly this playlist is made up of Dub’s which have informed this musical departure.
Over the past decade or so listening to Dub is akin to what I imagine the role of Gospel music is for many- a spiritual experience.
Though the record was made pre-pandemic there are two more releases slated to come out this year and one was specifically made as the quarantine set in- a four song EP with three mixes done Reggae/Dub style of the Scorpion’s power ballad Wind of Change due out 1/29/21 which include’s a mix by legend Lee Perry as well as one done by Grammy winning Ween producer Andrew Weiss aka Doktor White.”
"The Blanc Album is a traditional dub reggae record that pays loyal, disciplined tribute to the storied sounds of the genre’s godfathers like King Tubby, King Jammy, Scientist, and early Scratch Perry. Blanc du Blanc is the brand-new endeavor from a true rock n’roll troubadour in Chris Harford, he of the Band of Changes and longtime pal/collaborator to Ween, Tom Marshall, and Joe Russo. To my ears, Band of Changes often splits the difference between Tom Waits and Wilco, but with Blanc du Blanc Harford makes a hard left and rolls a fat spliff, cascading into blazed-out tombs of obsidian soundscapes. "
When Chris came out from the east coast last year to do some recording at Adam Lasus's Studio Red in North Hollywood, I was able to hang around and hear some of his process in action. I may have even played around on the Echoplex a bit:)
One of my favorites on the album, "The Friday Why Dub" is guided by saxophonist Dana Colley of Morphine. The tone of the sax is heavy and baritone, yet in full, the track feels ethereal.
A little more on the Blanc:
Recorded and engineered by Gabe Monago at Deaner's Studio, Lambertville NJ
Additional recording by Kevin Salem at Distortion Tank Woodstock, NY and Marco Benevento at Fred Short Recording Studio,Woodstock, NY
Mixed by Adam Lasus and Fritz Michaud at Studio Red, North Hollywood, CA
Additional mixing by Fritz Michaud at Shabby Road Studios, Silver Lake, CA
Joe Harvard Dub recorded and mixed by Kevin Salem at Distortion Tank, Woodstock, New York
Mastered by Scott Anthony at Storybook Sound
All songs written by Chris Harford Little Juice-Um Music except JahJahDub, El Style Dub & Kapow! Dub written by Harford & Treece, Traffic Signals Dub written by Harford, Colley, Benevento, Joe Harvard Dub written by Harford & Salem and Zamboni Dub written by Harford & Benevento
Chris Harford: Bass, drums, keys, guitars, percussion.
Dana Colley: Saxophone
Chuck Treece: Drums and guitar
(Charles E Treece Ascap Chadwick ST Productions)
Marco Benevento: Keys (Organ, optogan, Piano, Synthesizer)
Kevin Salem: Guitar, harmonica
Gabe Manago: Keys
Sarah Tate: Voice on Outerspace Dub
Photo Credits: Chris Harford and Monica Hampton (bottom R photo in B/W collage)