Christopher Rees “The Nashville Songs” (Red Eye Music 2017)

Christopher Rees releases his seventh full album and his first since 2013’s Stand Fast. Rees, who alongside being a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, is also a director of the Red Eye record label. After having been twice nominated for Best Male Solo Artist at the Welsh Music Awards, he finally won the award in 2004 for debit album The Sweetest Ache. Having toured with the likes of Cherryhomes, Chuck Prophet, The Sadies and Steve Earle, Rees is also notable for being the first ever to perform at The Houses of Parliament in 2004. 

Rees has been making annual visits to Nashville since 2009 to write and, having always written alone, found himself collaborating with a range of Nashville based writers such as Rick Brantley, Amy Speace, Vida Wakeman, Mando Saenz, and Sandy Cherryholmes. Clearly this many co-writers brings a wide range of styles to the album. By naming the album “The Nashville Songs”, Rees is clearly referencing the breadth of influences that ‘Music City’ has had and there is no shortage of styles employed here, skilfully delivered, but possibly to the detriment of a coherent album.

There is Country in the shape of The Unfamiliar Road and a Bluegrass feel to Pull Me Out with standout track being the Rockabilly Dance with Desire. However, it is difficult to escape the feeling of box-ticking and that maybe, having scratched this particular itch, that Rees can return to a blank page for his next project.

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