"Chris--Your cd arrived. Thank you for that kind and generous gesture.
First I read the words. They stand up very well on their own.
Then I listened. Seems that Ron has access to quite a large stable of wonderful musicians. You and your songs well deserve it.
About The Songs is a good addition (helped me understand "Life Without Me"). Your banjo playing on "Tree Frog" is a good example of how well you play the thing. Your guitar on "Take Me Down to the Water" is, likewise, a good example of how you play that thing. "Haymonds Lament" is a beautiful final note. Beautifully conceived and executed. Would bring a tear to a Scotsman's eye, drunk or otherwise. Your ability to cultivate wondrous songs from the merest seedling of an idea is a gift. Gifts are for giving. My sense is that this is a beginning."
-Joe Hermann (Critton Hollow String Band)
"Chris—I can’t say enough about your songs. They brought me back to what I loved in the 70’s. Singer songwriters like Tom Paxton, Jerry Jeff Walker, and now Chris Haddox. Making me smile, bringing me to tears, reminding me of what I love and what I miss. This album is wonderful. I can’t pick my favorite, but Sunday Morning Stoplight is still in my head, and Take Me Down to the Water brings me to tears."
-Listener in WV
"Chris is such an engaging performer. Watching and hearing the crowd respond to his lyrics and delivery was truly gratifying. He deserves fully engaged audiences like the one he had last night. Thanks for sharing your incredible talents, Chris!"
-Listener in VA
"Just a little note to say that when this pandemic is over, and I reminisce about what kept me going through it, on the top of my list will be my weekly drive to the restaurant for our family’s burrito night take-out, when I got to listen to and sing along on your wonderful CD, all the way there and all the way back; turned up loud...free to sing just as loudly (and as off-key, at times), as well as to freely shed tears when the music and the words so moved me.......no one to apologize to or explain to....just doing what felt natural. Who needs counseling when you can get healing like that!"
-Listener in PA
"Hey Chris--I heard Kalashnikov on WPRB Princeton the other day and had to look up the rest of the album! I really like your stuff. Reminds me of Chuck Brodsky or John Prine. I was wondering how I can get my hands on a CD?"
-Listener in NJ
"This debut CD is, simply put, astounding. Chris, your writing is clever and moving; your playing superb and nuanced; your singing and phrasing seasoned and genuine. Your ability to take a comment, a notion, or an observation and weave it into a tight, humorous, sobering, romantic, or playful musical tale is flat out remarkable. I find myself singing Sunday Morning Stoplight almost every time I’m stopped by traffic signal. I can’t listen to He Reeled Me In without laughing out loud. Nothing Says It’s Springtime Like the Redbud is a such a perfect encapsulation of the Appalachian springtime experience (with apologies to Aaron Copland). We Can Fall In Love Again is such a poignant performance. A Soul Can’t Rest In Peace Beside the Four Lane/Haymond’s Lament brings me back home to WV where I can visualize the very cemetery from the Interstate. I’m really glad that I was able to make the trip to WV to attend your album drop event in Charleston followed by your inaugural performance on NPR’s Mountain Stage. You were so comfortable and the audiences completely connected with your authenticity. Keep ‘em coming!"
- Listener in FL
"When I listen to a Chris Haddox song, I feel like Tom Joad just rolled down the window and asked me to go for a ride."
-Cilla Shaw Drinkwater, former Director of 12 Corners Coffeehouse in Rochester, NY
"Hey folks...I've given Chris' album several listenings...here's my thoughts on each track:
Says You, Says Who, Says Me...
Great song, clever, well-crafted, great way to start an album. “...let all our sharpest points get rounded”, is a line with the signature Chris Haddox stamp. Johnny Staats’ mandolin solo alone is worth buying the album.
Pay attention, because this song is funnier than the sweet Sunday morning musical setting.
This sounds like one of the modern day treatments that have been created from scraps of lyrics Woody Guthrie left behind. This is a song a Nashville artist ought to jump on, but it would be hard to beat the arrangement here.
The diversity of Chris Haddox song subjects is remarkable. Yes, it’s the wrong year to come out with a song sympathetic to a Russian arms inventor. War is a poisonous mix of bad options for everyone it touches.
Streets of Danville
Easy to listen to multiple plays. Showing a very deft touch with the lyrics, this has the feel of a fine Guy Clark song.
He Reeled Me In..
Again, the diversity of Chris Haddox song subjects is remarkable. Funny, with the perfect New Orleans swing arrangement, this story shows how the writer “aims for what you’re trying to hit.”
O' This River
The songs move into the seasons of a West Virginia life. There are few that capture the sweet and bittersweet, the frustrations and the pleasures, the voice of the hills and the hillfolk as well as Chris.
Life Without Me
This one breaks my heart with every listen. All of the West Virginia songwriters I know touch on the damage done by the coal companies. Those who grew up here know it was not our elected leaders, our schools, our newspapers who spoke out with the truth, but the writers, poets, and musicians who have warned us for decades and pointed to the draining losses.
Nothing Says It's Springtime Like The Redbud...
After a West Virginia winter, we are so ready for our “favorite central Appalachian hardwood legume.” (This is not your everyday country cliché songsmith.) I love the guitar solo on this one.
If the album has any weakness at all, it is that there isn’t enough room on one CD to show off the range of Haddox talents. We get a taste of the banjo here, but there is much more to see. Buy this album, and we can hope there will be another that follows.
Take Me Down to the Water...
Faith is a natural outcome of a life wandering and contemplating the wonders of nature found on every hand in the land of Almost Heaven. This song sounds like a hymn that would fit the film, O Brother Where Art Thou?
We Can Fall In Love Again...
A heartbreaker. I heard this and thought, “That’s such a hard song to sing, and he does it so well.” The simple accompaniment and Mira Costa’s haunting vocals make this a highlight.
A Soul Can’t Rest In Peace Beside the Four Lane...
Country Roads, Take Me Home...if it’s still there. As one of those who has made a long habit of visiting lost cemeteries, it seems like this song has been echoing in my heart for many decades before I heard Chris sing it. Don’t fail to search for the video on-line that puts the story into pictures."
-Rob Shaw, WV musician, songwriter, active song listener