Chris Whitley
(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

Living With The Law , 6/10
Din Of Ecstasy , 6/10
Terra Incognita , 6/10
Dirt Floor , 6/10
Perfect Day , 5/10
Rocket House , 5/10
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Chris Whitley, a Houston native who grew up in several countries and eventually settled in New York, has developed an astounding technique at the guitar that allows him to play the blues with a metaphysical, Ry Cooder-ian force. Most important, the songs on Living With The Law (Columbia, 1991) expressed teenage angst the way punk-rock anti-heroes did. Armed only with a steel guitar, Whitley penned vignettes and characters that robbed poets of Americana from Robert Johnson to Dave Alvin. Poison Girl, Big Sky Country, Dust Radio, Bordertown were little masterpieces of realism and

Whitley converted to the electric guitar for Din Of Ecstasy (Columbia, 1995), an album that seems to be cut by another artist. Suddenly, one hears echoes of Jimi Hendrix (Know) and Velvet Underground (Narcotic Prayer) where Dylan and Cooder reigned. Suddenly, Whitley is a disciple of Dinosaur Jr and grunge (Din, Ultraglide). Guns And Dolls, Oh God My Heart If Ready and WPL display his guitar genius, while New Machine is his last homage to the tradition.

Terra Incognita (Columbia, 1997) is a compromise between the first two albums, a blend of acoustic and electric sounds. While it offers a more complete picture of the artist, it doesn't find a center of balance: Automatic and Power Down sound a little too tamed, the grungey Still Point sounds too "a` la mode". His guitar style lends a few of the songs (Clear Blue Sky, Aerial, On Cue, Gasket) a solemn, sinister, almost mystical feeling.

Partially inspired by John Fahey, Whitley "trascended" the blues and the folk on Dirt Floor (Messenger, 1998) and came up with odd ballads like Scrapyard Lullaby, Wild Country, Altitude, From One Stand to Another.

Perfect Day (New Machine, 2000) is an album of covers (all of them love songs).

Rocket House (New Machine, 2001)

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