(Make Me a) TRISTE© Mixtape Episode 73: Chris Brain

Chris Brain

Chris Brain is a folk singer & songwriter, based in Leeds, Yorkshire and he is the founder of Hyde Park Folk Club. Brain renders songs embedded in folk tradition and the pastoral, with a contemporary resonance. Drawing inspiration from the outdoors and song writers such as John Martyn, Nick Drake and Joni Mitchell, Chris explores distinctive fingerpicking patterns and alternate tunings in his sound. Recorded straight onto analog tape, his debut album Bound To Rise consists of ten live performances that offer an enthralling meditation on nature, with glimpses of the confessional.
Recorded at The Nave in Leeds with producer Tom Orrell, the album captures the shoulder-to-shoulder warmth of a live setting. Glancing off The Nave’s eaved ceilings, each track arrives in an alternate tuning and uses distinctive fingerpicking patterns that place Bound To Rise on the shelf right next to the likes of Pink Moon and London Conversation.

What He Says: “I started as full-time busker playing Bob Dylan and James Taylor stuff. But when you take it to a venue it’s a different ball game, please want to listen to you then. There were forays into bands as guitarist and a few folk trios but nothing that’s ever been serious. We just played the local scene, a guest show at the Brudenell every now and again, but never really took it anywhere. The album was recorded over lockdown, when we had lots of free time to think about stuff. It was mostly just things about going for walks and being outdoors. I’ve always done a lot of that, but I did a lot more when we were locked down. You could just go off on your own on the bike or out walking, that’s where it all came to fruition.

His Mixtape: “The mixtape has got me thinking, I’m trying to think of 6 songs that have held an influence or shaped me in someway. Here’s what I’ve managed to come up with, hopefully this I’ve done this right“.

Bob Dylan – Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright

The first track I would like to pick is Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright by Bob Dylan, this is the first finger style song that I learnt that really gripped me, an introduction to folk music you could say.

Nick Drake – One of These Things First

I would then like to pick One of These Things First by Nick Drake, it’s a perfect song in my eyes, the guitar picking is timeless and unique, like no other, and learning to play the song my self taught me the possibility of open tunings on the guitar.

Alexi Murdoch – All My Days

As my 3rd choice I’m going to pick something a little more modern, I’m going with Alexi Murdoch’s All My Name, I love the way that Alexi delivers his vocals and how it feels so natural and without fault.

Joni Mitchell – The Circle Game

My fourth track will be The Circle Game by Joni Mitchell, I’ve always had a hard time wrapping my head around Joni Mitchell’s songs as they are sort of untouchable, very hard to fathom and so free, hard to grasp but so easy to listen to.

Vashti Bunyan – Walk Around In Your Mind

I will then pick Walk Around In Your Mind by Vashti Bunyan: it’s a simple song that is delivered effortlessly, I just enjoy the sheer simplicity of the melody and that even the most stripped back songs can move us in some way.

John Martyn – May You Never

As my last song I’m going to choose a track that I find my self singing week in week out, May You Never by John Martyn, one that I can’t seem to shake, the first percussive guitar playing that really resonated with me, and the first time I heard the track John’s deep vocals struck a chord within me.

Bound To Rise is out now. Look HERE for more information on Chris Brain.

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