“SONGWRITER OF THE YEAR” CHRIS ROSS TO PLAY PHIPPSBURG CONCERT
Recently named “Songwriter of the Year” at the 2014 New England Music Awards, Maine singer-songwriter Chris Ross will perform in concert at the Phippsburg Congregational Church on Friday, April 25, at 7:30 p.m.
Despite Ross’ mere 29 years of age, the singer-songwriter has two acclaimed solo albums under his belt and a growing body of work that has drawn critics to compare him to Maine’s most famous musical son, Ray LaMontagne.
A guitarist who has a hard time pigeonholing his own genre, Ross feels safe in describing his style as “Folk/Americana/Rock.” Playing guitar since his early teens, Ross started writing songs at about fifteen and cites his artist mother as someone “who instilled the importance of not treating art as a hobby, but as a purpose.” While growing up in Hancock, his mother would give him $15 every time he would complete a song which kept him “vigilant” in honing his craft by striving to write in terms of quantity as much as quality.
In his early twenties, he began playing in bars with his band Stiff Whisker and the Driftwood Kids. Citing early musical influences that ranged from Bruce Springsteen and the Allman Brothers to James Taylor and Jackson Browne, Ross currently finds himself inspired by contemporaries like LaMontagne and Jason Isbell, also naming Leonard Cohen, Kris Kristofferson, and The Band as enduring musical heroes. Whatever his influences, critics have acclaimed Ross for crafting an original body of work that owes much to his connection to family and his roots as a son of Maine, growing up on the coast, the son of a mother who was not only an artist but a midwife, and a father who was a scallop diver.
As much as he loved working with Stiff Whisker and the Driftwood Kids, he felt the pull to take leave of the band (though they still play occasional gigs together) and give himself space to complete two solo albums over a two year period: “Steady Tumble” in 2011, and “Hallway to Wonderland” in 2012, both recorded in Nashville. This second album, “Halfway to Wonderland,” won him special kudos for his song, “Mostly Sober,” named by Emily Burnham of the Bangor Daily News in her year-end wrap-up of “Best of Maine Music.” His music is also enjoying radio airplay on shows like MPBN’S “In Tune By Ten,” hosted by Sara Willis.
As a solo artist, he has played at a range of venues throughout Maine, and is gathering a fan base drawn to the power and passion of his voice and finding an intimate connection with songs that are honest and unpretentious.
Accompanying himself on guitar, his music can transition from soothing and balladic to the pace of an accelerated passion, sometimes in the span of a single song. For the Phippsburg show, he promises a set that is relaxed and full of rich stories.
The show will be performed at the historic 1802 Phippsburg Congregational Church along the banks of the Kennebec, a venue that boasts a space accommodating for acoustics and community.
The Phippsburg Congregational Church is located at 10 Church Lane (at Parker Head Road) in Phippsburg. Admission is $10.00: students and children $6.00. Doors open at 7PM. For more information call 207-389-1770.