Chris Stamey with the ModRec Orchestra from the album New Songs for the 20thCentury available on Omnivore Records (by Bryant Liggett)
The latest from Chris Stamey is a trip back to President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s America (1953 – 1961). Nodding to George and Ira Gershwin, Cole Porter, and other songwriters that have filled the pages of the great American songbook with heart leaps and heartbreakers, the new release from Chris Stamey, New Songs for the 20thCentury, taps into the specific musical period in a post-War II America, a time when songs routinely honored their homeland, cherished the courting of a special love and recounted tales of hearts both lost and found love. New Songs for the 20thCenturyswings like a Rat Pack Vegas romp, delivered vintage, with little irony or retro kitsch. Chris Stamey also loads the double album loaded with a wide array of guests.
Branford Marsalis and Django Haskins help kick New Songs of the 20thCentury off with a groovy, storybook homage to New York City on “Manhattan Melody”, the cut an opener establishes itself with a swinging bassline. Caitlin Cary is backed by strings on “I Don’t Believe in Romance”, her return vocals on “Your Last Forever After” are lonely and beautiful. “There’s Not a Cloud in the Sky” has cocktail lounge jazz bounce, and “Beneath The Underdog”, featuring Marshall Crenshaw, is the only cut that sounds like a recent recording while “I Lost Track of Time” is a mid-tempo number about lamenting lost love. Chris Stamey may be throwing his fans a curveball, especially longtime listeners that have followed his lengthy career, built from the ground up on the Rock’n’Roll he made with The dB’s. But Chris Staney is a songwriter, and New Songs of the 20thCentury is Stamey honoring the importance of crafting a great song, cuts similar to the recordings from previous decades, those songs that continue to beat the clock in the test of time.
Listen and buy the music of Chris Stamey from AMAZON