Chris Darrow - Artist Proof

Welcome reappearance of a lost country-rock charmer

Darrow’s name might not be
the most familiar to anyone
but the most dedicated
follower of country-rock, but
his influence spreads far
and wide. He cut his teeth
with the bluegrass outfit The
Dry City Seat Band with
David Lindley; his later
group Kaleidoscope counted
Jimmy Page among its fans;
he toured with the young
Linda Ronstadt; and his
session work included stints
with Leonard Cohen and
James Taylor.

Artist Proof, first released
in 1972 on Creedence
Clearwater Revival’s label
Fantasy, shared much of its
DNA with Gram Parsons’
records of the time:
emotionally charged
Americana laments delivered
with a tenderness and
fragility. The sorrowful Move
On Down The Line waltzes
round pedal steels and
pianos, mopping away tears,
while the upbeat Shawnee
Moon finds him yearning for
simple small town solitude.

The frailty of Darrow’s
voice and its down-home
twang imbues the songs
with a traditional sensibility
that occasionally recalls
Hank Williams, most
noticeably on the fiddle-fuelled
Alligator Man and
the mandolin-led Keep On
Trying. He may have been
too pure for widespread
appeal at the time of the
album’s original release, but
an arguably more open and
receptive 21st Century country
fanbase should delight in
this reissue.

4 stars 4 stars 4 stars 4 stars

Drag City | 528 CD

Reviewed by Terry Staunton
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