Originally from Austin, “angry folk” singer, Chris McFarland calls Brooklyn home these days… when he is home, that is. The veteran musician is regularly criss-crossing the country supporting his unique brand of visceral folk music, which includes his latest EP, Beauty and Undertow. We were fortunate enough to grab a few minutes of his time and it turned into one of the more eclectic Five Albums interviews we’ve done yet.
Without further ado, then, we preset Five Albums that Changed Chris McFarland’s Life.
Buffalo Tom – Birdbrain: I completely absorbed this album when it came out. It was the first thing that I loved sonically while also feeling as if it resembled things I was writing. I still hear its influence in what I write today, and Bill Janovitz is still a songwriting hero of mine. Tracks like “Skeleton Key” and “Fortune Teller” became a roadmap for how to craft my lyrics around a musical idea while keeping the chord changes from getting excessive.
Joy Division – Unknown Pleasures: There’s no shortage of flattering things that can be said about this masterpiece of a record; it creates and cradles a mood that never fully changes shape. Ian Curtis’s vulnerability is displayed on every single track, and the bass tone is just perfect. I would listen to this record on repeat for hours while scribbling away in my journal like a true angst-ridden teen.
Anthrax – Among The Living: For a long time, I dreamed exclusively of being in a metal band, and this is what we sounded like in my head. I could play all the riffs and gallop on my E string, but when it came to writing in that style I always drew a blank. I still dream of having a metal band, and every time I pick up an electric guitar something from this record comes out of it.
Ryan Adams – Gold: This defined the modern singer/songwriter for me. I was a casual Whiskeytown town fan, but this album solidified my stance on Ryan. His vocals are so tender, and he delivers them in such a way that they seemed meant just for you. “Harder Now That It’s Over” is the heartslayer, all while maintaining just enough playfulness to give you hope.
Hayden – Everything I Long For: I’m continually amazed that Hayden is not a household name. Although this record still has the feel of a demo in certain parts, I immediately felt like I was hearing something special. I couldn’t remember anyone before taking things that I loved about bands like Beat Happening, songwriters like Neil Young and Springsteen, and cramming them into a Lo-Fi benchmark. The howl and flat vocal, the rhyme scheme, the dirty acoustic guitars that were barely hanging on to the tuning they were placed in. The simple storytelling was inspirational.
If you are curious to hear how all these influences come together in McFarland’s work, check out “Simple Selfish Plan” from Beauty and Undertow.
Chris McFarland Tour Dates
09/13 Seattle, WA @ Slims Last Resort Saloon
09/14 Portland, OR @ The Blue Monk
09/16 Portland, OR @ Dante’s
09/17 Boise, ID @ Shredders
09/18 Salt Lake City, UT @ The Heavy Metal Shop In-Store, 5PM
09/18 Salt Lake City, UT @ Burt’s Tiki Lounge 9PM
09/19 Fort Collins, CO @ Surfside 7
09/20 Denver, CO @ 3 Kings Tavern
09/21 Sioux Falls, SD @ Latitude 44
09/22 Chicago, IL @ Brauer House
09/24 Columbus, OH @ Bernie’s
09/26 Albany, NY @ Pauly’s Hotel
09/27 Cambridge, MA @ All Asia