Synaesthesia Magazine Americana - Page 10

“Usually there’s something going on for me, whatever I’m going through emotionally or spiritually, and it tends to be something that I feel like I need to digest and, I dunno, get out of my system or something. I don’t tend to think about what I’m writing about. I guess I just write from personal experience.”

It’s a feeling. Songwriting is an intuitive process, especially for Chris – less stories about other people, more stories about you and I. Her record How I Learned to See in the Dark is the epitome of this – her lyrics are a porch swing froing between confessions and reflections and understanding. “The things that make it uniquely American are those

of this – her lyrics are a porch swing froing between confessions and reflections and understanding. “The things that make it uniquely American are those southern manipulation sounds,” she says. “Like the banjo and lap steel guitar.”

When we talk about the themes in her music – relationships, time, letting go – she just puts it down to thoughts, like putting a million pieces of scrap paper together.

I ask if she has a secret to writing. “I wish I did,” she laughs. “I always have to write with my guitar. I actually met Gillian Welch this one time – I just ran into her walking one day, and told her that I’d covered one of her songs and she was one of my favourite songwriters. And she was like, I’m going for a walk, you wanna come?

“I’m not kidding... here I was talking to my favourite songwriter for about half an hour, walking on the beach in Santa Monica. We started talking about writing and she was quoting someone else, but she was saying that songwriting just gets tougher. You have to tap into different places and reinvent yourself and figure out what’s working for you now, and what’s not gonna work,” Chris pauses, smiles. “It was totally surreal meeting her.”

I love talking to people, who may be known for being a musician or actor, about other things, other interests. It lights them up. Suddenly they’re someone you can imagine talking with at a pub – for a second, you’re not a fan, or a journalist, or a stranger. You’re meeting on common grounds.

"There’s a darker underbelly to the Americana style"