Christopher Denny

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During SXSW ’13, Christopher Denny had the 8PM slot for the Partisan Showcase. A relative unknown, without a new album out, the club was half-full at best. Earlier that day, I got some of the lowdown on Denny’s troubles with addiction that led to many problems, one being the interminable delay in following up 2007’s Age Old Hunger.

As the show went on, I met Denny’s mother and his wife. They seemed to be viewing the festivities with a mix of excitement, apprehension and protection. On one hand, it must have been great to see him up there but the sobriety is such a fragile thing. Denny put on an amazing set and I met some real nice people, including Denny himself – been looking forward to this album since. As 2013 came to an end with no album, I got nervous that Denny had slipped backwards. I was told all was good; sit tight and 2014 will see the release.

It finally is here and while I can’t speak for Denny; I will say the wait was worth it. It is brilliant – a genuine Americana album that bounces between heartbreaking and uplifting. “The album was inspired by my struggles,” Denny says. “The moments in my life that caused me the most hurt and brought me the most beauty. The songs deal with the self-loathing, fear and thoughts of inadequacy we all struggle with, something I call soft suicide.”

God’s Height views Denny’s feelings of inadequacy and shortcoming as he can’t seem to measure up to his wife/girlfriend. It’d seem that this song was born from those early tough times when Denny couldn’t seem to move his life forward. It’s a wonderfully written track with some astute lyrics.

A few songs later, Watch Me Shine strikes a redemptive tone. While I’ve never had any struggles with addiction, I’ve been figuratively been smacked in the gob a few times. Its easy to get down yourself and wallow. This song is for the fighter in all of us. When the chips are down, and you don’t think you can move one step forward, this track is for that time. Its got a groovy little guitar lick in it and Denny delivers the goods.

It might have taken Denny a while to get this point. I know he has a lot of good people in his corner now, and many others pulling for him. This is another step in the journey. If The Roses Don’t Kill Us is an amazing and timeless piece of Americana. It is out on Tuesday and he’s hitting the road with another HearYa favorite, Strand of Oaks.

Follow me on HearYa at @WoodyHearYa

Christopher Denny is here

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I have been waiting for this for what seems like forever. Even since Partisan Records PR Guru, Shira Knishkowy suggested I see Christopher Denny at SXSW in 2013; I have been anxiously awaiting his album. But for all my impatience, it is nothing considered to the path that has led Denny to this point.

Denny has been battling addictions for a stretch of time that has led to the delay of his Partisan debut. Partisan Records founder Chris Putnam has this to say about Denny, “I saw Chris perform in the back of a club in New York in 2006. He had the kind of timeless, ethereal voice you seldom hear. There’s a sad, beautiful rhythm and poetry in his music that’s hard to wrap my head around. When I started the label, I searched him out and we made an album in upstate NY with versions of some of the songs on Roses. Chris was a mess. Although the album had some incredible moments, it was put aside. Chris went on a massive personal decline and we lost contact. In 2010, when he was putting his life back together, he got in touch. He was in recovery and we made If The Roses Don’t Kill Us. In the process, Chris and his music experienced a rebirth.”

Denny’s voice has a beautiful warble to it and you’ll easily be reminded of Roy Orbison. I have had the pleasure of seeing him live twice and both were wonderful performances. The lead track, Our Kind of Love features Erika Wennerstrom of The Heartless Bastards and its every bit as good as you would imagine.

Follow me on Twitter at @WoodyHearYa

Christopher Denny is here

Heartless Bastards are here. Our sessions with Heartless Bastards are here and here

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Christopher Denny – SXSW Discovery

by Woody on March 21, 2013

Last year at SXSW my friend Shira told me trek clear across town from South Austin up to Central Presbyterian to catch Field Report. That seemed to work out pretty well and we’ll have a session coming up with them soon enough. Well, this year I ran into her at the show for He’s My Brother, She’s My Sister during the daytime festivities on Wednesday. I told her that I would be showing up at the Partisan party that night and she made it a point to make sure I showed up at 8 to see Christopher Denny. She said I would be watching a young troubadour in the vein of Roy Orbison.

So I trekked my way over there at 8PM and once again, Shira was bang on. As I stood there slack-jawed watching Denny, I heard of his troubles. I met his mom and I believe his wife, as well as the man himself. He is supremely talented and I really hope he has turned the corner; both for him and selfishly for myself – as I would like to see him continuously churn out music and tours. Here is a video from a few years back to give you a taste. Hopefully, we will see something out on Partisan later this year.

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