Thursday, March 5, 2009
Chrissy Coughlin Looks Ahead To The Future
Sometimes it takes a life altering experience to change ones life and make them refocus. This is exactly what happened to Chrissy Coughlin. She knew that she wanted to pursue music, but it was the discovery of a tumor in her leg that gave her a new sense of direction. "I started singing in the ninth grade and gaining musical knowledge. I started writing in graduate school. I moved to DC and started playing live and gaining confidence. I was working in the environmental field and about 5 years ago the doctors discovered a tumor in my calf. It actually gave me the inspiration to make a change in my life. It was then that I decided to put all of my focus on my music," said Chrissy.
Chrissy is one of those unique artists whose vocals can transport you to another place. She does an amazing cover of "Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars" and you feel as if you are transported to a smoke filled jazz club and she's lying on top of the piano singing to you. It's a very sexy translation of the song. "My producer works with alot of Brazilian music and I've always loved the song. I've never sung the song, but I thought that I should give it a try. There is a part that is sung in Portuguese and I was very adamant about keeping that in there. I think it turned out pretty good," said Chrissy.
Another standout track on her newest cd "Look Ahead" is an interesting choice of a cover song, Robert Plant's "Big Log". I asked her how that cam about. "I wanted to do a cover of a song by a male vocalist and I have always loved that song. I wanted to do something, but not one that everyone knew automatically but not one that was very obscure. I also wanted to put a female twist to it. At the time, Robert was in the news because he was working on his collaboration with Allison Krauss. I told Tim , my guitarist, about it and that i wanted to do a kind of bluesy cover of it."
Chrissy's cd "Look Ahead" also contains very personal songs that touch on the human emotion element of everyday life. "I write about whatever captures my eye. Whether it's observations of people in my life or just walking down the street and seeing something that catches my attention. Some of my songs are about personal relationships. I want to write more about emotions and not necessarily about the environment." Listeners need to look no further than to standout tracks such as "Do It Out Of Love" and "Perfect Time" to hear fine examples of these.
So, who does Chrissy site as being inspirations in her musical journey? "I love Lucinda Williams. I love her grittiness and she just says it like it is. Her lyrics are very simple yet so powerful at the same time. I also love Patty Griffin. She is a poet with very soulful lyrics. You can actually picture what she is singing about because she's so elegant in her delivery. I think Stevie Nicks' vocal ability is just amazing. I think U2 is one of the few bands around who can actually get it all right."
Chrissy's sound is also one that crosses different classifications. She's a little pop, a little country, a little adult contemporary. Songs such as "Perfect Time" or "Back To You" actually have a Sara Evans kind of feel to them. "Look Ahead" also has a certain Sheryl Crowe feel to it. "I don't really follow country closely, but I do know it. I think country fans are some of the most loyal fans out there. I love the comparisons."
Chrissy hopes to do a few mini tours around the Boston, Portland and DC areas to share her music with the masses. No big tours are in the plans right now, just smaller, regional ones. I concluded my interview with Chrissy by asking her if she was trapped on a desert island with only one cd, what would be her choice? "It would have to be something powerful. Probably REM's 'Murmur'. That was such a great release for them. The songs just take me to another place, it definitely relaxes me. Their earlier stuff was just so amazing."
It's easy to listen to Chrissy's cd and hear her influences. Her vocals have a calming, soothing sense to them. Just like her influence Patty Griffin, Chrissy's lyrics do enable the listener to see what she is singing about. Her lyrics touch you and you can feel and hear the emotion in them. Check her out on MySpace or her personal website, www.chrissymusic.com.