Chris Weisman writes songs and teaches music from Brattleboro Vermont. He is jazz-trained and releases his stuff through lo-fi tape labels. A recipe for total accessibility! Moreover, Weisman rarely plays outside of Brattleboro. In an interview with Impose, Weisman explains that he doesn’t tour, in part, because touring requires you rocket yourself around the country on non-stop one-nighters. There’s no residencies on the road anymore and Weisman thinks it’s important to keep global warming in mind when you enter a business that asks you to sell yourself (short) on tanks of gas at a time. I’m interested in his take not because I think touring is an evil lifestyle, but because I bristle at touring musicians who make nonstop touring out to be the ultimate path of freedom. For some musicians it is. I wish there were more artists who tour in buses that run on vegetable oil. Why not? Should we as music consumers consider that a lot of our support of musicians goes right to Shell, BP, Mobil? Like any lifestyle/profession, it is a personal choice–I was just happy to see Weisman articulate an interesting justification of his own choices.

On one hand, Weisman’s choice to eschew anything beyond writing songs should place paramount importance on those songs. But here I’ve gone and given you an impression of his work based on that choice alone. Damn me. I find the jazzy, commerce-resistant, rural, lo-fi, educator-type person very accessible and interesting. I love Weisman’s songs.

“Cold chimney, claw-foot tub / I want to be your man”

Weisman characterizes his recorded songs as “bonus flowers” in his main garden of teaching, in the ever-cycling soils of music that pass through the dirt and air like shit and hydrogen. This record is all acoustic and, to me, breathes the same air as Tim Hardin, Karen Dalton, Happy & Artie Traum, Michael Hurley. There’s atonality in Weisman’s voice and chord progressions. I appreciate that he doesn’t settle into comfortable minor chord models. Still, the record is warm, familiar, and widely enjoyable. The songs sound timeless–definitely more radically so than conservatively. Weisman addresses his time-groove in the best and final song on the record, the title track:

“I remember apples, I remember music in a box / I was sleeping on a mattress and calling on a dream machine clock / I remember matches and I remember purpose, in a way / And I remember crashes as if I could’ve blocked a single day / In the holy life that’s coming, in the holy life that’s near / The trees are always growing, so you gotta remember what used to be here.”

I’m paying my dues in the Chris Weisman Preservation Society.

Buy The Holy Life That’s Coming on LP from NNA Tapes, on digital from Amazon. Find several other Weisman albums at the OSR Tapes bandcamp. Check out his charity-benefiting split single with the incredible Speedy Ortiz here.

Author: Mike Ostrov

Mike Ostrov relays the history of popular song on message boards and under rocks.