Christopher Denny

Location: Little Rock, AR

Chris Denny

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You can hear the ancient tug of gospel music in Christopher Denny's tunes: the ascending melodies, the swaying tempos, and the occasional bit of old-school organ. After all, he first learned to sing in church. Yet this is hardly holy music: Infused with a world-weariness that somehow never curdles into cynicism, Denny's songs work like dispatches from the dark side.

While there's no question that Age Old Hunger, his 11-song debut, showcases a strong new songwriting talent, there's something you'll notice before Denny's way with words: his voice. Singing in a high, trembling and almost pained tone, his voice has a timeless quality that sounds as if he could have been transplanted from another era.
"My singing voice is different from my speaking voice," Denny admits, but that's because singing serves a different function than speaking. In "The Stars Above And My Heart In Your Hands," one of the album's most stripped-down numbers, Denny illuminates the difference, using sound to reveal what words cannot.

Denny picked up his first guitar in church at age 14 and began writing songs. A revelation came at age 17, when he visited his great uncle. "I found this closet full of vinyl albums from guys like Lefty Frizzel and Hank Thompson. This stuff just blew me away; the emotion these guys would convey just by their voice was incredible." Soon afterwards, he wrote "Time" and felt he'd found his calling. After hearing a few of Denny's songs, his grandfather (also a musician) gave him a guitar, a hug and told him, "Son, you got a voice like I ain't never heard before."

The 23 year-old singer-songwriter from Little Rock, Arkansas has experienced confusion, sorrow and heartbreak. He's battled addiction, served time in jail and faced abandonment at an early age. "I sometimes wonder if I draw drama to myself just to have something to write about it," he laughs.

But as he'll be the first to tell you, these trials and tribulations don't necessarily distinguish Denny as someone worthy of attention. What sets Denny apart is what he makes out of those troubles-namely, the gorgeously haunting songs on Age Old Hunger.

Denny and his band, The Old Soles, began work on the album in February 2007. However, a week into recording, Denny realized there was a problem. "The producers and I had different visions of how these songs should go down. I knew exactly how I wanted this album to sound." Unhappy with the initial results, he left the studio along with his recording fund. Undeterred, he connected with Jason Weinheimer who offered to engineer the album in his Little Rock studio. Denny and the Old Soles quickly rehearsed all the arrangements and set back out to finish the album with Denny acting as producer. "Man, we tracked everything in 3 days flat with hardly any overdubs," Denny recalls.

In the album, Denny brings the listener to a place where danger and melancholy run as hard and as fast as the old locomotive he describes in "Westbound Train." Denny has never been big on the idea of writing from the perspectives of different characters-he says these accounts come from his own life. This assertion is easy to trust in tunes like "All Burned Up," where Denny describes in vivid detail "the love that we used to share," or "Time," a young man's version of an old man's blues.

So far, he's played very little outside his home-state comfort zone. But, with the release of his debut, he's ready to hit the road and perform in front of people with whom he hasn't spent years drinking and living (and, occasionally, fighting). In a way, Denny says, he's got no choice but to do it. "I don't have to imagine where I'd be without music," he says. "I already know."







Christopher Denny and the Old Soles live in NY

Age Old Hunger