Fri. Oct. 20 NEW YORK CITY
Rockwood Music Hall, Stage 3 196 Allen Street
The zeitgeist is a moving target, and Chris Barron has always been a crack shot. The New York songwriter is no longer the debutant who set out on the circuit’s sharp end in 1988 with $100, a battered acoustic guitar and a headful of the alt-rock anthems that would elevate Spin Doctors to global stardom. He’s a veteran approaching 50, living in a world changed beyond recognition, compelled to write the music that chronicles the here-and-now. As far back as he can remember, he’s had a hunger driving him onward, towards something just out of reach. In 2017, it propels him to Angels and One-Armed Jugglers (due out October 20 on Chrysanthemum Records), the culmination of a lifetime’s craft and a record both contemporary and classic.
The album is a deliciously diverse collection of songs and its concept was born on the 59th Street Bridge, as Barron drove home from Queens. “I wrote that title track on the steering wheel,” he reflects. “With that first line — ‘Angels and one-armed jugglers, sword-swallowers and smugglers’ — I was thinking about this woman who once lived next door to me, this old chorus girl. She was in her 80s at the time, always plying me with limoncello, telling me great stories about Broadway in the ’40s. And I always find, if you fall in with the title early on, you start to make a record that’s very thematic. But then, weirdly enough, I had a paralyzed vocal cord and I lost my voice. So I’m the one-armed juggler. Art imitates life.”
Angels and One-Armed Jugglers was engineered and co-produced by Roman Klun (Norah Jones, Ornette Coleman, Pete Seeger and many more) and features Saturday Night Live house drummer and esteemed musician Shawn Pelton. “I’ve taken stock of everything I’ve learned about music,” says Barron, “and I’ve got to a point now where I’m just following my nose. These songs range from old jazz standards to funky beer-hall folk tunes. But I’ve never really been that interested in genres. I’m just interested in songs. I think the reason it’s so eclectic is because the songs were chosen more thematically than based on genre.”
Billboard Magazine debuted the punchy first track “April and May” from the album with a news story here.
Barron celebrates the release of this new album with a live performance at Rockwood Music Hall’s Stage 3 on the day of release, October 20.