Singer/Songwriter Chris Chitsey Releases New Single/Video

Chris Chitsey is working hard to save true country music from the forces of big city commerciality that would see it butchered and sold off to the pop music market, and in his new single “Every Small Town,” he issues a gilded recollection through a small-town ballad with just enough swing to get you swaying. While I wouldn’t call it hook-dependent, “Every Small Town” boasts a sweet harmony in its chorus that is almost guaranteed to get stuck in your head after even a cursory listening session. Its red, white, and blue melodies aren’t as common as they once were in country; sad as it is to admit, they’re somewhat of a diamond in the rough these days.

The guitars in this track are loud and proud when they’re given the floor, but next to the textured violin parts, I don’t think they’re quite as important to the construction of the trademark harmony here. Rather than focusing everything on his lyrical delivery, as most of his competitors in mainstream country music would have done, Chitsey is spreading out the catharsis here and allowing for the instrumentation to serve as the cornerstone of the big thrills and chills, which is another reason to believe in his eminence this summer.

Chris Chitsey – Every Small Town (Official Music Video)

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There’s an amazingly tuneful element to the light reverb on the percussion here that makes it feel even more like a live session than it does something recorded on multitrack inside the confines of a professional studio. It’s interesting how a little goes such a long way when developing the kind of country tone that Chitsey has been since getting into the headlines with 2000’s “With a Body Like That,” and to a large degree, he’s setting the kind of example that this new generation of players is really in need of following now that the hybridity of new country is taking shape on the FM dial.

Though he’s shown us plenty of chops with the microphone in his hand before the release of this latest single, I think that Chris Chitsey’s vocal is at the most unguarded state we’ve ever heard it before in “Every Small Town.” His heart is on his sleeve, and even though the backing band is putting some extra mustard on this dog by the time we wrap around the chorus, there isn’t a solitary instance of the main focus in the music drifting away from where Chitsey wants it to be.

Indie country is exploding like few could have anticipated this summer, and if you look at the big picture as I have, artists like Chris Chitsey are the number one reason why. Chitsey is playing for the sake of an entire culture here, and while he comes from an occasionally experimental scene, he’s putting together the most in-depth and emotive country sound of anyone in his scene with the release of this track. I have a good feeling about what’s awaiting him in the future, and if you haven’t already, I’d give “Every Small Town” a close listen this month.

Clay Burton