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Chris Dair - Crossroads to Freedom

Self Release

13 songs; 54:08 minutes

Styles: Guitar driven Modern Electric Blues

This album is some serious, and often amazing, guitar in a variety of styles, but listeners won't find out much about Chris Dair from the cover art and absent liner notes of his most recent CD, Crossroads to Freedom. From the one liner note, one will receive only one clue to this puzzle: “A collection of original Blues from Mississippi Delta to Chicago street written and performed by Chris Dair.” Fortunately for this reviewer, there was a sticker on the front of the CD announcing that he had a website. Aha! Here one will discover that Chris has earned the top spot on the Reverbnation blues charts in France and is also number one on the Blues Connections CD charts. Beyond that, the information is so sketchy, I am not sure if he is French or British. He’s French, I think, but he has sure spent a lot of time in England.

His website states, “Chris Dair was inspired to play the guitar at an early age by Manitas de Plata, who triggered a passion for guitar and a love of flamenco guitar. At age 14 he developed a passion for blues and gigged in London at venues like Ronnie Scotts with John Mayall, John McVie and George Melly. As a young lead guitarist, Chris jammed/played with many of the R&B and rock legends of our time, including Rory Gallagher, Jimmy Paige (sic), Ginger Baker, Captain Beefheart, Dave Davies (The Kinks), Mickey Finn (T-Rex), Mark Knopfler, Led Zeppelin, Peter Green, Jeff Beck. Most unforgettably, he played with the great blues legend Bukka White, and more recently Noel Redding (Jimi Hendrix Experience) and John Coughlan (Status Quo).”

Does that make him famous? Not on the U.S. blues scene, but that may come in time. He's definitely got the “raw material” of talent, technique, and state-of-the-art equipment to turn his guitar into a fiery narrator of almost every song on “Crossroads to Freedom.”
The CD is Chris Dair's fourth album and his first album completely dedicated to the blues. It consists of 13 tracks which are all originals. Familiar in styles such as B.B. King, Eric Clapton, and Jimi Hendrix, the CD’s only musician and vocalist Chris Dair. All of the bass, electric and acoustic guitars, harmonica, violin, and juice harp instruments are played by Dair, recorded and produced in is small studio at home. He also matches his vocals to each song’s particular style.

However, considerable passion and genuine feeling seems to be missing. Some people love to “hear themselves talk,” and a guitar (as wonderful as it is) can be much the same way. Only proven guitar gods like Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix (one of Dair's big influences) can play eight-minute-plus jams like this CD's title track without anybody getting tired.

Overall, “Crossroads to Freedom” is worth a listen, but notice the singular article here. Everybody deserves a chance, and this reviewer is glad that so many famous blues musicians have been willing to give Dair one.

Reviewer Rainey Wetnight is a 31-year-old female Blues fan. She brings the perspective of a younger blues fan to reviews. A child of 1980s music, she was strongly influenced by her father’s blues music collection.

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