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Santa Maria Sun / Art

The following article was posted on August 25th, 2009, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 10, Issue 24 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 10, Issue 24

Here's the story

Chris Lambert kicks off the release of his latest concept album with a listening party

By SHELLY CONE


Altering perspective
Chris Lambert hopes to change how residents view the works of local artists by presenting an album listening party for the release of his latest concept album, The Great Dipso Drought.
PHOTO COURTESY CHRIS LAMBERT
Chris Lambert likes a good story. Most songwriters do. When he figured out how to tell a story of his own, there was no stopping him.

 

The Santa Maria musician started writing when he was 13 years old, but he was actually experimenting with writing on an acoustic guitar at the age of 9. Eventually, he amassed 19 or 20 unreleased full-length albums.

 

“I have a massive output,” he said. “I write really fast.”

 

He also writes whole albums at a time, rather than song by song, because he’s a fan of the concept album—
a collection of songs that, when put together, tell a full story. That’s the approach he took with his latest album, set to release Aug. 28.

 

The Great Dipso Drought tells the story of Julian, a boy abandoned by his alcoholic parents. Even after seeing the destruction alcohol wrought on his family, Julian takes the same road. His path leads him into a drunken delirium in which he one day sees—or thinks he sees—God, who tells him to climb to the top of Grandfather Mountain and “pour his bottles out,” lest he end up like his parents. So Julian sets out to fulfill his duty, meeting a strange cast of characters along the way.

 


Grab a seat
Join a listening party from 7 to 11 p.m. on Aug. 28 at the Lions Den, 126 S. Broadway in Old Orcutt, for the release of Chris Lambert’s latest album, The Great Dipso Drought. Admission is free, and refreshments will be provided at intermission. The event will include a full-length listen to the album, followed by a live acoustic performance of the music.
Lambert said that while the album has a definite storyline, he tries to write in such a way that the story has elements that can apply to anyone listening. He said this particular story wasn’t really descriptive of any events in his life, however he said alcoholism has touched the lives of his family. And though Lambert said he “doesn’t drink a drop,” he didn’t want the story to carry a message against drinking.

 

“I’m not trying to be anti-alcohol at all,” he explained. “I really just want people to sit down and experience this album like they would a movie, and I hope people can be endeared to [the album’s main character], knowing he’s a little bit crazy, and relate that to their own experience, because everyone’s a little crazy sometimes.”

Lambert said this album had strong influences from artists like Wilco, Whiskeytown, Ryan Adams, Death Cab for Cutie, Elliott Smith, Andrew Bird, and Iron and Wine. Using a long list of instruments, all played by himself, Lambert tells the story through indie rock-style songs.

Lambert said this album is a departure from his usual soft folk sound, which he compares to Elliot Smith and Nick Drake, with a lot of finger picking. Instead, he was influenced by country sounds, which he incorporated into his music—while being mindful not to make it a country album.

“I felt that this story was important to me and people could get something from it,” he said.

To kick off the album’s release, Lambert has scheduled a listening party and release show. The event will include a theater-style full-length listen to the album over a professional sound system. Following an intermission, Lambert will perform the album live and acoustic in its entirety, followed by a short set of his well-known songs.

 

Lambert said that by presenting his album this way, he hopes to change the way Santa Maria views its local artists—and the way performers approach their own art.

 

Arts Editor Shelly Cone writes concept articles. Contact her at scone@santamariasun.com.




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