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Santa Maria Sun / Music

The following article was posted on April 26th, 2018, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 19, Issue 8 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 19, Issue 8

Local singer/songwriter Chris Lambert cuts to the heart of creativity with release of his 11th solo album

By JOE PAYNE

Almost every year since he graduated high school, Chris Lambert has released a new album of original music. But his latest album is different—it was a struggle.


PROLIFIC PEN
Local singer/songwriter Chris Lambert will perform an album release party on May 11 at Boo Boo Records in SLO for his 11th studio album, The Constant Education of Christopher Lambert.
PHOTO COURTESY OF CHRIS LAMBERT

The Constant Education of Christopher Lambert was more than a year in the making and was released almost two years after his latest album, Lambert said. He took his time with the album after a serious creative crises that began in 2016, he explained.

“I had a bunch things in my personal life happen at that time that really sort of made me want to give up,” Lambert said. “I had people telling me, ‘I think you put too much effort on releasing an album, then you immediately start working on the next one, but you don’t spend any time promoting or trying to get successful.’

“That really bummed me out and for a while I was just like, ‘I won’t write songs for a while,’” he added. “I realized I was really punishing myself.”

Lambert is a prolific songwriter, and he spent nearly six months without writing a song. That’s a long time compared to what he’s used to.

“Constant motion,” he said. “I’m always working.”

The Constant Education of Christopher Lambert releases on May 9, and there’s an album release show on May 11 at Boo Boo Records. The album will be available to buy through his Bandcamp website either digitally, on CD, or cassette.

The new album sets a benchmark for Lambert’s work. His style is steeped in alternative and emo/folk music, from the sweeping chord progressions to his high, emotive tenor voice—but this collection has something more. It’s incredibly dynamic with real sonic depth and a clear vision.

The word “polished” comes to mind when listening to the opening track, “Think,” or its follow-up “((Be)(Here)(Now)).”

“I am blown away by that,” Lambert said. “To me this is still a very home-recorded, like one man in the studio by himself kind of thing, so I am blown away by that compliment when people say it sounds polished.”

Lambert is no stranger to the recording studio. He’s been recording music as long as he’s been writing it, he said.

“I started writing songs when I was 13 and immediately started recording them on a boombox with a cassette tape,” he said. “And each time that I demonstrated I was getting better, my parents would buy me the next step up. I got a four track, then I got an eight track, then I moved to a computer, I got Pro Tools.”

He focused on sound recording at Allan Hancock College to hone his skills with different microphones, software, and mixing techniques. Not too long ago, he began working as the main recording technician at Certain Sparks Music in Lompoc.

The gig at Certain Sparks has brought every kind of musician imaginable to Lambert’s technical attention, he said.

“Last week I recorded a 12-year-old girl singing the national anthem, and then this week I’m recording some hip-hop, and then I’m recording some mariachi, metal bands,” he said. “I never know what I’m gonna get.”


OUT SOON
Lambert’s new album, The Constant Education of Christopher Lambert, releases May 9. It’s a polished presentation of ambient folk/rock with lyrics that explore the struggle for mindfulness in a world that’s spinning.
IMAGE COURTESY OF CHRIS LAMBERT

Working hours and hours recording and mixing audio only cemented things he learned recording his own music over the years. The Constant Education of Christopher Lambert reflects that in more than just the title—the interplay of guitars and synthesizer, the clarity of certain instruments against atmospheric effects on others, and Lambert’s ability to write catchy hooks with poetic lyrics all illustrate the character of an artist enjoying exploration and expansion.

“I think a lot about the fact that when I’m doing work or engineering people’s stuff or doing my own, it’s pretty much the exact same job,” he said, “except, with mine, it’s more rewarding and fulfilling because I’m experimenting with things.”

The lyrical aspect of songwriting has always been front and center for Lambert. He often finds that he has more material than he can fit on any song or album, and so pairs down the verses to precisely what he wants to say.

The creative struggle he endured a few years ago is aired out in certain songs for sure, like the aforementioned “((Be)(Here)(Now)).”

“Deadlines looming over everything/I’ve got to get to work I don’t have time to sing/Just be here now, be here now,” the song goes.

The hook of the song, on the words “be here now,” has a natural feel to it. The lyric is a direct reference to the book, Be Here Now, by famous mindfulness promoter Ram Dass.

Mindfulness and “staying present” was a huge factor for Lambert in overcoming the creative rut he found himself in.

“A lot of this album was me trying to remind myself not to stress about the past, not to worry about the future, just try to stay in the moment,” he said.

Almost the entire album is Lambert’s vocals, guitar, or piano/synthesizer work. He did reach out to two musicians through an online contracting website, paying them per track for their contributions.

Matt Butler, who lives in Tennessee, contributed fretless bass to the album. Butler also later mastered the album, Lambert said, through his studio BMG Loft Studios.

Lambert live
Chris Lambert performs the opening set before Bart & The Bedazzled on April 28 at 7:30 p.m. at the Lompoc Wine Factory, 321 N. D St., Lompoc. The album release party for 'The Constant Education of Christopher Lambert' is May 11 at Boo Boo Records, 978 Monterey St., SLO. More info: (805) 541-0657 or chrislambert.bandcamp.com.

“I love the sound of ’80s fretless bass, like Jaco Pastorious,” he said. “You know how you sweep all the tones of the frequency? It’s more emotional and dynamic.”

Several of the songs have an Americana feel, including a couple with pedal steel guitar, a hallmark of country music. The pedal steel guitar player sent tracks recorded from Israel, Lambert said.

“I said, ‘I don’t want the country sound, I want a sort of ambient, clear sound,’” he said. “I wanted it for more texture and tone, and he sent back like three takes and said, ‘You choose whatever you want to do with it,’ and I spliced that a lot. I really liked that.”

The Constant Education of Christopher Lambert is a showcase of the qualities that make Lambert a notable artist, from the intricate finger style acoustic guitar parts to the honest and heartfelt songwriting. It’s also the sign of a maturing artist with a clear vision of what he wants from his music.

Choosing to commit to the creative life can be a struggle, Lambert said, from paying the bills to wondering how many people will actually listen to the new album. Either way, it’s just what he does, what he’s always done.

“My favorite thing in the world is creating,” he said. “I love being in the creative cycle.”

Managing Editor Joe Payne can’t stop the creative cycle. Contact him at jpayne@santamariasun.com.




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