Chris Russell’s Chicken Walk

Chris Russell is the Colonel Sanders of the Melbourne music scene: an entrepreneur coated with Southern American style, and evidently some sort of fondness for chickens. His American style comes in the form of low down, badass, rockin’ Mississippi blues.

Russell started out as a clucky youngster, twanging his guitar on the local bar circuit. After 20 years of toiling away with no real success, he started a new – although still one man – band Chris Russell’s Chicken Walk, and started serving up what he calls Chrississippian music; “Hill Country juke joint party ass blues”. His knack for the melancholy came naturally from running between multiple shitty jobs at the same time as playing the blues, writing about his own experiences and fried up with plenty of metaphors to achieve the necessary universal misery. He also attributes it to Mississippi being a place he feels ‘home’, pointing out that when he first visited the spiritual homeland, he could hear the music in the silence; “it was as if musicians from this area – from Muddy Waters to Robert ‘Wolfman’ Belfour – had plugged their guitars straight into the soil and blues had come pouring out”. Deep.

chris russell's chicken walkChris Russell’s Chicken Walk sounds like the soundtrack to your dirty, dirty roadtrip through Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. Time to get down.

After recruiting (now departed) drummer Dean Muller, they formed a raw and rambunctious partnership, the two-piece releasing two full length albums. Their 2012 self-titled LP exhibited the duo’s ability to create captivating, intricate songs with the right dose of dirty deep reverb. Their 2013 follow-up Shakedown displays a more matured, steady sound, with guttural guitar riffs and vocal lines baring the confidence of richer, fuller songwriting.  Each song on Shakedown was recorded in just two takes, gleaming with honesty and natural grit, truly capturing the rawness of the bluesy guitar, allowing the pair to achieve an impossibly large live sound, or as Chris likes to call it, “real, living music”. A bunch of their live recordings are available for free download from their Bandcamp page.

Chicken Walk is balls to the wall, primal blues driven by a dirty, dirty guitar tone. The superb distorted riffs and solos deserve recognition alone, and when reinforced by Chris’ southern swaggery drawl, are just an organ away from The Black Keys’ modernised bluesy rock. However, they aren’t short sharp pop songs, with the vast majority pushing over five minutes up to six or seven, with the guitar singing all the way through. Check out Chris channelling bluesy Elvis on Mississippi River or the operatic Bad Motherfucker, a 100% badass rocker that could fit straight into a Tarantino movie. Chris Russell’s Chicken Walk has barely scratched the surface with a new album aiming to be out this year. If you’re around Tallarook, Victoria, grab a piece at Boogie 8 over the Easter long weekend.



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