Born in rural Missouri and living most recently in Chicago, Chris Darby is a folk musician whose true home is anywhere his music takes him. Though his singing sometimes reaches the ferocious roar of a territorial lion and other times sinks to the gentle whisper of a wise sage, his vocal style embodies a rare emotional honesty which captures the full range and depth of his life experience. Likewise, his dynamic guitar playing gracefully shifts between hypnotic arpeggios and the building crescendo of an oncoming train. With several albums from his folk band Them Damn Kids behind him, he hit the road as a solo artist in 2010.
For the past few years, Chris has been anchored by a range of gritty day jobs, ranging from bike messenger, carpenter, and bus boy. While these jobs have provided him with the flexibility to pursue his musical passion, they have also grounded him and shaped his lyrical voice. In 2007, studying in depth a simple life which makes musical freedom possible, Chris hiked the length of the Appalachian trail, realizing that “things which once held sway in my life, simply did not matter anymore.” Worldly possessions, which he largely shuns, would only distract from his purpose. What matters to him most is music.
Much of Chris’ musical development has taken place as the principle singer/songwriter of Them Damn Kids, a Chicago-based folk band. In an age where marketing is widely considered a key element for musical success, Them Damn Kids maintained a patient and old-fashioned approach to achieving success- relentless touring. The band has played over 300 live shows, from coffee shops to bars, from farmers markets to art centers. While the realities of life on the road have worn down many aspiring musicians, Chris has survived even overnight drives when the driver and all passengers fell asleep at the same time- and has emerged eager to play more.
Chris’ commitment to music extends far beyond the interest of his own work and his own band. Since 2004, he has hosted a bi-monthly songwriter series, first in his own house and later in public venues. These showcases brought together various local and touring folk musicians, exposing them to new audiences. Chris has supported the touring artists, kindred spirits, with a place to stay and gas money collected via pass-the-hat from a growing list of folk enthusiasts in Chicago.
In December 2009, he completed an ambitious challenge posed by the Sixty Years War Collective by writing 31 songs in 31 days. A few of these songs will join his already expansive repertoire as he hits the road in 2010. Much like a stalk of corn raised in the Midwestern heartland, sustained by scant nutrients and occasional sunlight, Chris is ready to be harvested and emerge as a solo artist to be consumed by folk enthusiasts across America.
Notes | Permalink