Chris Velan On Unknown Sundays 11-2016

Let’s get right to it. For those of you that know me, follow me, I’m not Canadian. I just appreciate the long standing commitment to music that is CANADA. They have this unbelievable ability to harvest, develop and grow passionate, talented musicians from most genres (I’m still not sold on their Hip Hop/Rap abilities, sorry) like they’re fine grapes. Oh, yeah, you hear me Niagara Escarpment! Oh, back to appreciating Canadian music. So, needless-to-say, you know that I go out of my way to listen up when it comes to red maple leaf records against a white background.
So, how did I miss, Mr. Chris Velan? Damn good question.
With the influences of Neil Young, Cat Stevens, Robbie Robertson, and Bob Dylan, I should have been in line at the first release. Not the case. Glow, is the first album I’ve ever heard from the talented Mr. Velan, and there’s not doubt that his diverse musical talents sway and groove and move with a perfection of scholar of sorts. I’m in love with Glow from start to finish–especially the finish. The title track is saved for the end–and with very good reason, as it is an explanation point to it all. This is a fresh ear in the singer-songwriter list that continues to grow like those very grapes I was talking about.
Whether it’s that deep folk delivery, that jazz riff, or the tight and thought-provoking lyrics, you’re going to be locked into this Montreal music man. There’s plenty of music to catch up on, but I would start at Glow. You get an understanding for where his art is today (and this does represent a brilliant mix of those influences of his). Then go back to see the development. You’ll feel the styles of Jason Mraz in the earlier material like in “There You Are.” There’s songs “Batmobile” and “Bodycount” that are so carefully crafted in lyrics and tempo–that you can’t help but be sucked in. I’m still going through some of the back catalog, and I’m anxious to see if he gets picked up for the Rochester Jazz Festival (the closest local to Beyond Your Radio), but I’m sure you’re going to be seeing this traveling troubadour at festivals and opening acts around the globe.
As Chris Velan stated in his 2003 album, “It’s Not What You Think,” and he’s exactly that. So, that’s probably why I put his“Billie Jean” cover in this article…enjoy!

Chris Velan Albums in my collection:   Glow (2016)

This “Unknown Sundays” was done back on March 13th of 2016, and I had not come across Chris Velan albums in my seven year record store browsing, which is very unfortunate.  However, since this was on my radar because of this archive posting, I took a different approach and checked online sources, which ultimately led me to suddenly realize there’s a new record this year!  Coincidence — I’d like to think for the time I spend + money that the music multiverse will pay me back (right)?  “Songs About Songs” was released this weekend — I’m not kidding!  So naturally — I gave it a listen.  The songwriter is still writing great lyrics and melodies.  While this album seems to be in a more confident upbeat arena, it’s still in the belly of the working man’s life.  He still working the catchy and release from melody to lyrics like the pros I spoke about in the above article.  The production is simple and well done.  It seems like he’s probably a one man show in his pursuits, which fits the music, tone and flow very well.  While I probably realize at the conclusion of latest album, which comes again on the title track’s first listen (which is truly a song about songs — song writers lament) that he seems to be in a comfortable spot — I’m curious what would have happened if the Glow I remember met with a producer like, let’s say, Daniel Lanois?  While Chris is not in the mainstream for most, this music has a beautiful folked-up place in positive musicianship, whether it’s a big stage-sound, or being appreciated by a solitary unknown music nut like me in my basement.  – Mark Kuligowski  [May 21st 2023]

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