Chadwick Stokes (does that name sound familiar? You might know him from State Radio or Dispatch, but his solo work is for real.) came by the station last week to play a few songs off his latest album, Horse Comanche (released on February 3rd). He tunes up quietly...
Chadwick Stokes (does that name sound familiar? You might know him from State Radio or Dispatch, but his solo work is for real.) came by the station last week to play a few songs off his latest album, Horse Comanche(released on February 3rd). He tunes up quietly and comfortably: he grew up listening to WBRU from his hometown in southern Massachusetts, and he’s been into the station before, although we all struggle to remember when. Was it for his last solo album, which came out in 2011? No, we decide, it was a couple years ago, with State Radio. This time, he’s alone, but his music fills the room and speaks for itself.
He plays three songs off the new album (listen below). “Pine Needle Tea” is moving, sweet, and quiet. He looks down quietly as he sings, appearing concentrated and peaceful. “I Want You Like a Seatbelt” is faster, with cascading and clever lyrics. The final song, “Our Lives Our Time” is upbeat. At one time, Chad breaks into a rap embedded in the rest of the rhythmic lyrics. The message is a political one, with lyrics calling out artistic repression, discrimination, and corporate greed. “If you wanna play, you’ve got to play the party lines,” he sings. This song, reminiscent of “The General” (for all you Dispatch fans), is part of Chad’s commitment to positive social change through his organization Calling All Crows and other avenues. That passion bleeds into his performance: he plays energetically, both knees move in time, the puff on white hat moving pendulously during the rap. And then, with a final chord, he’s done.
Chad is full of anecdotes that he drops with a quiet, self-deprecating smile. Before the interview starts, he warns, “I got hit in the mouth playing a hockey tournament over the weekend, so I’m afraid if I open my mouth too wide it’ll break open… Actually, three people were hit and bleeding.” Apparently it was a violent and eventful tournament. Luckily, we make it through the interview without any blood. One interview highlight: Chad says he likes rhyming and rapping, but probably wouldn’t ever do a straight hip-hop album …unless someone approached him. So maybe we can hope for more Chadwick Stokes hip-hop in the future.
Watch the videos below!
Photos courtesy of Media Director Sam SaVaun
Openers Big Thief + headliner Chadwick Stokes at The Met 2/24/15
Concert photos courtesy of staff photographer Beth Desta