Monday, January 14, 2008

CHAD NORDHOFF is THE REAL DEAL (whatever that is)

chad nordhoff
Some folks say that Chad Nordhoff is "The Real Deal". Like him I have no idea what that really means. Unless it means that what you play is what you are without a bunch of pretentious B.S. about being a "blues man" or some such. Bloomington Indiana (home of Johnny Cougarmelon) born and now Memphis living Nordhoff is one of those rare musicians that can play a music that some might describe as country or country blues or blues or whathaveyou but in the end and in reality is just that honest american sound of playing songs that you know and genre tag be damned. He's a fine song writer who's been (mis)fortunate enough to make some choices that gives him a deep well to draw from. Rockin' the metal in his youth led young Chad down the what some call the wrong path. A stint at County and vicinity and a mean car crash (EMTs called him hamburger) that wrecked his vocal chords and led to a series of surgeries left him unable to speak above a whisper for a couple years. A bad attitude and self-medication didn't help. Much. But Chad found driving around singing along to the healing powers of Hank Jr, Mr.David Allen Coe, Motorhead and Mr's Pop and Johnson started to turn him around a bit. And who hasn't felt that, me included? Well one thing led to another and pretty soon Nordhoff is doing four hour solo gigs and studying music theory till he knows it sideways. Then he sees Robert Belfour and for the most part, quite sensibly, tosses those "theories" right out the back window. Life has straightened up and stabilified for Chad Nordhoff since then what with having a day job and a lovely wife and baby gal on her way. But there's this new album he's got out now...this calling card if you will. Seven really fine originals plus a couple covers (Skip James' Crow Jane and Son House's Death Letter) and three "inspired by"s. Nordhoff has a fine dirty smokey voice which has been compared to that of Waylon Jennings. A picker since ten, his guitar playing is tough, solid, highly skilled and thoughful without being flashy. Mr. Nordhoff is a fine lyricist as well using strong imagery of family, heartbreak, loneliness and trouble without falling to trite obviousness. There is a subtle cool darkness that flows through the whole album that I find attractive and keeps my attention but I think the thing that I love the best about Chad Nordhoff's music is the fact that he stands solidly right between country and blues. That ain't country as in some bullsht soccer mom nashville baby formula country pop but as in Billy Joe Shaver or Waylon Jennings or Hank Williams Junior at their best. In fact one of the best things I can say, and I can say a hell of a lot about this album, is that if Hank Jr ever want's to put down his pole and prove that a country boy can in fact survive he need do nothing much more than simply cover most of Chad Nordhoff's album. It doesn't sound like Hank jr. It's what Hank Williams jr should sound like. Nordhoff's originals are blues in the way Skynyrd and Waylon and Chris Knight or myspaceTownes Van Zandt is blues and country in the way Robert Belfour is country. They are not...but yet. It's the sound of honesty and an utter lack of pretension. It ain't easy and it takes a deep well of talent and a special man to hoe two rows at the same time and make them one and Chad Nordhoff is the real deal that can do it.

You can get Chad's album direct from him at MySpace!
Chad Nordhoff @ MYSPACE

The Flesh Alone MP3
You're On Your Own MP3
Poor Boy MP3


No comments:

Post a Comment

So...leave a comment already. What?