Debut albums from the offspring of rock stars often have the panache of a train wreck…you HAVE to hear it…you can’t turn your eyes/ears away…where are the influences? How much of an impact did Dad/Mom have on the finished product? Like political dynasties (Clintons), will the world be waiting for the debut album of CSN&YII?
I’ll admit…any child of a rock superstar has some formidable hurdles to overcome. If the kid sounds like the parent…what a concept…they’re dismissed as derivative. On the other hand, if they stray too far from mom/dad’s sound, hey run the risk of being too unfamiliar to the market. Rufus Wainwright has successfully avoided the parental connections and has established a sound that is uniquely his. Where is Julian Lennon these days? Bottom line…these kids are often strong evidence that the talent gene is not a given across generations.
My first listening of this cd couldn’t resist the usual comparisons. Yep…he has a gritty delivery like his Dad’s (Stephen Stills---Buffalo Springfield…CSN…CSN&Y…Manassas). Interestingly, Chris Stills’ vocal delivery is closer to David Crosby…he comes across as a latter day Steve Miller. The arrangements are typically Seventies-oriented…what a surprise. The cd is at its strongest when Stills is featured solo with only an acoustic guitar…he has some moments on “”Sweet California” and “Golden Hour” that cut anything his Dad ever did. There are some throwaways…”interlude” is just unnecessary…as is “Demon” (sung in French).
Still (no pun intended), Chris Stills bears some watching. If he can move away from Seventies arrangements and develop his own sound…he can be a formidable force. His debut is not an earth-shattering occurrence…but simply a “heads up”...watch this kid…he could be something. Look forward to his next release.