By Bea Willis
Chris Stills is a singer songwriter and guitarist that creates music that is appealing and honest and that crosses a wide range of emotions through love and hardships. Stills, the son of American rock musician Stephen Stills and French singer-songwriter Veronique Sanson, was raised between Paris and Los Angeles. His multicultural influences are infused in his work as a singer-songwriter and actor. The self-reflective and atmospheric album is called Don’t Be Afraid. The eleven tracks were recorded over the last couple of years and features three co-writers highlighting new and old friendships. Two with David Saw on “The Weekend” and “In Love Again,” and the other with Ryan Adams on “Criminal Mind.” Stills recorded at his studio, Pax Am in Hollywood. Stills uses a very special touch and strong vocals coupled with solid songwriting.
“The Weekend” has a hip acoustic guitar figure that Saw plays electric guitar over and sings backup with Stills. Stills lyrics are light and about life. The two have a chemistry and the co-writing is very successful. Stills’ voice is natural and fits perfectly with the style he is presenting. The interlude is nice, and the vocal harmonies add interest. This is simply good music for evenings with friends.
Stills gets some help from bassist Michael Chaves, drummer Blair Sinta and strings by Oliver Krasuss on “This Summer Love.” Stills’ lyrics are enjoyable and to the point. The music has a feel-good vibe with a nice beat and sensibility. Stills again shows his penchant for writing strong melodies and catchy choruses. The result is an upright listen. Stills plays nice nylon-strung guitar parts too.
Each song on Don’t Be Afraid is interesting, and there is a great variety in styles and textures from track to track. Stills understands how to present a singer/songwriter album that avoids the repetitive feel and mono-color that plagues many in the genre. Like his father, Stills has distinguished voice and song writing abilities. Stills aptitude to interject his life experiences and influences into each song makes them believable and more importantly, enjoyable. Recommended
Tracks to sample first: “The Weekend,” “This Summer Love,” and “Lonely Nights.” The song to take a chance on is “Leaving You Behind.”