For Hans Chew, best known as the honky-tonk pianist and auxiliary vocalist behind brooklyn’s psychedelic Americana outfit D. Charles Speer & The Helix, Tennessee & Other Stories… is the culmination of many paths leading out of the wilderness. His tale is a coming-of-age-story starting with a narrowly averted self-destruction and concluding in a painful resurrection and this is the theme which is expertly woven musically and thematically throughout the album.
Chew pays homage to his southern beginnings, a lineage that includes tobacco farmers and methodists, bluegrass musicians and evangelists, gamblers and drunks. The Tenneessee Trilogy – Old Monteagle & Muscadine, Carry Me Bury Me, and I Would There Was A Train – start the album off with a bang and quickly immerse the listener into the album’s dark and introspective mood set to a soundtrack of acoustic and electric guitars, pedal steel, banjo, mandolin and organ.
Elsewhere numbers like New Cypress Grove Boogie and Forever Again both demonstrate the deep attraction and magic that drew Chew, like so many previous practitioners, to the piano. Forever Again utilizes a Tulsa-oriented piano-funk as the central basis of its gospel-blues choral promise of death, while New Cypress Grove Boogie serves up more of a New Orleans styled jaunt.
Tennessee & Other Stories… is an extremely strong and confident record from start to finish, one that establishes Hans Chew as both a unique addition to and significant voice within America’s current outsider scene.
The album can be bought from Three Lobed Recordings here.
Visit his MySpace here.
Download Hans Chew – Old Monteagle & Muscadine (Tennessee Pt. 1) mp3 (from Tennessee & Other Stories…)
Download Hans Chew – New Cypress Grove Boogie mp3 ((from Tennessee & Other Stories…)