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A Dirty Dozen with CHRIS BULLINGER – April 2024

| 2 April 2024 | Reply

According to a recent press release: “Poet and singer-songwriter Chris Bullinger has released “How To Bleed (Castle Sessions),” an acoustic reimagining of the title track from his latest full-length album, out now. This intimate version brings a new depth to the song, showcasing Chris’s soulful vocals and intricate guitar work. Recorded in the serene ambiance of the Castle Studios in Franklin, TN, this track not only highlights Bullinger’s past achievements but also paves the way for his future, as he prepares to release a bold slate of new material this year.” We get Chris to discuss new music, influences, and more.

1. Tell us a little about your latest release. What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through? Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

The Castle Sessions is me on acoustic and vocals and my buddy and band leader, Josh Halper, on electric guitar playing three of the songs off How to Bleed. Here’s something to think about: when I write songs they sound more like this version to me — compared to how most listeners first hear the song after it’s been recorded in studio with a full band — because the songs almost always start out with just me on acoustic or electric. So to me whatever the fans first hear as THE song, to me is just a version of the song that happened to be captured at a point in time. Listen through a couple times, and it’s not tough to hear how the song can take on multiple lives. A little hidden nugget that might be more evident in my poetry than my songs — but it’s in at least a couple of the songs that have been released — is the blackbird.

2. What got you into music and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

Well, we didn’t sit around on the front porch playing music when I was little. So it’s not that. My dad did used to play old folk songs on the electric organ. Not sure how that makes sense but maybe that’s what first hooked me.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

If I recall correctly the first two albums I ever bought were Kenny Rogers and KISS. While one might readily argue that I have much stronger influences than those two artists, I think that combination sums it up pretty well.

4. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

I’m pretty stoked with the crew that was in studio to record Waitin’ to Be Seen, a double album being released this year. We’re going back into the studio this summer again to keep it goin’. To more directly answer the question, I’ve gotta imagine it’d be pretty cool to do something with Lukas Nelson. His apparent ability to move musically through country and rock and lyrically from clever to profound would probably mesh up well with mine, and we might even find some untapped crazy in each other.

5. What is your favorite activity when out of the studio and/or not on tour? What do you like to do to unwind?

I like sitting alone in dive bars no matter how many people are there.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

Sounds like music recorded in a garage at 2 AM in the 1970s which you would wanna listen to at a time when you’d still hitchhike across the US. The comparison that would make me cringe — and I don’t think a reviewer has ever compared me to ‘em — is The Rolling Stones. That’s impossible. Like The Beatles. Or Dylan. Or Willie, Waylon, Merle.

7. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

Not sure I’ve ever been starstruck as most people think about it. The people who most impress me are a bit less famous. Not because less famous people are necessarily more impressive. Fame just doesn’t factor into it for me.

8. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

Being a musician provides me a method to connect. To reach people I might otherwise not. I really do it for two reasons: 1) I can’t not and 2) to connect. If I weren’t a musician I’d write a lot more poetry.

9. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

An interesting line of questioning that I suppose one wouldn’t think to ask unless one has been through it or observed is about playing and creating alone versus with a band. To me they’re highly related certainly but not the same. For example I write alone. So the songs all start out as just my vocals and my guitar. That’s it. And a lot of the creativity and release and reaching out is happening right then and there. But then when playing with a band, the songs can take on a a whole new vibe. Additional creative elements come into. Instruments, tempo, solos, additional riffs, the general energy, and so much more. With the band, it’s a really collaborative process, all enhancing a song that evolved from some notion that decided to pass right through me for some reason. I really don’t like describing my music. Or maybe it’s not that I mind, but that I don’t know that I’ve come up with quite the answer I’m seeking. Although I’m getting close. Maybe if I’m asked a couple more times I’ll get it just right.

10. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

I’ve put my music aside for other endeavors — poetry, renewable power — at times. And I mean for years at a time. I’m really happy with what’s shakin’ now so yeah while I’m not sure it would’ve changed anything I probably would’ve not left the music waiting at times. But then again maybe it left me hangin’.

11. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Blonde on Blonde. It sounds like a mess: the process. Creativity ain’t nice and orderly. Being part of that creative process itself would’ve been somethin’. And that’s even if it hadn’t resulted in those songs.

12. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Yeah. While I imagine the songs that come through me are glad that I’ve sung them, I’m absolutely positive they’re thrilled to be listened to.






Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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