Has Bob Seger ever sung the blues
Keyword: Blue Highway
Carol Chase - Blue Highway - CD Review
What other band than Lynyrd Skynyrd has the luxury of having two great backing singers like Dale Krantz Rossington and Carol Chase in their ranks? The former has already proven her front woman qualities in the Rossington Collins / Rossington band phase, with Carol Chase this has long been suspected. A small sample was already given on the last Laidlaw album, when she performed the grandiose “Never Been A Reason” in a duet with Joey Pantera.
She is now providing lasting proof with her self-produced CD "Blue Highway".
Just looking at the cover, which is tastefully designed in gray, bluish-violet and reddish tones, and which contains all the texts and a few photos of the pretty artist, a certain sense of well-being spreads that is retained even when listening to the work. Of the musicians involved in the project, the highest ex-Lynyrd Skynyrd drummer Owen Hale and possibly guitarist George Marinelli (Bonnie Raitt) should be well known in these latitudes.
The CD starts with the great "Back To The Well", which reminds me a little of the style of the Van Zant albums. I hear similarities to "I'm A Want You Kinda Man". Strong entry! At the subsequent "I'm The Blues" the title speaks for itself. She lets the only song in which Carol did not play a leading role ("Gotta Serve Somebody" -Dylan cover) slide along in a funky-bluesy Bonnie Raitt manner.
"Let Go" is suitable for closing your eyes for a moment and enjoying the beautiful, calm melody and the excellent acoustic guitar playing. "Tears In Heaven" by Eric Clapton, but with a different theme (it's about a relationship that has just ended), comes to mind spontaneously.
There is a touch of country in the title track "Blue Highway". However, in the broadest sense it turns out to be a mix of Chris Isaak, Bob Seger (“Against The Wind”, because of the piano) and Dusty Springfield influences.
In general, I had actually expected a solo album by Carol Chase, produced in Nashville, to be more in the New Country genre, especially since she is mostly in the Mecca of this type of music. But if you are confronted with this stuff every day, it will probably hang out of your ears at some point. Hence their penchant for rhythm & blues, and so it is not surprising that “Tough Enough” breaks into this breach. Pretty rough and rocky. "In Your Life" is again a relaxing number, carried by soft tones, in which you just let Carol's voice work.
After that the highlight for me. “Said A Little Prayer” comes from the Rossington Collins Band just like “One Good Man” or “Misery Loves Company” back then. Great scratchy vocals and strong guitars create a southern rock feeling. Van Zant's character then has "The Sun's Gonna Shine Again" again, and the strong guitar work is striking again. Main team rock from the Kim Carnes brand reigns supreme at "I'm Gettin‘ Stronger ". Nice piano accompaniment, nice melody, great e-solo; light and easily digestible food. The blues rocker "A Woman That Perfect" rounds off a nice and likeable album that doesn't need to hide in any rock music collection and will definitely end up in my player more often.
Perhaps the big hit is missing, but overall a work that underlines my longstanding demand that Carol and Dale also be actively involved at the front at Skynyrd concerts in order to bring some life to the hackneyed and easily predictable program. It would certainly not harm Carol Chase's fame, so that the dream of a solo career comparable to her role models such as Melissa Etheridge, Bonnie Raitt or Sheryl Crow could one day become a reality. She always looks better than this, the musical potential is undoubtedly there. She has my blessing!
Malycon Music (2004)
Style: Rock & More
01. back to the well
02. I'm the blues
03. Gotta serve somebody
04. Let go
05. Blue Highway
06. tough enough
07. In Your Life
08.Said A Little Prayer
09. The Sun’s Gonna Shine Again
10. I'm getting stronger
11. A Woman That Perfect
Carol Chase (Lynyrd Skynyrd) - Interview
Sounds Of South: Carol, let me start with your CD. How are sales going?
Carol: Hello and thank you for reviewing my record. I want to say that sales are going well here in the US and in your area as well. I market my record in the US myself through my website carolchase.com, but in Europe I have a distribution deal with Halycon Music and things are going very well.
Sounds Of South: How were the reviews in the US?
Carol: The reviews have been very positive. My connection with Lynyrd Skynyrd gave me access to a lot of people in the business that I would otherwise not have been able to reach. Right now I'm working on getting my music on satellite radio as this market is really growing and they play artists who aren't signed to big labels like me.
Sounds Of South: How did Lynyrd Skynyrd members react to Blue Highway?
Carol: My 'comrades' from L.S. really wanted to hear what I had recorded here in Nashville. I played my CD on one of the long bus rides and they all supported the music. It seems we have all side projects running. There is so much talent in the band and when we are free neither of us can hold still any longer.
Sounds Of South: Do you want to go on tour with it? Maybe as Skynyrd support? Maybe even in Germany?
Carol: I would like to support my CD by touring. As the opener for Skynyrd - I don't know because it's a highly competitive place. One day we might have a night where everyone can shine with their own songs. That would be Blackfoot, the Outlaws, Dale Rossington, Van Zant etc. I would like to play in Europe when the time is right. I guess I'll take things as they come and let everything happen naturally.
Sounds Of South: How did the deal with Halycon come about?
Carol: My deal with Halycon came about after doing a telephone interview with a station in France. They had contacted me because they wanted to speak to one of the Skynyrd 'Honkettes'. At that point, I told them about my own CD and sent them a copy. They liked it and placed an order that sold very well. I think Michael Knippschild from Halycon found out about this from a friend of his who was also a dealer in my CD. Everything fell into place even though I had to devote myself to the entire deal 'on the go'. It can be a frustrating experience, but somehow I managed to meet the deadline.
Sounds Of South: What is your favorite song on the album and why?
Carol: As you can imagine, all the songs on my CD have a special meaning for me. I remember what I was thinking, the mood I was in and sharing with the various co-authors when the songs were being written. I really can't pick a favorite song, but as a fan of Chris Isaac I say that I really like “Blue Highway”. It reminds me of one of his songs. I love "I'm the Blues" because I can play it pretty well on the guitar, especially since a relationship was breaking up when I wrote it. It eased my heartache. “In your Life” - that's really fun to sing. I really can't really pick one out, but I hope that the audience will find one or more that they really like.
Sounds Of South: You work a lot in Nashville, so I was expecting a new country album. Why did you do a blues roots rock album?
Carol: I've never squeezed myself into a musical category and this CD is representative of the kind of music that comes naturally from me. Nashville has gone through a lot of changes in terms of the music that comes from there and I think an artist has to stay true to their own style. Otherwise you will find yourself chasing the current trend without setting up anything of your own.
Sounds Of South: What do you think of the New Country genre?
Carol: I think that New Country follows the socio-economic trend of the country. Traditional country wasn't nearly as polished and trimmed to 'pop' as the new music is. I like the music now, although many of the artists don't write their own music or live the life they sing about. Getting a big record deal here in Nashville has to do with how you look and sound, and that keeps a lot of real artists from ever signing a deal. This phenomenon has a lot to do with the power that music videos have.
Sounds Of South: This genre is growing in popularity in Germany, but the artists almost never appear here. Do you have any idea why that is?
Carol: I don't know why popular country artists don't perform more often in Europe. I suspect they have a comfortable life in the US and they just don't travel overseas that often unless it is financially worthwhile for them. Everyone I know likes to come to Germany and other European countries because the concert goers there are very benevolent and enthusiastic.
Sounds Of South: You had a wonderful duet on “Never been any Reason” from the latest Laidlaw record. How was working with the band?
Carol: I enjoyed working with the people from Laidlaw. They opened a lot of Skynyrd concerts and we've all become good friends. Then when they did that particular album, they recorded in Nashville and everything went great. They're really talented and so committed to what they're doing.
Sounds Of South: You are mainly known as one of the Skynyrd Honkettes. How can we, as non-musicians, imagine how background vocals develop? Does the songwriter dictate that exactly or does it come from gut instinct?
Carol: I think as the years go by I'm more and more recognizing the fact that I am part of the Southern Rock era of Lynyrd Skynyrd. I started singing 3 levels in harmony when I was 5 or 6 years old. I had two sisters who also sang and we always performed for my mother's 'music club'. I was always able to hear my part and I can't remember ever having trouble keeping my harmony part. I wanted to sing the melody ... louder than my sisters of course, but over time I found out that the mixed vocals ... well, the secret is in a good harmony group. Nobody else in my family continued to pursue the music business.
Sounds Of South: How is your working relationship with Dale Rossington?
Carol: I was absolutely thrilled to have the chance to work with Dale. I mean, she ended up being the lead singer for the Rossington-Collins band. I heard them back then and sang their songs on my show in Anaheim, California. She is a real rock and roll girl and always professional. Every evening when we are with L.S. go on stage, she says: ’Sing it as if it’s about you’! Oh yeah, Dale is great.
Sounds Of South: With a few exceptions, Skynyrd always plays old material, although the new band now has its own identity. Could you imagine performing some of your songs in a revised stage concept with Skynynrd as the band support?
Carol: I would immediately take the chance to have the Skynyrd line-up as a back-up on one or two of my songs. I've talked to Hughie Thomasson (The Outlaws, and now part of Skynyrd) about helping me with my next production. I think in the end we will all shine in the context of Skynyrd. It's only a matter of time.
Sounds Of South: I read somewhere that Melissa Etheridge and Sheryl Crow are your role models. Is that true and if so, why?
Carol: I don't necessarily have a role model or two to look up to, but I really admire all the girls who have paved their own way in rock. It's certainly a man's world and I think it's important to have class and style to stay on top. I think both Sheryl Crow and Melissa Etheridge did it, along with Bonnie Raitt, who is also one of my favorite performers.
Sounds Of South: What value do you think independent online magazines have for the contemporary music scene?
Carol: The music business has changed a lot in the past few years and that's a good thing. There are so many artists who needed a means of transport for their music. Not everyone gets a big record deal or wants one at all. Independent online music magazines are easy to reach and report on things that are important to them. You give a voice to many of those who would otherwise go unheard.
Sounds Of South: How often have you been to Germany and what impressed you?
Carol: I've been to Germany about 4 times and I just loved it every time. My ancestors on both sides of my family are from there, so I felt a certain attraction. I really like the clean streets, the great coffee and the good food, the architecture and the friendly people. I'm looking forward to coming back so that I can stay a little longer and take a closer look at the country. When we were there before, I was always on tour with the band and never got to see the sights the way I would like to. It's a wonderful and historic area.
Sounds Of South: Was it difficult for you as a single mother to gain a foothold in the music business? Did you get support when you needed it?
Carol: I've always looked after myself in the music business. I have a college degree in psychology, but even in college I sang and took care of myself. I had a record deal with a big label when I first lived in L.A., but my daughter was very small, 4 years old, and I was alone. After being away from her for a couple of weeks and traveling to promote my record, I realized I couldn't take this ... the whole deal, etc. So I started singing in clubs, kept myself afloat with commercials, and had different things going on that kept me in business. I've sung background vocals on numerous albums, wrote songs and was lucky enough to have landed some bigger country stuff. It wasn't until my daughter was older that I really started touring and doing this part of the business. I made great friends in the music business and I noticed that we all had to make a lot of sacrifices to be where we are. That's why we support each other so strongly.
Sounds Of South: You grew up in the Dakotas, in a beautiful landscape with really rough winters. Do you still live there
Carol: I grew up in northwestern North Dakota and attended the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks. When I was about 21 I moved to the west coast. My parents and my 3 siblings still live in Dakota - in Stanley - where I grew up. After college, I lived in L.A. for about 8 years, but now I'm in Nashville, Tennessee and I'm enjoying it. It's extremely cold in the winter in North Dakota, but I've read that the temperature there will be higher than normal for the next 10 years. That would be good. It is a beautiful piece of earth and my mother calls it "the furthest corner". You might be right.
Sounds Of South: Thank you for the informative interview.
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