Chris Rawlins isn’t exactly a household name within Americana music just yet but as you listen to his debut album Bring on the Rain you quickly come to understand that he will be very soon. Having been raised in the Midwestern US and now basing himself in Chicago, Rawlins has a curious amalgamation of inspiration that is based between rural and urban landscapes and lets him paint a truly unique picture for his listeners.
Rawlins himself is a truly stunning song-writer who doesn’t just use his deft hands for his finger-plucked guitar strings but also for his writing. His lyrics aren’t simply lyrics, they are more like tales, stories and poetry; all of which he has penned and adapted to suit his music and creating an album that reads like a mildly surrealistic novel. Focussing so much of his attention on the craftsmanship of his songs means that his audience are readily able to identify with so much of what he says. He has a warm, tender and passionate style that is conveyed by his sombre, melancholic vocals that allow him to perfectly convey the sentiments held within his work. Songs like Don’t Forget tap into the woes that almost every person alive either feels or has felt at some point in their lives; the fear of dying or mores specifically being forgotten in the past.
Bring on the Rain is far from a cheering album but it is one that is beautifully (and if a little hauntingly) realistic. It is rife with charmed melodies that are intertwined with his delicate and powerful lyrics that tug on your heartstrings with ease. What’s so absorbing in Rawlins work is that his interests are so aligned with that of the rest of the world. Bring on the Rain is a finely balanced album that encourages you to ask questions. It encourages you to think outside the box, not just listen to what you’re told but experience the world for yourself. It’s never going to be an album to warm you at the core and guard you from the woes of the world but it is certainly one that can help you come to understand them and find some manner of acceptance within them.
You can hear in Rawlins voice the deep and burning passion he has for his craft and Bring on the Rain is an invite not only for you to see into the light of the mind but for the world to bring on what it has in store, because Rawlins is ready to overcome anything that is thrown at him.
Review by Joe Knipe