Chris Dupont – Anxious Animal – Michigan singer songwriter shines on Civil War song

Chris Dupont’s sound is refreshing. His vocals are a comfortable high baritone and his melodies capture radiant joy. The country instrumentation and vocals give the album a feeling of comfort while remaining musically rich. There’s plenty in each composition to keep listeners coming back for more.

From the opening track “House” its evident that Dupont is not about the simplified three chord folk music of old. This is, instead, a much more complicated country sound. While Dupont could be successful going solo with a guitar, the full band sound works for his songs. The picking on “Easy Road (Bear)” is a nice introduction to a potential different sound for Dupont’s music. When the rest of the band joins the song, it comes back to the standard of his band. His songs are full of words, causing them to be driven more by almost-spoken lyrics rather than crooning melody lines.

“Brother” begins with a stripped down and subtle sound that shows off some of Dupont’s best writing. It’s a more complicated melody than it originally sounds. The easy lyrics deliver a message of honesty and relationship. It’s a comfortable track that could easily find a way on the speakers of a coffee shop. “So brother I’m gonna leave it up to you tonight…” helps to introduce an idea of reconciliation and reconnecting with family. It’s an important song for listeners dealing with interpersonal strife.

The first song I ever heard by Dupont and the one that got me hooked was “Dear Julia,” whose lyrics come from a letter written by Union General Ulysses S. Grant. This is, along with the final track, one of the best songs on this album. Dupont allows the words and music to flow together seamlessly in this track. While it’s a sad song set in a tragic era in American history, Dupont’s songwriting truly captures the romance of that time. It really is a work of art.

“Rest Up” is a love song of the highest order. It’s about caring for someone so that they can rest. It captures a beautiful moment. The beginning of “Washington Street” is again a welcome musical interlude among an album full of lyrics. The smooth, melodic beat keeps the song moving albeit in a lamenting tone. “I wanna feel safe in the bed where I lay. I think I might’ve gone and made it in the right place.” While the song is about a place, presumably a dangerous one, it seems also to be about an unhealthy relationship. It does a good job of reflecting on that theme throughout the track.

“Carry Your Love (Wolf)” features a violin that simply MUST be on any more of Dupont’s work. The give and take from the ambient guitar and the soft violin makes this song really transcend itself. What I mean is that it has that kind of mixed emotion that seems to be both comfortable and inspiring. The female vocalist is also quite helpful in making the track work. The two artists do what duets ought to do; they make one another sound better. It’s a fabulous way to end an album.

This is an album for fans of serious, lyrically-rich Americana or singer songwriter music. While it has moments that let the music stand alone, most of the songs on the album are vehicles to deliver lyrics. As I’ve written, “Dear Julia” and “Carry Your Love” are the best tracks on the album. It will be nice to hear the next installment of Dupont’s work with more songs like those.

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