REVIEW: Chris St. John— Fly Away (LP)
Fly Away is the newest single by Singer/Songwriter, Chris St. John. It’s hard to pigeonhole Chris into a certain genre, and this album only serves to further establish that. With elements of Adult Alternative, Country, Folk, and Americana, you would think that Fly Away is a tremendously mercurial effort. While it’s true that the record is an amalgam of styles, it all blends together much more fluidly than one might presume. St. John has a knack for sophisticated arrangements that end up sounding quite effortless.
Somewhat paradoxically, violins are prominently featured on the otherwise bright and up tempo, “My Sunrise.” Lyrically, the piece is a bit non-linear, but the overall mood is achieved. “My Sunrise” is essentially a love song, told from the perspective of someone at several different eras in their life. “Fly Away,” which is of course the title track, tackles the issues of raising children and how rapidly the time with them goes by. It’s an autobiographical piece that Chris wrote about his relationship with his son.
“Me And You,” comes charging at you with a bit more zeal than the rest of the record. The drums on this track are particularly tasty, with a brightly tuned snare that really drives the piece. Speaking of driving, “Me And You,” has that speeding down a desert highway vibe to it, and is generally just a fun song. Chris paints an immersive visual with plush lyrics. The backup vocalist also really complements St. John’s sometimes deadpan delivery.
“Look For Me,” sees Chris turning inward for a moment of self-reflection. This sort of anima is revisited on the record a few times, but it’s especially notable here. Chris’s voice pines for a deeper understanding of his own purpose, as he laments his innermost thoughts over an easy listening backdrop. The slightly steel guitar on this track is a particularly effective addendum, that embellishes the song’s sustain. You could say that “Look For Me” is one of the key tracks on Fly Away.
When they’re gone/they’re gone for good/empty space there where they stood. Although, Chris delivers that line with his trademark gentility, there is something quite sobering and even disquieting about it. “The Disappear” is essentially a euphemistic piece on death, and credit to St. John for tackling such subject matter. This is the moment on the album that really challenges the listener to embrace the same self-reflection that Chris has throughout. A powerful song, “The Disappear” is worthy and in some ways necessary, of multiple revisits.
Fly Away is modern day Adult Contemporary that gets the plot. It doesn’t insist on one genre at the risk of alienating potential listeners. Instead, the album strives for a subtle form of musical integration. It’s likely to be a defining moment for Chris St. John as an artist, as it’s obvious how much of himself he gave to this project. It’s only fair then, that we take a flight with him on such a profound and ultimately rewarding journey.