Family Values

  • Artist: Chris Stills
  • Title: 100 Year Thing
  • Released: 1998
  • Format: CD
  • Genre: Folk Rock
  • Beverage of Choice: Peet’s Light Roast – French press

30 years after Crosby Stills Nash & Young ushered in the Summer of Love at Woodstock, the son of one of the most acclaimed musicians in the folk rock genre released this album to a collective yawn. The late 90’s was a tough time to be introducing a retro-acoustic set with a folksy/rocky aesthetic; the music-buying youth had already started to move away from CDs to MP3 pirate downloads which would be the format of choice by 2000 with the launch of Napster. For the mainstream, if it wasn’t Madonna, Cher or Celine Dion, you could basically forget about selling any large numbers of expensive CDs. I might be one of only a handful of people who actually paid good money for this CD when it was released. And I am glad I did! Christ Stills took his family legacy and ran with it: writing, arranging, playing and singing these songs with the aplomb and confidence of a 30-year veteran at the ripe old age of 24.

Now , there is a strong sense of déjà vu on some of the tracks, with Chris sounding like Steven a generation earlier, but that’s not a bad thing; Steven Stills is one of my favorite guitarists and I remember seeing him in concert in Lake Tahoe in the late 90’s (for an amazing $10 ticket fee) playing his favorite Gretsch and just generally having a great time under the radar. This album feels like that show; laid back, expertly crafted and fun.

The music is retro but modern-sounding in production values and arrangement. Acoustic guitar dominates but there are a smattering of electric lead breaks, Hammond organ fills and enough strong percussion to satisfy rock fans (check out “God Won’t Make You a Man” and “Lucifer & Jane”) as well as those yearning for those halcyon days of the late 60’s when everything was changing and love was all.

This is a solid album that deserves much more attention that it probably ever received and I still listen to it regularly as a reminder that you don’t have to be famous to be good.

Published by Rick Adams

Husband, father, music lover

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