New Tune : Chris J Norwood : I Need You (To Quit Breaking My Heart)

Photo credit: Alyssa Leigh Cates

Real talk here: A few months ago, when I spun up Chris J. Norwood's video for "The Final Girl" my first thought was, "Damn, I gotta remember to pay my accountant for doing my taxes this year."

No, that does not make me a bad person, because a few days ago when I heard Norwood's new tune, "I Need You (To Quit Breaking My Heart)," my first thought was, "Hey, I remember this cat. And I still need to pay my accountant."

I'm sure there's a lesson here about first impressions, but that's going to further detract from me dishing about Chris and his better half, Carrie. The couple live in Dallas, and have been making beautiful music together for roughly ten years. Beautiful, simple, honest music. And I wouldn't think twice about asking them to hold my extra set of house keys for those occasional nights when I've had a few too many, and throw my set into the river in some delusional act of defiance.

The first connection "I Need You (To Quit Breaking My Heart)" triggered was Jonathan Richman circa Jonathan Goes Country.

But as fun as that album is, one always gets the sense that the surly Richman is pulling one over on you. I never get that listening to The Norwoods. Quite the opposite. This music is so genuine that I almost find it unnerving. A better comparison might be the great, and sadly undervalued, Marshall Crenshaw.

That feels pretty good, but Norwood also calls to mind one of my all-time favorite bands, who just so happen to be fronted these day by the aforementioned Crenshaw, New Jersey's mighty Smithereens.

Obviously the late Pat DiNizio had a very different voice, but the jangly guitars, Brit-inspired harmonies and deceiving simplicity of the music, paired with the frankness of the lyrics, is definitely simpatico.

If you're intrigued by the Chris J Norwood and his missus, and would like to get into their good graces, you can start by digging up a copy of his 2017 debut, Longshot. Then cool your jets until I Am Not Cool drops on August 20th courtesy of the fine folks at State Fair Records, a tidy little label that has a mighty nice roster of artists. In the short term, if you're in the Dallas area, I recommend whipping up a nice appetizer and dropping in on their July 4th party this weekend. These are people who definitely have July 4th parties, and likely provide coolers chock full of really good beer.

And your appetizer doesn't even have to be fancy. Tortilla Pinwheels or Bacon Guac Bombs would be just fine.


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