Chris Standring

Chris Standring’s 2010 album Blue Bolero was a huge success. It topped many year-end lists, and even reached No. It was a difficult act to follow for the guitarist. Standring managed to pull off Electric Wonderland (March 20, 2012 at Ultimate Vibe Recordings), which is a 10-song CD with original songs. It combines elements from Blue Bolero’s orchestral touches and a jazz-pop edge that has been a hallmark in Standring’s remarkable career. Standring says, “I feel it’s an extension to Blue Bolero but a bit more playful u0026 upbeat.” It also turned out dreamier. When I was naming the CD, I decided to combine the two. Electric Wonderland’s long-standing fans and guitar aficionados may be familiar with Standring’s new endeavors. In keeping with the title of the CD, Standring has traded his archtop, which produces a more acoustic sound, for a Fender Stratocaster. Its solid-body and strings give his music a more expressive sound. Standring states that the Fender Strat guitar has an electric quality. “Because of my jazz background, I wanted that instrument to have a jazz sound, but also to allow me to express myself in the same way as a rock guitarist, like by bending the strings. Standring also made another change to Electric Wonderland. He threw away his pick. This results in a change in tone, and a more intimate and personal experience for the listener. I went through a period where I wasn’t enjoying hearing myself pick with a pick. It stopped me from expressing what I wanted. It felt much more intimate and musical when I took it off and began to play with my fingers. That sound was what I gravitated to more. It’s how I play live now. The result can be heard immediately on “Pandora’s Box”, the first track. This leads to Rodney Lee’s Fender Rhodes solo. Like many songs on the CD, this song features a live string section to complement Standring’s playing. “I had a string section in the studio throughout the entire record. Blue Bolero featured a lot of string samples. I am still very interested in the string world and orchestration. Standring’s finger-picking skills can also be seen in “All That Glitters.” Standring’s addition to Electric Wonderland is the ability to play a ukulele. The guitalele is a six-string version of the ukulele, not the four-string. It can be heard at the beginning and end of “Almost September,” a midtempo, head-bobbing, hand-clapping slice of brightness featuring Rick Braun. Also, on “Castle In The Sky,” his acoustic guitar picking is layered with electric picking and strings, as well as Dan Lutz’s steady acoustic basses. “Oliver’s Twist” is a big bossa beat track that features a shuffling bossa groove, DJ-style scratching, and an acoustic guitarist solo. Standring’s “Wishful Thinking” brings back the talk-box, much like Peter Frampton. Standring, a guitarist who was classically trained, combines a waltz and swinging jazz on “Merry Go Round.” This song is most similar to what he had with Blue Bolero. It also serves as a showcase for pianist Mitchel Fordman. Standring’s drumming is loved by many.

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