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Chris Whitley|Perfect Day

Perfect Day

Chris Whitley

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After issuing the spare, entirely solo Live at Martyrs' in early 2000, Chris Whitley returned to the studio with drummer Billy Martin and bassist Chris Wood (of Medeski, Martin & Wood fame) to cut the similarly low-key, all covers album Perfect Day. It's a mix of blues standards and rock songs with a poetic bent (writers like Dylan, Reed, and Morrison) all given hauntingly minimalistic treatments. Whitley's guitar work is subdued and spacious, as are Martin and Wood's constantly shifting backing rhythms. The cover photo of a haggard-looking Whitley sets the tone for his performances: he sounds committed but weary, which gives these renditions a darkly compelling power. "Spoonful," in particular, often seems on the verge of falling apart, as Whitley's guitar slashes almost randomly over the rhythm section's syncopations. But -- perhaps like the singer himself -- it somehow holds together in the face of desperation, which is a handy way to sum up the album's impact as a whole.
© Steve Huey /TiVo

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Perfect Day

Chris Whitley

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1
Spanish Harlem Incident
00:02:38

Chris Whitley, MainArtist

2000 Valley Entertainment Inc. 2000 Valley Entertainment Inc.

2
Smokestack Lightning
00:04:40

Chris Whitley, MainArtist

2000 Valley Entertainment Inc. 2000 Valley Entertainment Inc.

3
China Gate
00:03:07

Chris Whitley, MainArtist

2000 Valley Entertainment Inc. 2000 Valley Entertainment Inc.

4
Drifting
00:02:34

Chris Whitley, MainArtist

2000 Valley Entertainment Inc. 2000 Valley Entertainment Inc.

5
She's Alright
00:03:54

Chris Whitley, MainArtist

2000 Valley Entertainment Inc. 2000 Valley Entertainment Inc.

6
Perfect Day
00:03:31

Chris Whitley, MainArtist

2000 Valley Entertainment Inc. 2000 Valley Entertainment Inc.

7
Wild Ox Moan
00:03:09

Chris Whitley, MainArtist

2000 Valley Entertainment Inc. 2000 Valley Entertainment Inc.

8
Crystal Ship
00:03:18

Chris Whitley, MainArtist

2000 Valley Entertainment Inc. 2000 Valley Entertainment Inc.

9
Spoonful
00:05:04

Chris Whitley, MainArtist

2000 Valley Entertainment Inc. 2000 Valley Entertainment Inc.

10
Stones in My Pathway
00:03:14

Chris Whitley, MainArtist

2000 Valley Entertainment Inc. 2000 Valley Entertainment Inc.

11
4th Time Around
00:03:45

Chris Whitley, MainArtist

2000 Valley Entertainment Inc. 2000 Valley Entertainment Inc.

Album Description

After issuing the spare, entirely solo Live at Martyrs' in early 2000, Chris Whitley returned to the studio with drummer Billy Martin and bassist Chris Wood (of Medeski, Martin & Wood fame) to cut the similarly low-key, all covers album Perfect Day. It's a mix of blues standards and rock songs with a poetic bent (writers like Dylan, Reed, and Morrison) all given hauntingly minimalistic treatments. Whitley's guitar work is subdued and spacious, as are Martin and Wood's constantly shifting backing rhythms. The cover photo of a haggard-looking Whitley sets the tone for his performances: he sounds committed but weary, which gives these renditions a darkly compelling power. "Spoonful," in particular, often seems on the verge of falling apart, as Whitley's guitar slashes almost randomly over the rhythm section's syncopations. But -- perhaps like the singer himself -- it somehow holds together in the face of desperation, which is a handy way to sum up the album's impact as a whole.
© Steve Huey /TiVo

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