There are some artists that you want to remember where you were and what you were doing the first time you hear them sing. Chris Weaver is such an artist. Fronting his namesake the Chris Weaver Band, the West Virginia native is one hell of a live performer and that’s how I first heard his music, at Nashville’s The Rutledge club, for a showcase for American Dreamer, his fantastic rootsy collection of soulful music that defies easy genre classification. If you’re looking for artistic points of reference think of Chris Weaver’s music as a blend of everything that’s great about Will Hoge, Marc Broussard and Joe Cocker.
Produced award-winning producer and guitarist Josh Leo, American Dreamer is an instant charmer. Songs like the title track, “Gravy Train” and “Time Has Wings” spread the Country Soul on thick but showcase a singer with an acute sense of who he is and with that, he writes songs that suit him to a T. “California High” is a passionate slice balladry while “Without Chains” brings up the keyboards and all-around midwestern soul that is a hallmark of songs from artists like Mellencamp, Seger and Lynyrd Skynyrd.
There’s really nothing about American Dreamer that doesn’t work to set up Chris Weaver Band’s dynamic live show. It’s a collection of songs — including potential Country radio hit “I Should Have Said That” — that are easy to like and hopefully just the beginning of a long, successful career for one of the best singers I’ve been able to see perform. This is a record fans of great music should own, a record that makes you want to go to their live show whenever the Chris Weaver Band makes their way to your city.