It certainly doesn't take a musicologist to see that the contemporary music scene is a wonderfully complicated mess. This is the musical world that Chris McKenna and his band GG1 routinely operate within. McKenna, composer, producer, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, along with GG1, sees opportunity within this fragmented music scene, while certainly learning from and employing some of the devices of previous pop-masters. Stanislav Zabic of radio station KLSU observed, 'McKenna creates under obvious influences by the finest songwriters, such as Carole King, Brian Wilson, Paul McCartney, Todd Rundgren and such, bringing an authoritative seal to each song.' McKenna adds, 'I like to write songs-just like they do-which is an endeavor that strangely, remains unexplored by many of my contemporaries'. Diversity can spell disaster for a developing career, but McKenna and GG1 are armed with a charming disregard for prejudicial limitations and the elan to pull it off. They know what they're best at, and that is SONGS. Their uniqueness lies in an intimately approachable style, while using any sound they feel is appropriate. McKenna, a former child actor whose first instrument was drums (including study at the legendary Creative Music School with virtuoso jazz legend and alumni of Miles Davis' band, Jack DeJohnette), wrote and produced their recent CD, aptly entitled Soundtown. It was composed as a 'travelogue of emotions' says McKenna, who employs everything from orchestral accompaniment, slide blues, intricate vocal arrangements, consistently inventive lyrics, Indian tabla drums, foot-stomps and even chains dragged across an old radiator, to the usual host of rock n' roll instruments, all in the service of what is very accessible music. No mean feat, but McKenna and GG1 succeed easily, unaffectedly, because in this music which McKenna refers to as 'American-Mutt-Music,' there is a genuinely new sensibility emerging. In a way, you might even say that they've already been where music is going. Mischievous and wisecracking, McKenna and GG1 can entertain a crowd with easy between-numbers-banter while playing crafted songs, laced with truly kaleidoscopic references (Quoting Errol Garners 'Lush Life' and Captain Beefhearts' 'Cardboard Cut-Out Sundown' while breezing along in a most Bacharach-ish style, in 'That's How Easy' from Soundtown). The band is equally adept at the many demands such music places upon a player. 'All of the GG1 musicians have big hearts, big ears and share a far ranging appreciation of music. They LOVE to entertain people and they LOVE music, in it's broadest sense. They are musical mongrels, just like me. Dogs, we're really just gregarious dogs. We'll sniff or eat anything'. More recently, Chris has just inked a music publishing deal and has been recording material for a few new projects including work with vocalist extraordinaire, Ike Willis (Frank Zappa), writing a musical, and producing new music for his GG1.
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