I haven’t said enough yet about Christopher Denny’s fantastic new record, If The Roses Don’t Kill Us, recently released on Partisan Records. It’s not just a worthy successor to his 2007 debut, Age Old Hunger; it’s a bolder, more confident record, full of complex, bittersweet emotions. Denny has said in multiple interviews that he actually made this record twice. He recorded it the first time about four years ago while struggling substance abuse. His label shelved that record, but with the promise to give him another chance when he got sober. Fast forward to 2014, Denny is in good health, touring, and Roses is now on record shop shelves and gathering accolades nationwide.
As always, Denny mixes up a bunch of Southern and roots music genres. He gets country and folk peanut butter all over his R&B and Gospel chocolate and calls the resulting confection “Arkansas Soul.” His warbling tenor, likewise, is sensual and sad; an enticing high lonesome wail that’s as timeless as it is unique.
The streaming taste of Denny’s music we’re giving you this week is “Watch Me Shine,” a brilliant bit Gospel-infused pop-rock songwriting in the middle of the record. But my favorite song on the record is “God’s Height,” which isn’t available for streaming, that features some of my favorite word play in recent years about how the diminutive Denny is leaving his lover because she’s too tall (but also because he doesn’t measure up to his image of her). It’s funny and sad, clever, and has a guitar solo that will lodge in your brain for days.
“Watch Me Shine” and “God’s Height” are available now on iTunes.