A mere two years ago, a young singer-songwriter and self-taught classical guitarist released her debut EP, Little Green Bud. A fitting title, too, as it set the tone for a fully blossoming career that’s about to go off the scales with the release of Chloe Charles’ first full-length CD, Break The Balance.
Since Little Green Bud, music critics and fans alike have been scurrying to put into words what it is that Chloe does. She’s that spellbindingly different.
Best of luck with that. The press have likened Chloe to everyone from Björk to Billie Holiday, Amy Winehouse to Adele, Alicia Keys to Joni Mitchell. While this reflects her unfathomable range, it goes a long way towards describing why this singing sorceress’ musical magic defies any and all straitjackets of classification.
Fans and music journalist around the world have warmly embraced Chloe’s magic. Since the release of Little Green Bud Chloe has performed 300 shows in 8 countries, graced the cover of International Musician magazine, won Harbourfront’s Soundclash Award, became member of Guild Guitar family and played SXSW, NXNE, CMW and Folk Alliance.
With the heart of a true explorer and a fierce passion for the unexpected, Chloe folds layers of love, loss and resilience to self-discovery and wonder of the world and its gifts into her compositional approach. Her only wish is for you to join her as she traverses all points on what seems an ever-evolving compass.
Weaned on an early childhood in the lush, dense woods of Ontario, the beauty and its uninterrupted silence forged her relationship with sound and the art of listening.
In her teens, Chloe’s father married into a musical dynasty when he became the husband of Cynthia and stepfather of Julian Lennon. Becoming Lennon’s stepsister provided Chloe with an uncommon picture of the world and the place of celebrity within it, while cementing her desire to create and follow her own muse.
Her discovery of classical guitar just a few short years ago fuelled a love for all things stringed and resonant, plotting a roadmap for a territory inhabited by cello, violin and bass – each song a mini-symphonic stopping point. Here, her penchant for orchestral soul pop and jazz – and a blend of many influences in-between – could happily co-exist within a timeless and ethereal soundscape.
So, who would dare produce the debut CD of this transcendent force field? No less than Duane Lundy (Ben Sollee, Vandaveer) shared the reins with Charles on the development of Break The Balance while Peter Moore (Cowboy Junkies, Willie P. Bennett) handled some of the mastering.
Both were able to lend delicate, panoramic touches through their organic, stripped down contributions. Moore’s painstaking detail in adapting analog warmth to the digital age merged with Lundy’s unorthodox techniques, harnessing low-fidelity distortion, vintage compressors and effects pedals and mic filters fashioned from everyday found objects.
The lead and hallmark track, “Business”, dedicated to everyone going through an identity crisis, sets an edgy pace for this inaugural, full-length release. Voice becomes instrument against an upbeat collision of strings, percussion and powerful chorus – the uniqueness of which serves the narrative perfectly – love is ours, just as we are.
On “My Child”– a soft, delicate number relying on the harp effect from her classical guitar, Chloe takes the lovely melody and wraps words around it like a motherly blanket.
From the title track’s poignant testament to love, to “Soldier”, which turns the meaning of bravery on its head, Chloe asks us to look at life from a fresh perspective. “Captivate” is beyond mosaic, effortlessly weaving 2-3 songs into one, while “Tarot” takes a key melody, aided by gentle percussion, cello and the sounds of a bell and attacks it in reverse. A tale of a journey predicated by two old ladies, “Nottingham Premonitions”, compressed a lifetime’s worth of emotions across its 3:57 length, its only constant being a simpatico blend of strings, classical guitar and gentle percussion – her effervescent vocal front and centre. And this is only a taste of Break The Balance’s 12-song menu.
Indeed, if the response to her appetizer of an EP is any indication, Break The Balance is bound to tip things even further in her favour.