Songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Chris Altmann releases his 3rd solo album, Renaissance Man,
on 19 February 2016. Written between trips to Nashville and recorded in his century-old home in Canada, this low-fi colleciton of pedal steel driven rock n’ roll reflects on change, personal loss, and
Though the album features a lot of pedal steel guitar, it’s not a country album. “It was a way for me to showcase my steel playing, which wasn’t a focus on the last two albums”, says Altmann. “Lyrically, ‘I’m Not Concerned’ is the most traditional country song. It’s that ‘I’m going to destroy myself because you don’t love me anymore’ kind of self pity.”
From the Little Richard inspired title track, to the Nick Cave influenced lyrics of “When I Lay My Hammer Down”, Renaissance Man is in its essence a rock n’ roll record. “I had been listening to a lot of Ray Charles and his phrasing and vocal delivery inspired ‘Honeymoon Stage’,” says Altmann.
A Nashville songwriting residency in 2013 resulted in “Good Morning Mr. Coffee”, and “Believe Me”, a song co-written with Emma Swift. The gospel soul feel in “Darkness and Light” captures the melancholic sentiment of the album, urging those with good feelings to “share them around” and “find a place where we can feel alright”. “It’s about finding a comfortable place to exist, where you’re not a total wreck but it’s not exactly the best of places. A numbness,” explains Altmann.
Originally from the Adelaide Hills, Altmann now resides in Canada. Along his journey he has embraced many musical styles; from his country-rock tinged group The Drowners, to the more modern pop/rock sound of The Vandas, and on to a solo career steeped in early 1970s Americana. He’s also in demand as a session player, appearing on dozens of roots recordings, and performing with many artists including Tim Hicks, Michelle McAdorey, Ginger St. James, Nudie, Henry Wagons and Suzannah Espie.
What the Press has to say about Chris Altmann:
Que Paso: “An upbeat and highly entertaining premiere outing.” – Exclaim! Magazine (Canada)
Que Paso: “Impossible to resist. Altmann’s charisma just shines, the songs are great, the album sounds like it was a buzz to make” – Rhythms Magazine (Australia)
Que Paso: “3 ½ stars. The record sizzles and pops like beans over a fire; one part 70s Rolling Stones, one part The Band, and one part Faces. Chris rocks his big-hatted butt off!” – The Sunday Mail (Adelaide)
“4 stars. There’s nothing alternative about Chris Altmann’s brand of country. Que Paso is like a double shot of Jack Daniels served up straight.” – The Age (Melbourne)
“Que Paso is so much more than booze and bruising country rock. There’s no real mystery in Chris Altmann’s ability to search out, mine and exploit the best in country and southern bar rock – it’s simply a matter of raw talent.” – Beat Magazine (Melbourne)
Nothing But Nice Things: “3 ½ stars. Altmann seems a musical Merlin, drawing together like-minded players on this debut album simulating, in atmosphere, something akin to Cocker/Russell’s Mad Dogs and Englishmen.” – Maverick Magazine (UK)
Nothing But Nice Things: “4 stars. Chris Altmann makes fine, uncomplicated pop music, and he makes it sound simple. Melodies flow, lyrics feel true and unforced, and the instruments serve the songs, played with style and flair and never any showboating.” – The Age (Melbourne)
- Selected for an Official Showcase at the Americana Music Festival & Conference 2011
- Nominated for The Age’s EG Award for Best Male Artist 2010
- Australian supports for Joe Pug (USA), Those Darlins (USA), and Shane Nicholson
- Performing with Tim Hicks, Michelle McAdorey, Ginger St. James, Mick Thomas’s Shackleton, The Immigrant Union, Tim Roger’s Temperance Union, Wagons, The Little Stevies and Suzannah Espie, playing pedal steel, drums, fiddle, banjo, guitar, keyboard and mandolin
- Performed at Apollo Bay Festival, Boogie Festival, Brunswick Music Festival, Out On The Weekend and Caravan Music Festival
- Rhythms Australian Debut Album of the Year 2010 Readers Poll: Que Paso