"It’s not much of an overstatement to call Chris Stamey one of the great father figures to the music community around greater Chapel Hill, where the dB’s co-founder has toiled in the studio trenches with great honor for more than two decades. Chris was a key player in the early phases of the Whiskeytown saga, lending studio savvy at various junctures through the 1990s (including production of the great 1998 “lost” album, Forever Valentine). He also produced some spectacular post-Whiskeytown solo albums for Caitlin Cary.
More recently, Chris has served as producer, mentor and fixer for an entire generation of younger area artists, working with them on recordings and shows like the ongoing live performances of Big Star’s Third that he oversees. Brett Harris, Jeff Crawford, Skylar Gudasz and Django Haskins, among many others, have benefited greatly from the master’s assistance and guidance.
Somehow, Chris finds time to continue making records of his own, too. The latest is the aptly titled Euphoria (Yep Roc Records), a full-on rock record after the chamber-pop detour of 2013’s Lovesick Blues. Euphoria brings together a lot of the young guns from Stamey’s circle, alongside fellow North Carolina legends like Mitch Easter, figurehead of ’80s college-radio legends Let’s Active.
Of particular interest to Planet “Losering,” the album opens with a previously unheard song written by our man Ryan Adams, “Universe-Sized Arms.” Ryan wrote “Universe-Sized Arms” as a driving rocker, and Chris added a very cool orchestrated arrangement reminiscent of the old “James Bond” spy-movie soundtracks. Euphoria‘s other 12 tracks are quite fine as well, with Stamey’s usual surplus of melodic goodness plus a nifty bonus-track cover of the 1971 Tommy James hit “Draggin’ the Line” to boot."
|Universe-sized Arms (written by Ryan Adams)
|Never played live
CHRIS STAMEY: I wrote [Ryan Adams], saying, “Do you want to collaborate on something?” I really never do that, but I thought I’d give it a try, and he sent two songs, one of which was [“Universe-sized Arms”]. He said I could mess with it if I wanted, and I didn’t change much of anything. It really is like his demo. He’s the drummer on the demo, and he keeps that kick drum going the whole time. Ryan’s got a lot of life force, and it comes across in the music he writes. What I did to it was put a little James Bond on it.
One thing about the session: I worked with a drummer I’d never worked with before, Tony Stiglitz. He blew my mind with his natural feel. For “Universe-sized Arms,” I already cut drums with Logan Matheny from Roman Candle. I liked his drum track. We pressed the vinyl, which you have to do now way in advance, but I really wanted Tony on it. So the vinyl version has Logan; the CD, reel-to-reel and digital versions have Tony.
Chris Stamey - "Universe-sized Arms" (Official Video)
Chris Stamey - "Universe-sized Arms" performed for WHUP 104.7 FM - an independent radio station based in Hillsborough, North Carolina