Chris Scanlon

Chris Scanlon would like you to know that you don’t need to have come of age in New Jersey to connect to the stories and characters on his debut solo CD U-Turn. The themes he sings about are universal (or perhaps it’s just that so many of us have passed through New Jersey’s portals that they just seem so?). Scanlon, a former yet forever Jersey Boy himself, didn’t set out to write a song cycle about his youth in the Garden State. Still he thinks there’s a little New Jersey in all of us. He’s a songwriter with an enthusiastic following in Northampton, MA, a competitive music market. He moves easily from rock to folk, ballads to anthems, with a little scat and funk thrown in. In other words, Chris Scanlon is not your typical singer-songwriter.

U-Turn (2007, Plaid Jacket Records) is Chris Scanlon's first full-length solo album. Recorded at Sow’s Ear Studios with engineer/producer Scot Coar (Angry Johnny and the Killbillies), it features Afro-percussion master Tony Vacca (Sting, Gokh-bi System), Maggie Nowinski (Thrillpillow), New York City jazz trumpeter Greg Glassman and singer-songwriter and fellow Plump alumni Carrie Ferguson. On u-turn Scanlon takes us to his Jersey shore, full of old ghosts, tired battles, disrupted homes and strong bloodlines. The album is a snapshot of New Jersey from his very own family album, reminding us what we strive to take with us when we leave home, and what we struggle to leave behind. U-Turn is about achieving our goals and dreams despite the hypnotic pull of the past.

As a solo artist, Chris has won wide recognition in the area, having been chosen to participate in the singer-songwriter event juried by WRSI 95.3 The River in 2003, 2004 and 2007 (The River was named one of Rolling Stone’s top ten radio stations). Chris was also nominated for best singer-songwriter in the Valley Advocate Grand Band Slam and has performed with Dayna Kurtz, Pete Seeger, and most recently at the Cape May Singer-Songwriter conference in New Jersey featuring Geoffrey Gaines.

Prior to his solo career, Chris was a founding member of Plump, a folk/rock/pop combo based in Northampton. Between 1998 and 2005, the band released 3 EPs; shared the stage with Melissa Ferrick, Rani Arbo and Daisy Mayhem, Erin McKeown, Tin Hat Trio, Philip Price (Winterpills) and more; and gained a strong fan base and critical acclaim throughout the area. The Daily Hampshire Gazette lauded their “draw-you-in-sound” and WRSI predicted, “(these) guys should make an album and become famous and rich.” In 2001, Plump placed in the top 3 in the Skiffle Sessions band contest.

Chris Scanlon began his music career at the age of 5, performing along with his family’s copy of Magical Mystery Tour on his brother’s tennis racquet, which earned him recognition is his household as “the fifth Beatle.” His brushes with fame include almost having met Bruce Springsteen five times; cooking dinner for Clarence Clemons while working in a natural foods restaurant; and a chance backstage encounter with the late Michael Hedges, an influential moment which inspired him to write songs himself.