His Name is Chaka?
When they see him on the bill, his fans might ask themselves “which Chris Scanlon will it be?” Is it the one that rocks hard with his band of Valley all-star musicians, The Other Guys? Or the one that plays heartfelt ballads with his soaring voice? Or the one that interprets classic songs and artists and makes them his own? Or all of the above?
You never know with Chaka, as he is affectionately known, a singer-songwriter dubbed by the Valley Advocate "one of the area's great homegrown talents." Whether presenting academic papers at the Bruce Springsteen Archives at Monmouth University, playing the rock opera "Tommy" for private parties, transforming himself into artists like The Kinks, Tom Waits or Prince for tribute nights, or rocking his catchy original songs at Food Truck Friday and First Night Northampton ... the guy keeps busy.
Born and raised in New Jersey (he had the same high school history teacher as The Boss), Scanlon took the Garden State Parkway north one day to Western Mass and planted his flag there for good. He spent several years in the folk/rock/pop quartet Plump. The band was lauded in both the Daily Hampshire Gazette and Valley Advocate and was a finalist in the WRSI band contest. Eventually Scanlon went out on his own. His first album, "u-turn" was a valentine to his youth as well as the New Jersey we all carry with us.
That record featured guest artists such as Greg Glassman (Roswell Rudd, Jane Monheit), Tony Vacca (Sting, Baba Maal) and Northampton singer/songwriter/pianist and former Plump bandmate Carrie Ferguson. Powerpopaholic called the album “inventive” and loved Scanlon’s “soulful croon,” while WRSI added the lead single, "Fish Daddy," into its rotation.
Chris Scanlon has been onstage at the Falcon Ridge, WordXWord and Upper Valley music festivals and performed at the Cape May Singer-Songwriter Festival and Northeast Regional Folk Alliance. He was also a finalist in the WRSI singer-songwriter contest and has played venues along the East Coast such as the Iron Horse Music Hall, the Shea Theater, The Saint in Asbury Park and Puck Live in Doylestown, PA.
These days Scanlon has a boatload of original music and is getting ready to record his next album, titled “The Shadows They Left Here”, including songs set in past and present Brooklyn, where most of his family was born and raised. Stay tuned for a fan fundraising event.
Visit ChrisScanlon.com for upcoming shows, music downloads, videos, news and more. Sign up for the mailing list now and receive a free copy of "u-turn" on CD.