By Matt Davis
Chris Catalena’s self-titled LP is filled with charming lyrics, warm guitar tones, and reminiscent emotions to go along with it all. This LA based musician sounds worlds away from the busy, West Coast city he now calls home. Originally from Austin, Texas, Catalena’s music is reminiscent of classic folk musicians such as Niel Young. While his influences are clear, Catalena’s lyrics are deeply personal and his willingness to experiment with a number of instruments creates a sound that is his uniquely his own.
Catalena is a relatable guy who sings relatable song. Nowhere is this more clear than on the fourth track titled “One More Night.” On this stripped down, acoustic one, Cataelna softly sings the words “Darling let me hold you one more night before I have to go.” Although it seems obvious that Chris is singing about a love interest in this song, anybody who’s ever had to leave someone close to them can feel heartbreak of this song. Sometimes life breaks you apart without mercy, other times you need to leave because it’s what’s best for both of you. Whatever the reason, Chris Catalena captures those intense emotions perfectly on this track.
Immediately after, Catalena picks things up ever so slightly with “Papas on a Rolling Stone.” This classic folk song will melt you away with it’s slide guitar, beautiful piano melody, and rustic harmonica playing. This song was accompanied by a music video where Chris, armed with a parlor guitar and sporting a large sun hat, can be seen making his way through a hectic intersection of downtown Los Angeles. Somehow, Chris doesn’t seem out of place. He walks confidently with a smile, like he’s exactly where he’s supposed to be. No matter how far away from home, LA is where he belongs, at least in this moment. He sings “you’re an outlaw, your an actor, you’re whatever you claim to be.” Just like this album, nothing feels forced with Chris Catelena. Wherever life takes him, he’s ready to make the most of it.
After a few more songs that are perfect to listen to during a late summer night on your porch, Chris closes the album off with the grand track “Go to Heaven.” Pairinging beautifully with the title, this song is driven by the powerful sounds of an organ that you’d expect to hear in an old church service. The song evokes melancholy and sorrow, as Chris sings about losing his best friend. This loss has him feeling crazy, and in a surprisingly relatable lyrics, Chris sings “And sometimes being crazy is the only way to get through.” He writes with beautiful, southern imagery in his lyrics, and showcases his roots with a twangy guitar solo to finish off the album. The song steadily builds up to a climactic finish, leaving listeners satisfied, while also longing to hear what’s next from Chris Catalena.
While this is Catalena’s debut solo album, he’s been around music his entire life and this experience shows. Expect Chris to continue to perfect his craft and continue to make a name for himself as a musician. If you want to get to know Chris a little better, be on the look out for an interview with The Queue coming soon!
In the meantime, give him a follow on Instagram.