Sometimes writing a review can be simple. Listen to a record, think about how it makes you, then put it to words. Done. Of course, some can prove to be a bit more challenging from time to time. Especially when you’re not exactly sure how it makes you feel. But then there’s the rare instance where you know what you feel and can’t put it into words but don’t have the option of letting you listen for yourself. Such is the case with the new 7″ from Cheval Sombre Had Enough Blues/Hitch A Ride.
Part protest and part experimentation, Chevel Sombre’s Had Enough Blues/Hitch A Ride is a strong contender as one of my favorite releases of 2018 so far.
Chevel Sombre (real name Christopher Porpora) is a New York-based poet who switched gears and became a singer/songwriter with his debut album in 2009. Since then, Cheval Sombre has taken very few dramatic turns in terms of growth. While most of his songs could be considered traditional in nature, Porpora always seems to find subtle ways to evolve. Had Enough Blues/Hitch A Ride changes things up by leaning hard into experimental territory but never pretentious. Thanks to production by Spaceman 3’s Peter Kember (a.k.a. Sonic Boom) both tracks are polished and atmospheric where it counts.
Without giving too much away, side A’s “Had Enough Blues” may seem like a folk song upon first listen, but as the track progresses, fine layers of experimentation are added. Picture a late 60s psychedelic trip masked as an early 60s folk jam without any self-serving douchebaggery. Porpora’s voice is equal parts angelic and haunting. By the time the song reaches its climax, I had goosebumps like watching the end of an M. Night Shyamalan film.
With a release this interesting and unique it just had to be a relatively limited and rare one right?
Had Enough Blues/Hitch A Ride is being released on exclusively on vinyl through Fat Elvis Records, a small indie label based in Knoxville TN. I’ve been following the Fat Elvis for a few years and so far have all but 2 of their releases. And while they may not pound out album after album, the few we get are unique. For example, Reverends’ Derealization Blues found it’s way on our Hidden Gems list last year. With artists like Blackfoot Gypsies, Fantastic Negrito, American Goon, Cheval Sombre is in good company.
More interesting is the fact Had Enough Blues/Hitch A Ride is the only place to find both tracks. The limited run 7″ doesn’t even come with a download. So needless to say, there’s no stream for me to feature on this review. Instead, you have to take my word for it just as I took the press release. In my personal opinion, Had Enough Blues/Hitch A Ride is well worth the gamble of shelling out a few bucks for a limited run vinyl release.
You have my word.
Had Enough Blues/Hitch A Ride is available at Fat Elvis Records
Aaron (or Coop) is a freelance writer, multi-instrumentalist and overall lover of all things music. As an advocate for indie record labels and artists, he is passionate about local scenes and do-it-yourself artistry. If it’s good, it’s good. If it’s bad, he’s not afraid to explain why.