Broken Hearted Friends

Chris Leigh And The Broken Hearts

Blue River Records, 2012

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


With an album title like this and a band called The Broken Hearts, I guess it's not so surprising that Chris Leigh turned to music after a dissolved marriage and the subsequent heartbreak. Though he had taken a stab at life as a musician in his younger years, things just didn't pan out and he slipped into a life of normalcy. As a way of sorting through his divorce turmoil, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Broken Hearted Friends was born. 

Whereas country music today often embodies a lot of pop and rock elements, Leigh plays country the way it originally sounded – twangy and with your heart on your sleeve. And seeing as how the impetus for this album was, well, massive emotional strife, the themes also follow suit to the heartache that country music was founded on.

Leigh's traditional version of country explores soulful balladry with “If You Make It To Heaven,” the rockabilly shuffling of “Heartache And Misery” or the swinging, dance worthy keys of “Who's That.” His honky tonk pipes could only work with this version of country, and on "The Ballad Of Bobbie Sue," he's joined with a lovely female voice. He ends the album with a well-done, adventurous tribute to Willie Nelson with "Whiskey River," with Leigh putting his own spin on a classic.

Fans of the way country music sounded in the '70s will eat this up. Or if you've ever been jilted by your lover, well, you will certainly find many parallels to Leigh's cynical, introspective wordplay. Musically, despite the solemn themes, Leigh constructs nice melodies, a wealth of hooks and memorable choruses. This release is yet another fine example of tragedy parlayed into great art. Though his dreams of playing music as a youth were abandoned for family life, Leigh should be quite proud of this timeless, accomplished country album.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2014 Tom Haugen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Blue River Records, and is used for informational purposes only.