Perf. Arts

Chris Weaver has enjoyed state visits
Recording artist visits Waukesha for Feb. 8 show



By KRISTYN ADAMS - Special to TimeOut 

January 23, 2014


WAUKESHA - Wisconsin has become a second home for Chris Weaver.

He has enjoyed previous visits to the Badger State, and Weaver hopes to do it over and over again in the coming years.

 The West Virginia native will make his way through southeastern Wisconsin in early February, including performing an 8 p.m. show Feb. 8 at Rooters, 901 Northview Road, Waukesha.

Between a radio show on New Albany, Miss.-based WWZD FM and a sound-check for a solo acoustic show later in the evening, Weaver seemed undaunted by his hectic schedule as he interviewed from Tupelo, Miss., recently.

He calls Nashville his home, but like most musicians, Weaver’s career calls him to the road. He and his core group - Ben Owens, Matt Iceman, Corn Perry and Josh Watters - will be touring the country extensively throughout 2014. His schedule is without a break.

“There’s no way to say what’s coming up ‘after the tour’ because it just seems to keep on going,” Weaver said.

Weaver’s ties to Wisconsin have changed from once coincidental to solid and supportive.

“My Wisconsin friendships started after I played (the song “So Damn Beautiful”) at a wedding reception. The couple lives in Arizona now, but I’ve ended up with a cluster of Wisconsin guys who are great to be with. Since we’ve had more radio support, I’ve played more venues here in the Midwest and it has been very busy, but fun. I’ve had fried ravioli and know all about cheese curds,” Weaver said.

Weaver said the once difficult balance of family and life on the road is eased by modern technology. Computers, cellphones and online video chats keep everyone in the loop. Weaver reflected on how times have changed. “The Sha-Na-Na and ‘Hee-Haw’ shows aren’t on TV anymore, but my dad had a music group for 25 years that really perpetuated music in my life. That’s a foundation that stays put.”

Touring never really ends for Weaver, but he’s constantly working on new material for a third album. Weaver is inspired by the late songwriter Harley Allen, who collaborated with Weaver on “I Should Have Said That” from the “American Dreamer” album. Allen has also written for Garth Brooks, George Jones, Linda Ronstadt and Alan Jackson.

“I’m in a cross-the-gamut situation with quite a few music styles and I don’t mean to avoid one or the other,” Weaver said. “I have the same kind of situation many musicians have and it’s unfortunate because in today’s (music) marketplace, it helps to be in a category. I write and perform a song as it is anyway, and I’m pretty happy doing that.”

Weaver hopes Wisconsin audiences come away from his performances entertained and fulfilled. He credits the Milwaukee area-country music group Chasin’ Mason and their lead singer, Billy O’Dwyer, for ongoing fellowship and support.

“I want people to enjoy an all-around different experience. Live performances like ours - they’re pretty well-packed. We play straight through with no break and keep the energy up the whole time we play. You don’t see performances like that too often,” Weaver said.

Weaver avoids the “perfectionist” label and prefers spontanaeity. His rough, textured vocals have hints of gospel, rock, country and blues.

“The only real perfectionists are classical musicians,” Weaver said.

He produced his own debut album, “Standing In Line,” released in 2010.

His second album, “American Dreamer,” was recorded in Nashville and produced in collaboration with famed producer Josh Leo (Bad Company, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Alabama, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band) and released Nov. 5.

The album features a selection of songs that define the American fabric, from personal determination and love, the strong foundation of family life, faith in God, and the hopefulness of the American dream.

“Raise The Dead” was Weaver’s single from the album. It was written by Weaver along with James LeBlanc and Leo, and features backup vocals by a gospel choir. 

Other songs include the emotive album opener “Gravy Train,” the soulful track “California High,” the smooth ballad “I Should Have Said That” and the Springsteen-esque “Time Has Wings.”

“The best way to describe the difference is how you have pizza,” Weaver said. “Making it yourself can be a great way to try doing it, but then you go and experience pizza from someone who is right there in the kitchen and it’s a whole better perspective.”

“American Dreamer” features guest performances from Jack Pearson on slide guitar and vocalist Kim Carnes.

(TimeOut Editor Dwayne Butler contributed to this story.)