Friday, November 04, 2005

The Childballads: New Music

Stewart Lupton and Betsy Wright

"I'm coming into my own," Stewart Lupton says. "Every painter or poet has this period - the good ones always reinvent themselves. There's always this little epoch where you step into your own skin and leave what T.S. Eliot called 'the anxiety of influence' behind."

Gregory Korn, a talented writer and artist, passed on word of The Childballads recently, and the lone song available on the band's website haunts me: Childballads: "Cheekbones (White Chocolate Tea)". This song was in my dreams last night and I woke up singing it this morning.

Of course the name, Stewart Lupton, sounds familiar. Recently in the New York Post, Maureen Callahan wrote:

"IT'S rare that someone gets another shot at becoming the next big thing - especially when people aren't quite sure whether you're still alive. In the late 1990s, Stewart Lupton was poised to be the biggest rock star to emerge from the burgeoning New York rock scene that his band, Jonathan Fire*Eater, had helped revive.

The sonic and spiritual forerunners of acts like Arcade Fire and Interpol, they were the ultimate elegant Lower East Side wastrels, purveyors of noirish, organ-laden rock and sunken-eyed, dishabille glamour."

The Childballads' look and sound is deliberately far removed from Jonathan Fire*Eater's. The new music is influenced by country and folk, with lyrics steeped in old-fashioned storytelling. The stories and sound of the South hide under the alt-rock underpinnings of the band. Stewart Lupton describes the music as "sounding like doilies, like your grandmother's living room. There's a certain hollowness there; it's a roomy sound."

"Stewart's in his prime to leave the mark he didn't leave with Jonathan Fire*Eater," says Erin Norris. "That kid is never gonna fall from grace any further than he already has. He's a lifer."

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