Christie Hennessy,
Stories for Sale
(MVINE, 2005)

Christie Hennessy's voice offers an almost quivering fragility and tenderness that is rare in male vocalists. It is no wonder that Frances Black found success with her cover of Christie's song "All the Lies That You Told Me," as their vocal delivery shares certain similarities.

Stories for Sale comprises 12 beautifully crafted songs, sympathetically produced by Neill and Calum MacColl, who also contribute a plethora of instrumentation. Joining them are the ubiquitous Liam Bradley on drums/percussion and Simon Edwards (ex-Fairground Attraction) on bass. The album is a classic singer-songwriter blend with a predominately acoustic sound, although several radio-friendly songs are likely to appeal to the wider audience that Christie has previously attracted.

Christie displays a talent for making the ordinary appear extraordinary by employing references to the everyday, sometimes to the almost mundane. This is best evidenced in songs such as "Down By the River," "Sitting Inside a Window," ("A girl runs in a shoe shop,/ tries on some shoes,/ across the road from my living room") and "Soho Square" ("In the street below/ people come and go"). This aspect of Christie's lyrics acts to ease the listener into his songs, making the more obscure references accessible within such familiar surroundings. After repeated listens, these songs reveal themselves as not just extraordinary, but positively exquisite.

As might be expected from a songwriter who has now turned 60, Christie's songs of love provide a mature and considered insight into the pleasure and turmoil that accompany relationships. "After All This Time" warns against the belief that the grass is always greener on the other side ("Every dream we had,/ left alone and sad"), whilst "Maybe" is a delicate ballad exploring those first uncertain stages of a possible new relationship ("Maybe I might ask to hold your hand,/ Maybe if I could you might say I should").

The CD is accompanied by a full set of lyrics as well as brief notes on each song, penned by Christie himself. Also, listen for the bonus track -- a solo rendition of one of Christie's older songs, "I Am a Star (Roll Back the Clouds)."

by Mike Wilson
20 May 2006

[ visit the artist's website ]