Title - Sing To The Walls
Artist - Chastity Brown
For those not in the know, as the daughter of a blues musician, Chastity Brown was born with an innate ability to channel complex circumstances into beautiful, uplifting songs.
But after surviving the isolation of the early pandemic and witnessing the global racial reckoning that manifested itself in the riots mere blocks from her South Minneapolis home, even she is surprised to hear the way her new album Sing To The Walls turned out.
“It’s a love album, in a way I didn’t plan on,” Chastity says.
Like so many artists who endured the uncertainty of the 2020 lockdown, Chastity’s instinct was to turn inward, at first out of self-preservation, and then because the new songs kept coming and coming.
Since finishing her last album, 2017’s Silhouette Of Sirens, she estimates she’s written nearly 100 new songs, 10 of which found their way onto Sing To The Walls.
2. Back Seat
3. Loving the Questions
7. Sing to the Walls
8. Like the Sun
In truth, from the very off, all these songs unfold with Chastity’s expressive voice and expansive melodies as if she were a songstress from days of yore, leading the listener through an intertwining pendulous of atmospheric sounds that simply fill your very soul with righteous harmony.
Opening on the heartfelt growth of sounds and vocals within the expressive, emotively dreamy Wonderment and the dulcetly manicured, subdued Latin-hued hipsway of Back Seat, she backs those up seamlessly with the flickering synth work of the wrenching ballad Loving the Questions, the quietly euphoric, organ-imbibed Boston and the Americana-tinged Curiosity (her ode to healing a broken heart post-breakup).
Up next is the soaring Golden, a searing indictment of white complacency and a cathartic release of post-uprising rage and that is in turn followed by an ode to the sweetness of life within the magnificent title track Sing to the Walls, the totally transcendent gossamer flow of Like the Sun is next, the album rounding out on the pulsing promise made within Hope, coming to an all too soon close on the atmospherically-charged balladry of Gertrude.
For the first time, Chastity also served as the lead producer on some of the tracks, and co-producer on all of them. “I just was like, ‘why can’t I do it?’ It maybe meant that some things took longer, but it was like, ‘Where am I going now anyway?’ The way I’ve worked since the pandemic began, as far as songwriting and arranging and composing, I’ve never been so productive. Whatever touring life becomes going forward, I want to always carve out writing time. I’m addicted to it. And it’s such a cool high,” she says.
Sing To The Walls is a sonically expansive album; it mines the roots of Americana, folk, and soul music, but Chastity’s stories are delivered in a style that feels remarkably timely, modern, and forward-thinking. “I celebrate the emotional richness in the tradition, but in my music I’ve committed myself to moving forward and reflecting the experiences of those overlooked by tradition.”
In the same way, her lyrics seek to reach across a great divide. “I will sing to those walls, hope it gets through / And I will sing to your scars, they need healing too,” Chastity sings on the album’s title track, a pandemic love song about breaking through the physical, emotional, and social barriers that have been constructed around all of us in recent years.
By the next track, “Like the Sun,” she breaks through into a melody that rises like a wide-open prairie sunrise—a heart-rending moment that demonstrates her talent for expressing big, beautiful ideas in her music, and to create songs that radiate bliss.
Even amid the chaos, while delivering the release-valve verses of “Golden,” she remains steadfast. “I’ve got joy even when I’m a target, if you think that’s political don’t get me started,” Chastity sings, demanding to know: “Why have I got to be angry?”
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