Where Chris Gillin-Schwartz goes, good music is sure to follow. It doesn’t matter if he’s jamming with local musicians, as he does leading the Howard Street Ramble throughout the summer at the Chalfonte Hotel, or jumping into an open mic, as he’ll do at 7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 11, at The Mad Batter in Cape May. Regardless of where he plays, and who he plays with, Chris Gillin-Schwartz, who just released his six-track EP, “Palisades,” is one to watch.
“With these songs, I knew what I wanted. A deliberate, clear sound,” says Gillin-Schwartz about “Palisades,” which he recorded entirely in his spare bedroom. “As a songwriter, I had specific ideas of songs I wanted to make … moody, spacey sounds, with pedal steel, even bluegrass elements.”
While known for his exceptional ability to jam with other musicians, Gillin-Schwartz explores this moody vibe in “Palisades,” playing every instrument himself. The results are captivating.
“I’m proud of it,” Gillin-Schwartz says. “I hope people listen and like it.”
If his live shows are any indication, fans will definitely appreciate Gillin-Schwartz’s newest solo endeavor.
Live shows with Gillin-Schwartz are as varied as the instruments he plays — guitar, percussion, pedal steel guitar, banjo and mandolin. He’s known to perform as a one-man band while also leading epic jams.
“I consider myself a completely social player. I love the musical conversation,” Gillin-Schwartz says. “I’ve taken on so many instruments because I love to blend with other people.”
As the host of the Howard Street Ramble, a formless musician’s jam session, Gillin-Schwartz and his father, Joe Schwartz, anchor an evening that includes various players and lots of fun.
“I wanted to make something happen that’s interesting,” Gillin-Schwartz says of the Howard Street Ramble concept. “I love jamming … going into the weird places you can only go when you play with other people.”
“It’s that type of playing when each song bleeds into the next. I’ll set up at 9 p.m. and go through until midnight without stopping,” Gillin-Schwartz says. “There’s no dead space, no set list. It’s whatever pops into my head. When it doesn’t work, it’s hilarious.”
At a quick and casual glance, a Nastassia Davis photograph can appear to be a light and happ…
Gillin-Schwartz can laugh along with the next guy, but when it comes to music, he’s serious.
“I continue to want to get better, better at my instruments, better at playing shows, and better at playing dynamically,” he says.
As for his new album, Gillin-Schwartz recommends listening to “Hughes”.
“Its’ not the most upbeat song, but it’s a pretty good indicator,” he says. “It’s so short though, you might as well listen to the whole thing.”