When you consider Chris Rhodes as a musician, think versatile. Through the years, this accomplished vocalist, guitarist, producer and arranger has developed a blend of jazz, R&B, blues and funky pop-rock that fits comfortably into a wide range of live performance and studio settings.
As the son of a professional violinist mother, music has been integral to Chris' life since his birth in Dallas, Texas in 1951. He was classically trained on woodwinds but soon found that singing and playing guitar was a more natural expression for him. He began performing in clubs and coffeehouses in his college years at Boston University. While on an extended stay in Europe with his pianist brother, Ken, he developed an affinity for jazz and blues. On his return, things accelerated when blues singer Bonnie Raitt asked him to contribute as a sideman on her debut Warner Bros. LP. With encouragement from her and others Chris began a professional career as a solo act, eventually to become the leader of a six piece band that traveled the East Coast, Canada and the Caribbean.
Chris spent ten years on the road sharing the spotlight with such acts as Aerosmith, Ike and Tina Turner, Etta James and even an up-and-coming comic, Jay Leno. During this time, much experience was gained from being on stage, television and in the recording studio. After constant touring, Chris wanted a change and relocated to Los Angeles in 1979 for new opportunities in the music business. There he strengthened his understanding of jazz theory by taking a series of improvisation workshops headed by renowned hard bop pianist, Horace Silver. Soon he was incorporating this new knowledge into his playing solo and fronting small ensembles. It's worth mentioning here that while out West he met his soon-to-be wife and life partner, Sandie, in 1987. Over the years, she has given him immeasurable moral support and artistic assistance in expanding his horizons. It's not often that a musician can find a mate who is willing to share him with his "Muse".
With the advent of PCs in the early '90s, Chris realized the advantages of bringing a digital component into his live act. Soon he was creating his own arrangements in his home studio and instantly transformed himself into the "one man band" you now hear in his recordings and on stage. Under the banner of Sandsong Road Musicworks (SSRM) formed in 1992, he began producing projects for himself and other artists. The 1999 release of Chris Rhodes "One" was the culmination of the path embarked upon ten years earlier. This first CD is jazz influenced, funky pop reflecting the fusion of his background with other artists' work he performs. These include Steely Dan, Marvin Gaye, Michael Franks, George Benson, Sting, Bobby Caldwell, Bob Marley, Bill Withers, James Taylor, Al Green, Eric Clapton, John Mayer and Jack Johnson, to name a few.
He followed "One" with "Just Strummin'", an instrumental collection highlighting his guitar stylings on a mix of jazz and R & B standards. His next release, "Foot Notes", has Chris singing the blues, R & B and jazz favorites with guest artist Ken Rhodes on keyboards. "Raggedy Man", his fourth CD, returns Chris to his singer/songwriter roots with new originals blended with songs from his "deep catalog" going back to the early '70s. The next release, "iNTUNe", is guitar-driven, original pop-rock-R & B-Americana mixing up-tempo tunes with ballads. Seven of the songs are musical collaborations with West coast guitarist-composer, Michael Yeaman, whose first five CDs were produced by Chris. Their partnership bore more fruit with the release of "Sound of Light, Vol. 1-3", a holiday collection on Yeaman's Novamedia label (metacin.com). "Past Forward", is an 18 song collection comprised of 6 new songs, remixes and rearrangements of originals from his previous albums. Over time he felt the need to revisit some of his own favorites and combine them with the newer ones all on "one stage". Chris' next CD, "It's The Only Life I Know" is a continuation of the songwriting efforts found on "Past Forward" and a celebration of 40 years in show business. His latest, "Naturally Blue" is now released and is his first to be available for digital downloads on iTunes, Amazon and cdbaby.com.
Until the summer of 2001, Chris showcased his music in a steady stream of engagements in the LA area and offshore at some exotic resorts in Costa Rica and Bora Bora, French Polynesia. In August of that year, he and Sandie moved their home and studio to Fairview, North Carolina near Asheville, a beautiful vacation destination tucked in the Blue Ridge Mountains. SSRM continues to produce CDs, TV and radio spots and Chris regularly performs at the area's finest venues including the Grand Bohemian and Renaissance Hotels, Biltmore Estate and the The Grove Park Inn. Catch him whenever you can in person. CD releases are now available on this website.