Chris Whitley, Hotel Vast Horizon

By Sara Grawbarger

You’re sitting in the corner of a dimly lit smokey bar in a snow covered country–let’s say Russia–mesmerized by the hypnotic swooning quality of the songs tumbling out of the darkly-clad band at the front. Well, at least that’s how Chris Whitley’s music will make you feel.

The relaxed vocal and instrumental style on Hotel Vast Horizon produces an intense, yet mellow tone. I know the two adjectives don’t seem to jive, but you’ll hear what I mean if you give the disc a listen.

Whitley’s music is hard to place into any one genre. The songs are best described as epic because of the blusey almost beat-poet sound and the lyrical articulation of life and love as a journey through a dramatic and capacious world.