Pedigo's Magic Pilsner, Chris Norwood

State Fair Records presents

Pedigo's Magic Pilsner

Chris Norwood

Friday, August 11, 2017

Doors: 9:30 pm / Show: 10:00 pm


This event is 18 and over

Pedigo's Magic Pilsner
Pedigo's Magic Pilsner
Pedigo’s Magic Pilsner is an ode to my Dad, and the name has its own
story: When I was a kid, he made nearly undrinkable beer and called it
Pedigo’s Magic Pilsner. He’d make it in the kitchen sink which in the
end was where it all ended up anyway, because no one would drink it;
arguably more successful was the bowling team he named after the beer –
PM Pilsners. (Which I was lucky enough to sub for on many occasions and
got a sturdy learning on the sport.) While I don’t make my own beer, I
do feel that the music is a brew of styles and years I’ve put into
music; at some points it is straight forward singer-songmaker-upper and
at others is straight-up rock and roll. From rockabilly onward I’ve
played most styles and have seen a good chunk of the world doing so.

It’s 2017 – a year that starts with as much trepidation as it does
intrepid hope; a hope that we can forge an unfeigned path through any
timorous landscape with our footprints firmly fossilized in the ground.
We all create our own fate. We all have power to change and fix what we
don’t like. But mostly, we are not helpless when we are hopeful.

My wife told me 9 years ago, “Every year gets better.” A mantra that
I’ve adopted. Each year, we learn more and more about ourselves. There’s
new discovery that leads us towards the knowledge of what we hold within
ourselves. Obviously, most of this is personal and self serving – things
as simple as which foods or music we love to each and every one of our
choices and beliefs. However, either way, we become more and more who we
are each year; solidifying our person.

In 2008, Taylor Young and I started the group The O’s, a challenge to
get ourselves on the road as easily as possible; a two ‘One-man-band’
onslaught. If we could keep overhead low with just two dudes, there was
nothing stopping us from hopping in a van or on a plane and playing a
show. Which we did and still do. Nine years strong and four albums,
countless touring and hazy mishaps, the band has played from 10-10000
people on every stage from trailer beds to the Hammersmith Odeon in
London. We’ve ventured further than some, but shorter than many playing
over 150 shows a year.

Before The O’s, I spent my wayfaring nights with Slick 57, Boys Named
Sue, and Rose County Fair. Slick was lucky enough to sign with an
Australian label called Laughing Outlaw Records. Because of them, we did
a ton of US touring, a bunch of European touring, and an Australian/New
Zealand tour. It was fantastically disastrous and made us all who we are
today. And I mean that emotionally and physically as my liver would
attest. The Sues have had a raucous run of fun delivering dated country
music and good times with the largest of winks. Rose County Fair gave me
the indie deluge I needed at the time between Slick 57 and The O’s.

Pedigo’s Magic Pilsner continues a personal path; a continuation of a
musical journey. But mostly it’s an homage to my Dad who has always been
my number one fan. He got sick recently and it brought with it a true
sense of mortality. In remission now, we’ve bought more time. And during
this, I plan to make him proud. As it has always been, my goal is to
deliver music from the heart, art from the soul, truth from whichever
medium necessary. From developing one’s craft to sacred friendships and
family, not much else matters on the journey. Other than bowling.

– John Pedigo, March 2017
Chris Norwood
Chris Norwood
Dallas-based singer-songwriter Chris J. Norwood knows “Love Keeps Us Strong,” and believes his new music reflects that. The 11-track debut, out on Friday, Aug. 11 on State Fair Records runs the gamut of emotions, and it’s a fitting tribute to the tumultuous times that landed the alternative country artist where he is today. Most of the new songs on “Longshot” were written in the year leading up to the birth of his first daughter, with some tracks added after the family gained a beautiful new member. But his first child wasn’t the only addition to his family—Norwood, previously a one-man producing machine on his two EPs, has joined forces with a new producer and a talented team of musicians that promises to make this album his best work yet. Release party to be announced.

Norwood’s single “Longshot” caught the ear of local music veteran and label owner Trey Johnson. “I like its cool confidence,” he said. “It’s one of those songs that you can tell just tumbled out. I expect there are much more where that came from.”

Norwood and his mother moved to East Dallas after his father passed away in a tragic suicide attempt, and the then shy Chris searched for an outlet to channel his teeming creativity. His uncle bought him his first guitar when he was just ten, and the budding musician started recording songs on cassettes. “Playing music was the only place I felt comfortable and felt a part of something,” he says. “There was never really an option for me to pursue a career in anything else.” After spending a semester at The Contemporary Music Center—what Norwood calls “rock ‘n roll school”—he learned how to translate his passion into a career, and never looked back.

The new album marks a new direction for the artist, but as he looks ahead, he ponders the pain of the past and the impact it’s left on him. “Most of these songs were written as a way to come to terms with the fact of growing up without a father (and the tragic way that he took his life) in light of becoming a father myself for the first time,” Norwood said. “How do you become a good father when you don’t have anyone to model after?” Songs like “Howling in the Wing” and “If He Were Standing Here” ask this question, and also find Norwood seeking the approval of the father who abandoned him. “Are you proud of the man, the husband, the father that I’ve become?’” he asks. “It’s a question that I wish I could ask him every day.” Luckily, he didn’t have to go this road alone.

Norwood was originally going to put out a three-song EP, but the songs “just kept coming,” and when he realized that the new work was similar thematically to previous songs he’s written, he reached out to producer Chris Masterson (Steve Earle’s The Dukes/Jack Ingram) to help see the vision through and chime in on guitar and background vocals. Masterson’s wife Eleanor Whitmore (Steve Earle’s The Dukes/The Mastersons) played the violin, mandolin, sang background vocals and provided the beautiful string arrangements. George Reiff (Ray Wylie Hubbard/Band Of Heathens) lent his skills on bass guitar, Conrad Choucroun (Patty Griffin/Bob Schneider) on drums and Grammy Award-winning engineer Steve Christensen (Loretta Lynn/Steve Earle) manned the helm on engineering and mixing. “The batch of songs he sent over ranged from quirky pop tunes to emotionally haunting ballads that all fit together and worked as a very cohesive collection,” Masterson remembers.

Masterson fondly recalls Norwood’s “great spirit” in the studio, but it was the great company that propelled the album over the top. It was a family affair, as Norwood’s wife Carrie sang background vocals. “Carrie has sung with me on every release I’ve ever put out, and always makes me sound better than I am,” the proud husband says. “You can hear the way her voice blends so beautifully with mine on the single ‘Longshot’.”

That harmony helped make the album the searing summer song set that Americana, folk and alternative country fans will all love, and also helped Norwood heal.

“I don’t know what it was about becoming a father and holding my daughter for the first time, but I realized I needed to take a chance and give these songs a real shot at being heard,” he says. The road behind him was rocky, and the road ahead may have its challenges, but thanks to his talents and the team around him, Chris knows “It’s Gonna Be Alright.”

“Longshot” will be out on State Fair Records on Friday, Aug. 11.
Venue Information:
Three Links
2704 Elm Street
Dallas, TX, 75226