Chris Stamey's Occasional Shivers | UNC Campus: Kenan Rehearsal Hall | Clubs & Concerts | Indy Week
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Chris Stamey's Occasional Shivers 

When: Fri., Sept. 23, 8 p.m. 2016
Price: $15



When I spoke with Chris Stamey last year about his latest record, the songwriter-producer seemed unconsciously to allude to his next major project.

"I've always really valued a song that has a tight connection between the lyric and the music," he said, and though he was describing his LP, Euphoria, he could just as well have been describing the Great American Songbook, whose contents comprise an unmatched marriage of those elements.

Standards written in the Jazz Age by Richard Rodgers, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, and few dozen other revered figures were the popular music of the day until rock 'n' roll came along. The ghosts of these ditties course through Stamey's new song cycle, Occasional Shivers, which is set to premiere at UNC's Kenan Music Building on Thursday.

It may look like a sharp left turn from the mostly pop- and Americana-pegged music Stamey is known for writing and producing, yet Stamey, who helped establish North Carolina's power pop legacy with the dB's in the early eighties, has actually played some jazz, and even studied atonal avant-garde music as a student at UNC. More to the point, he's a restless writer obsessed with the inner workings of song construction. It doesn't come as much of a surprise that he's come around to addressing the classic works that undergird the modern conception of song. Also not surprising is that Stamey has strayed from the safe and reverent path, instead weaving together the musical language of American standards with his beloved sixties-era rock.

To animate the project—he calls it a musical entertainment—Stamey turned to some of his frequent collaborators, including vocalists Django Haskins of the Old Ceremony and Skylar Gudasz, whose wonderful debut record Stamey recently produced. He's also assembled a six-piece jazz combo and a string quartet. The work makes use of a narrator (WUNC's Eric Hodge), and it aims to evoke the romance and frivolity of a bygone era, when songs like "Summertime" and "Blue Skies" were so familiar to the average American that they constituted a shared experience. Stamey is a perfectionist who writes his own orchestrations and studies production techniques with an unstinting eye, so you can expect great things from Occasional Shivers.David Klein

8 p.m., $5–$15,

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