Water can be purifying, it can clean and soothe and nourish. It can also be something so formidable as to wear its way through soil and rock. Fittingly, then, Chris DuPont has titled his forthcoming album Floodplains, evoking a subtle but potent force of nature where a river mimics the unpredictable bends of life, depositing and eroding metaphorical emotional gravel along its channelled banks.
“Restoration is definitely a big theme,” said DuPont “I really love the idea of projecting hope; projecting the belief that things will be well. Even if it’s more a belief that I project rather than internalize, putting it into a song can then bring you closer to internalizing that hope. The theme of redeeming what’s broken (in my songs) hits a deep level of resonance. To me, my biggest fulfillment is seeing it connect with another human being, whether in person at a show or getting a message about it later.”
DuPont’s blend of folk and baroque infused Americana swoons with melody and curtains itself with a cinematic ambiance. The profundity of his lyrics comes from the boldness of digging up otherwise buried memories and experiences. “I’m fascinated by memory,” said DuPont. “Memories can mesmerize you; they can throw you off course.” As a songwriter, often arranging 4-minute mini-memoirs set to melody and orchestral-like accompaniments, DuPont said that he wants to be “straight up in telling (the songs) the way I remember them.”
Performing and collaborating
DuPont has been performing around Michigan for several years and has ventured out onto the national scene several times for both short and extended tours over the last four years. If you hear his music (streaming with the online version of this article at ecurrent.com), you might be surprised to discover that this angelic-voiced, cinematically-sweeping folk composer came up through the culture of skateboarding and post-hardcore punk bands. You never know where that river will take you, though, right? His band and his frequent collaborators, include multi-instrumentalists and vocalists (Luke Jackson, Katie VanDusen, Billy Harrington, Tony Pace, Christina Furtado, and his wife, Betsy King) adding everything from pianos and lap steel, to violins, cellos and drums.
“There are some pretty big ideas being tossed in here,” said DuPont of Floodplains, “so it becomes a question of where I put the lens. One song may only be a microcosm of a bigger subject I want to tackle, but a song makes it a more face-to-face dialogue that, if it can connect with someone, then they can project their own memory and their own experience and possibly reinterpret it for themselves better than I could.”
DuPont admits that such unflinching addresses of slowly-healing wounds can “take a toll….It takes staying strong in what you’re doing. I can’t pretend to be something I’m not. I think sincerity is the common denominator and a willingness to grow and try new things and be generous with an audience and honor where you came from. But also plow straight ahead. With Floodplains, I’m trying to give it everything it deserves, but also to not be afraid to explore other aspects of where I came from.”
DuPont crowdsourced the funding for his album from fans, but the expediency in which his financing goals were met demonstrate the eagerness fans have for hearing a follow-up to his previous album Outlier. DuPont was humbled and amazed by the support. Look to hear DuPont’s latest, Floodplains, when autumn gets closer.
Chris DuPont performs at the Ferndale Area District Library on April 5th.
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