CHRISTOPHER WORTH — “WORTH” is the music project of Portland based singer-songwriter Christopher Worth.
From the downbeat of the title track on WORTH’s Pardon Me, the listener is in for a magical ride. This 3rd album fuses the depth and dynamic impact of modern sound with the soulful rawness of the old school. The music is both haunting and familiar, and touches the addictive vitality of that new thing you can’t stop playing in your stereo. Pardon Me is WORTH in full stride.
The first thing you notice when listening to Christopher Worth is the undeniable quality of his voice: it is thick, sensual, raw, and honest. At times he expresses with the buttery richness of John Legend (“I Need You,” “Tides”); at others with the feral range and force of Paul McCartney (“Care”, “Bayou”). There are delicate moments, too, in which his singing is reminiscent of Amos Lee (“Glory”) and even D’Angelo (“Lo and Behold”). At it’s core, however, his voice is steeped in the spirit of the blues.
Christopher Worth grew up in the hip hop and r&b of the 90’s and you can feel these always in the backbeat of Pardon Me. The performances are also laced with the freedom and expressiveness of rock and roll: drums hit aggressively and are consistently placed hot in the mix. Rhythmic pockets stay deep, vital, and at times delve into a more roots or folk vibe. The instrumental tones themselves are luscious and expansive. Through the course of the record the band explores mellow acoustic valleys, groovy backroads, and electrifying peaks culminating in the anthemic “Fallen Leaves.“ It is the sweet spot between these genres and dynamics that defines Worth’s sound.
The quality of the performances is second only to the seasoned songwriting. “This record is the culmination of almost 10 years of work,” says Worth, and this is readily apparent even on a first listen. The songs are tight and timeless while provocative and philosophical. From the lilting rise of “Stay Here With Me,” to the smooth invitation of “Tides,” to the jazzy hook of “I Need You,” Worth’s melodic construction entices and never feels imposed. The voices find their wings in soaring melodies and lyrics that resonate as organic and real. These compositions have come from a vast well of emotion and experience.
Led by an accomplished musician and songwriter, Pardon Me exemplifies the living journey. It is a fresh, undeniable work from a consummate artist.