Dallas music label State Fair Records has a new release for August: Called Longshot, it's a full-length album by Chris J. Norwood, a folk rocker who aims to take his career to a new level with this debut.
Norwood's previous output consists of two self-produced EP's. On Longshot, he's backed by a team that includes producer Chris Masterson (Steve Earle’s The Dukes/Jack Ingram); Masterson's wife, Eleanor Whitmore (Steve Earle’s The Dukes/The Mastersons) who plays violin, mandolin, sings background vocals, and provides string arrangements; George Reiff (Ray Wylie Hubbard/Band of Heathens) on bass; and Conrad Choucroun (Patty Griffin/Bob Schneider) on drums. Grammy Award-winning engineer Steve Christensen (Loretta Lynn/Steve Earle) manned the helm on engineering and mixing.
The songs on Longshot were written in the year leading up to and immediately following the birth of the Norwoods' first daughter. They touch on issues of fatherhood. Norwood and his mother moved to East Dallas after his father passed away in a suicide attempt.
"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 says. "How do you become a good father when you don't have anyone to model after?"
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," he says. "You can hear the way her voice blends so beautifully with mine on the single 'Longshot.'"
That harmony 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 album comes out on August 11, but Norwood will perform an acoustic show at the Kessler on July 15.
State Fair Records launched in 2014 with the release of Madison King's Onward & Upward. Since then, the label has released a double album from Christopher Holt, Bill Longhorse’s Balloons, The Vandoliers' debut Amerikinda, and the alt-country rockers' new album The Native, which came out in May.