Anyone who is a devotee of the TV series Nashville and its soundtrack albums (and I declare myself to be such a person) will be aware that the standout vocalist of the cast is Chris Carmack, who was a late arrival in season one, playing the character Will Lexington. Co-star Clare Bowen is also a wonderful singer, but over the course of three and a bit seasons Carmack has demonstrated that he has exceptional quality in his voice and the ability to control and direct that voice as needed. His phrasing and diction are so accomplished that they recall the techniques of Frank Sinatra, who was the master of such things.
On Nashville Carmack sings the songs they give him; it was logical that at some stage he would take that voice and apply it to music of his own. The result is the EP Pieces of You, which was released at the end of 2015.
One of the reasons Carmack is so suitable for Nashville is that his voice fits country music – as any singer could tell you, voices fit certain styles of music and not others – so on Pieces of You he has wisely not strayed completely away from country. The EP is a little bit country, a bit country rock and some other things too – there are elements of soul, blues and pop.
The persuasive reason to buy Pieces of You is to hear Carmack sing and then you’ll keep listening because he makes it so easy to do so: his songs are well constructed and his lyrics credit his listener with intelligence. He could have rushed out this EP not long after he became a cast regular on Nashville but he’s clearly taken his time and exhibited care with these five songs. That’s a courtesy to his audience, and yet another reason to listen. I’d probably listen to Carmack singing the alphabet, but it’s a treat to have five original songs from him – with hopefully many more to come.