Way Back: Chase Hamblin Shines on New Track
Photo: Anthony Rathbun
The city of Houston has always had a grand history of stellar musicians and songwriters who have called it home. As legends grow up and depart, or get old and depart the earth, the list of strong songwriters in recent years has seemed to be on the downswing. That’s not to say that we don’t have great musicians and songwriters, because we most certainly do. But when you get down to those who craft, truly craft a song with all of the “right” elements of hooks, instrument placement, and vocals; the list is shorter than you think. In the last year, I feel like I’ve had the privilege to meet most if not all of those on that short list. One who I’m constantly confused hasn’t become the next big thing; is singer songwriter Chase Hamblin. Aside from the fact that he’s one of the kindest and most hospitable guys you’ll ever meet-and aside from the fact that it feels like he was born to perform; the man knows how to write a great song. On Tuesday, he dropped a new song that might be the best he’s ever written….which says a lot.
I should preface this by saying that I actually heard this song on Chase’s phone on the front patio at Big Top about three months ago. As I listened, in my head I thought, “that’s how you write a great song.” It was unmixed and unmastered, but still…all of the elements were there. Chase has always echoed the vibe of The Beatles, mixed with the pop hooks of The Bee Gees, but with the craftsmanship of Jeff Buckley. On this latest track, “Way Back,” Chase and The Roustabouts bring such a grand sound of all these artists mentioned to life in a flourishing and mammoth way. To start, the song has that vibraphone feel like it came from the “White Album.” Saddled alongside Hamblin’s vocals are backing vocals that sound more like an organ that sway in and out while the drums sound like those from a marching band. There are moments that feel like an acid laced dream with the tension building guitar escalating in the background. Up front, Hamblin sings how its’ “hard to find your way back from the edge.” The fact that the song doesn’t have any notion that it was made right here in Houston, nor does it feel like anything modern; might be the beauty to how the six piece group delivers the tune. Simplistic piano, dual vocals in the rear, and fuzzed out bass lines that are coupled with a driving pop structure that make the whole song feel like the counterculture of the sixties is still going on.
The song, found here, was self produced at Sugar Hill and was engineered by fellow Roustabout Josh Applebee. The harmonies, the craftsmanship of the music, and the overall production makes you long for a simpler time when songs had all of the elements in one place. Thanks to songwriters like Chase Hamblin, you don’t have to long for the past; because he still keeps great songwriting alive right here in Houston.