I can’t say that I’ve ever heard a song about being in a coma from the patient’s perspective. There’s a first time for everything – “You Sang to Me” from Chris St. John is just one of the many ‘firsts’ on the album I’m Dreaming. A one-of-a-kind artist with a unique voice, St. John’s cherished songwriting and flavorful guitar playing cast a wide net. His songs sound folk/Americana, but also have some country leanings. He even includes a classical instrumental that will put the mind and soul at ease.
Where others put words and lyrics on a paper, St. John sings simple, but clear images. Not having the luxury of hearing him perform live in-person, the 10 songs on I’m Dreaming offer just a glimpse of what we can glean to create that in-person performance. I suspect a concert of St. John songs would be welcoming, like a throwback to a time of the Laurel Canyon sound, minus the psychedelic hue. He has a way about him that is seasoned, mature. St. John is quite open about his dreams, his ideal way of life. He mentions in “I Need a Horse” very deliberately that a life in a country is a life that is good. Later in the track “I Called You Rose”, he sings time for choosing, I chose my best life.
In the very descriptive “You Sang to Me”, as mentioned above, he puts the listener in his mind, the time during an unexpected (and scary) hospital stay. St. John doesn’t scare or give anxiety – he just sings with a caring way. I felt the same peace and tranquility in the moving “Dreams Are Free”. He inserts President Reagan’s speech after the 1986 Challenger tragedy: we will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared their journey and waved goodbye and ‘slipped the surly bonds of earth’ to ‘touch the face of God’”. St. John’s own poetic words are a perfect companion piece to the iconic Reagan speech. Even if he hadn’t used the rhetoric, this song would surely make an impact. St. John comforts, even in the face of fear and tragedy, and makes life seem just right.
He can also set a romantic tone. In “Your Baby Loves You” and the blushing “Peggy O’” St. John puts his heart on his sleeve and professes his love. Both are country/Americana standouts, with “Your Baby Loves You” having a bit quicker tempo and heavier guitar. I might have heard a steel guitar in “Your Baby Loves You”, but I can’t be sure.
If you’re a fan of songs that feel right on a Sunday afternoon, and songs that get you in the mood to wander around in your imagination for a while – I’m Dreaming is a collection of tracks you should check out. I can now say I’ve heard some really interesting songs and artists like Chris St. John continue to excite my love for indie music, especially singer/songwriters. He’s outstanding and shouldn’t be overlooked.