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Since the age of 16 I've been a massive Garth Brooks fan, and currently own all of his albums and videos. So when I heard about a Garth album that I didn't have I immediately hot footed it to the music store to find it. After much searching I eventually came across the album "In the Life of..." by Garth's alter ego "Chris Gaines".
Who is Chris Gaines?
Chris Gaines is a fictional Australian country singer of Garth's creation he was meant to be the main character in a film called "The Lamb" and this album was to be a pre-soundtrack to the film. However due to lower than excepted sales of the album the film was never made, but at least the album remains because it is fantastic.
For those of you unfamiliar with Garth Brooks he is one of the best selling artists in the US and his music style is that of country-rock. His live performances are amazing and certainly are worth seeing as he performs with the stage on fire, on wires flying through the air and even swinging out into the audience on ropes along the side of the stage.
However, unlike this mad capped lunatic Chris Gaines is a much more down to earth character with a much more calm and subtle feel to his musical style. Chris Gaines first TV appearance came on the American comedy program "Saturday Night Live" which for that episode was actually hosted by Garth himself, however no indication was given during the show that Garth and Chris were one and the same.
Now on to the album its self which is meant to be a best of album for the artist Chris Gaines, but as I stated earlier Chris is a fictional character so don't try looking for other albums by him as there are none. A majority of the tracks were written up by the American singer/songwriters Wayne Kirkpatrick who also wrote the song "Wrapped Up in You" for Garth previously, and Gordon Kennedy who co-wrote the Eric Clapton song "Change the World" with Wayne Kirkpatrick.
1. That's The Way I Remember It
With a really simple and peaceful acoustic start to this album the whole feel and style of the album is very different to previous "Garth" albums and although you just about make out that country sound to his voice it has been very well toned down.
2. Lost in You
This was the first single from the album and charted at number 5 in the US and number 70 in the UK. By far and away this is my favourite track on the album and shows just how amazing Garth's voice really is. This is a fantastic ballad that would certainly not sound too much out of place on one of Garth's proper albums.
3. Snow in July
With this song the tempo of the album picks up into a much more poppy sounding style with a great sounding bass line and real funky style to it. Out of all the songs this is probably the furthest away from Garth's country roots in musical arrangement.
4. Driftin' Away
Once again the album tones down on the tempo and feel with this song. Garth's voice is just filled with a massive amount of emotion and almost sadness as he sings.
5. Way of the Girl
This song was the first one that Garth performed as Chris on TV when he appeared on "Saturday Night Live". It does pick up the pace of the album once again with a funky bass and guitar sound to it.
6. Unsigned Letter
The album takes a more rocky style with this song as Garth cranks up the volume on the chorus of this song which is slightly more raw and powerful than the previous offerings on the album. This song is one of my favourites off of the album mainly in part to the fact that Garth lets that strong vocal talent of his loose a bit more than on the rest of the album.
7. It Don't Matter To the Sun
This was the second single to be released of off the album, however unlike the rest of Garth's singles this one didn't fair very well only charting at number 113 in the US. This fact was due to most of Garth's fans feeling that this album was not holding true to his usual country roots; however this being said this song is a truly beautiful sounding ballad filled with emotion.
8. Right Now
Starting off with a quiet subtle sound with Garth talking over the music it then kicks in with a more raised volume and rock to it as the album once again gains a bit of an edge to it. This song is my least favourite on the album, but that being said it is still pretty good none the less. This song was also released to American radios as a promo single yet it was never released.
9. Main Street
The rockier theme continues through this song, we also hear Garth crank up the vocal talents once again and some fantastic drumming backing up this song. For some reason this song seems to remind me of the Bob Dylan track "Knocking on Heavens Door" during the verse.
10. White Flag
A fantastic track in which there is some great sounding guitar riffs and Garth's vocals blasting above it all. It has a real funky feel to the song over all especially during the brief guitar solo in the middle of the song.
11. Digging for Gold
This track is certainly one of the more rocky tracks on the entire album and one that I find myself singing along with whenever I put it on. The song is mainly talking about a gold digging woman trying to take the main character in the song for all he is worth.
The album slows right back down with this pleasant little ballad, but it still keeps some of the more edgy sounds from the previous songs in comparison to some of the earlier ballads on the album.
13. My Love Tells Me So
An almost Beatles style sounding verse to this song makes this track seem almost out of place on the album. Despite this the track itself sounds really good and makes a fitting end to this awesome album.
Even though this album is a major departure from Garth's usual style the overall sound and feel of the album is nothing short of amazing. It really is a pity that the whole Chris persona took off and we didn't see more of this style of music from Garth as it just went to show just how good a singer he really is. I would recommend this album without a seconds hesitation and not just to other Garth fans as the sound of this album is nothing like his normal work and it would certainly appeal to a much larger mainstream audience.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
1 That's The Way I Remember It
2 Lost In You
3 Snow In July
4 Driftin' Away
5 Way Of The Girl
6 Unsigned Letter
7 It Don't Matter To The Sun
8 Right Now
9 Main Street
10 White Flag
11 Diggin' For Gold
13 My Love Tells Me So