By Joe Mack
Henryetta native Chris Blevins continues to ascend along a trajectory I was lucky enough to witness in its beginning stages some five-plus years ago. A lot happens to us in five years, and for Blevins, the timeline is marked with highlights and lowlights: becoming a father, losing your parents, relationships, work, victory and defeat in all its forms.
But if you can climb above all the noise and chaos of all those things and everything else life hands you, throw it in the pressure cooker, and make something good out of it, folks will notice. Week after week, more folks are taking note of this soulful songwriter that strikes right to the core, who just happens to play at The Mercury Lounge every Monday night at 8 p.m.
Casually, I’d describe Blevins to John Q. Public as a “cerebral Stapleton” – the man can sing with as much vigor and vitality as any male vocalist out there today. He’s also got the gift of gab, and knows how to weave the right earworms and metaphors into a fabric that’s easy to be entangled in for hours on end.
“My dad was a professional trumpet player,” Blevins says, who’s surprisingly sharp, yet somewhat
reserved. “At age 4 or 5 I could get the horn to make some sound. I’ve been hooked ever since.”
The 32 year old singer/songwriter is often joined by a core band of musicians including bassist Paul
Wilkes, guitarist Johnny Mullenax, multi-instrumentalist Hank Early, keyboardist Andrew Bair and
drummer Matt Teegarden. Of course, Blevins finds joy in playing with his comrades, but also plucks out
the humor in the hubris.
“The paradigm that a ‘professional musician’ should exist at all is insane. For hundreds of years music
was just performed in nature or churches – for free! It’s a calling, and the fact I’m able to play music and
generate revenue is sheer luck.”
With the latest record, Grief, Love and Other Gifts, Blevins had a particular female voice in mind to help sound it out: Chloe Beth.
“She was like 18 or 19 when we started recording this record a couple years ago,” remembers Blevins, “We wrote some of these songs with her voice in mind.” Chloe’s voice is front and center on several tracks on the album, and even caught me by surprise when her voice appeared first on the opener, “Letting Go.”
Overall, the title tells the tale of the collection.
“We started out writing a concept record simply about grief and the human condition, because my mom was slowly dying,” Blevins shares. His mom died from ongoing health problems that collided with COVID-19 on December 23, 2020.
“It’s such a weird thing…I was scornful when she passed, but I know she’s better off than she was. I miss her a bunch, every day…but I’m glad she’s gone.” Gone to a better place. To peace and rest. But in the book of life, when one chapter ends another begins – fatherhood.
“When my wife and I started out, she already had a five year old, so I had a bit of a preemptive course in
fatherhood. It’s made me calmer, more patient, self-reflective, and appreciative of my partner’s
parenting skills,” Blevins said, clearly emotional. “By far, being a dad is my favorite thing in the world.”
My favorite thing in the world is getting folks to open up about what’s really real, and my earlier
observations of Blevins’ reservations concluded the man is 100 percent all heart and zero percent
Blevins and the band are working on their forthcoming aptly titled album, Mercury, which is tentatively
scheduled to hit streets later in 2021. In the meantime, get music and full gig schedules at
chrisblevinsmusic.com. Or, of course, subject yourself to the ebb and flow crapshoot that is every
Monday night at the Mercury Lounge. For complete details visit mercuryloungetulsa.com.
Joe Mack is the former Editor-in-Chief of Currentland Magazine and Northwest Arkansas Entertainment
Magazine, and is currently a multi-media marketing specialist at Tahlequah Daily Press. He resides with
his wife Pam and their domesticated herd of fur babies on five acres in rural Cherokee County in