Chris Staples: 5 Albums That Changed My Life

Chris Staples: 5 Albums That Changed My Life

Hailing from all the way down in Pensacola, Florida, Chris Staples is an American singer-songwriter of considerable taste and distinction.

Primarily working within the spacious confines of alternative rock for the majority of his winding career, Staples first got his start back in 1995, then founding and fronting beloved Pensacola indie outfit Twothirtyeight. Following the disintegration of the band in 2003, Staples embarked on a fruitful solo career, releasing several albums independently and later moving to Seattle where he’d go on to establish his more chameleonic project Discover America.

Consistently evocative and emotionally stirring, Staples’ solo work proves highly personal and wholly earnest, offering listeners a delicate and nuanced glimpse into his very psyche. Fortunately for enamored fans and wide-eyed newcomers alike, his latest record, 2016′s Golden Age, proves no exception. 

We asked Chris Staples to discuss five albums that have changed his life.

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Tom Petty: Full Moon Fever

This was one of the first albums I ever owned. I bout this CD when I was 11. Tom Petty grew up a few hours from where I grew up so he has super mythic status around my neck of the woods in Florida. A lot of the songs on that record are about being lost and lonely and unsure of what to do and that really resonated with me when I was a kid. I love the solid back beat on many of his songs and the space in his music. The way his guitars and rock organ sounds blend, is something I still emulate to this day.


The Lemonheads: Come On Feel The Lemonheads

Evan Dando’s voice has always sounded so great to me. The songs on this record range from punk rock to folk. I think some of the songs sounded so moody to me as a kid. His solo records are great too. Really clever songwriter.


Billie Holiday: The Essential Billie Holiday: Carnegie Hall Concert

I used to buy old cassettes at the thrift store, and record CDs on to these cassettes to play in my van. I recorded this band Texas Is The Reason on one side of an old blank cassette. The other side had this Billie album on the back. It was unlabeled and I had no idea what this music was. It was so beautiful and sad. It took me a few years to figure out who this artist was….I grew up in Florida and jazz was in no way a part of my life. I now own several Billie Holiday records.


Tito Puente: Night Beat

I used to like lots of mathy, fast, aggressive young post-punk music. I checked this album out at the library in Seattle in 2005 and I was blown away at the energy, musicianship and limber-minded compositions. I realized then if I went poking around in other genres I would find great things. This album is bonkers and lays waste some of the music of my youth with similar energy. Who knew Cuban big band was so badass?


John Fahey: The Best of John Fahey 1959-1977

John Fahey put out so many great acoustic guitar albums. I found this album at my church, don’t know why it was there. My mom worked in the church office and it was just sitting on a desk. I took it and fell in love with it when I was around 12. John Fahey did so many weird things in his life. Sometimes when it was time for his records to be repressed, he would re-record them because he was unhappy with the original recordings. The artwork and packaging would stay exactly the same. So basically you could own two Fahey records that looked the same with totally different music. He collaborated with Sonic Youth and other fringe musicians later in his life. He was named by Rolling Stone one of the greatest guitarists of all time.

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