Author: Kevin Wierzbicki
9/14/11 | Campuscircle.com | www.campuscircle.com | Record Review
What happens when boy (from rural Nebraska) meets girl (from Los Angeles) and they fall in love? Marriage was the obvious answer for Chris Senseney and his bride Stefanie Drootin-Senseney, who also quickly began a musical collaboration known as Big Harp. And you know what happens next. Along come the little ones: a boy, a girl and the newborn White Hat.The songs on White Hat are certainly not lullabies, but Senseney (this would be Mr. Senseney) has a relaxed, matter-of-fact quality to his singing style that could surely calm the kids if needed; even songs like "Goodbye Crazy City," about escaping the unsavory side of urban life, sound like a piece of cake thanks to Senseney's laidback attitude.There's no twang to Senseney's voice, but there is to the music; "All Bets Are Off" is a mid-tempo Texas swing, "Let Me Lend My Shoulder" is done in a style that fans of Townes Van Zandt will recognize and "White Hat" has a down-home jangle to it, the kind that informs the work of everyone from Merle Haggard to John Prine. Drootin-Senseney plays bass throughout and sings some background vocals, but this is not a duets record; White Hat is about establishing Chris Senseney as a new voice on the western/alt-country scene, and the stories he relates here will have Big Harp fitting in nicely with the Austin set.