by: Thomas D. Mooney
Amarillo singer-songwriter Chancy Bernson is coming in on releasing his third full-length album–fourth release overall–this week. The 10-track Back in Time will officially be released Friday, April 15, along with a CD release at Amarillo’s Golden Light on Saturday, April 16.
On Back in Time’s lead single, “Burning Up the Highway,” Bernson continues to shape a narrative of a self-proclaimed “weekend drifter”–a weekend warrior of sorts driving from home-to-work-to-gig-to-gig-to-home-to-hit-repeat. “Running behind but never late” may be the most revealing line in the Cross Canadian Ragweed-esque garage rocker. It’s perhaps not as edgy or “rock and roll” as some of his contemporaries weekend endeavors are glamorized to be, but it’s honest representation nonetheless.
Really, the only misstep–more of a missed opportunity–of the song is the placement on Back in Time’s tracklist. Bernson opens up with “It took me six songs to get to work,” which would have fit possibly better in the seventh slot rather than the eighth.
Like the lead single, much of Bernson’s Back in Time plays like a Texas country album of the early 2000s. There’s plenty of rough around the edges country rockers like “A Little While,” and “Sign of the Times,” but the real highlights of the album come when Bernson and company trade in their honky-tonk or bar band grit for something more laid back and down home.
Songs like “Sober,” “The Flame,” “Floods,” and album closer “Without You Now” find Bernson in a familiar comfort. It’s songs that aren’t just driven by his acoustic guitar, but songs that fit the acoustic world. “Without You Now” specially has that introspective quality we all look for in songs.
Perhaps the best moment(s) on the album are the two versions of “Sober”–the latter version coming in the form of a hidden acoustic song a few minutes after “Without You Now.” There, Bernson’s break-up ballad has harsh clarity. There, the telling chorus line “I don’t want to drink alone, but I don’t want to be sober” hits hardest. It’s not just a binge drinking world out there.
Listen exclusively to Bernson’s Back in Time below before the release Friday.