Catchin' up with Chris

Finally, the folkie's back - and, this time, as the main event

By Chris Azzopardi

Chris Pureka is an old friend. Or at least, after three interviews with the queer folkie, it seems so. Over the phone, we're very shoot-the-shit, talking about randomness - the sucky weather and how she still digs tempeh ruebens - and new (more Melissa Etheridge-y) music. Which is something Pureka, who lives in Massachusetts, hasn't recorded herself in two years, when album "Dryland" was released - but will appease fans with an EP to tide them over until her next full release, due this summer.

Called "Chimera" - in mythology, a fire-breathing female monster with a lion's head, goat's body and a serpent's tail - it represents the mish-mashiness of the EP, which features lo-fi live tracks, a cover, an instrumental ditty and an unreleased tune. It'll be sold at her first headlining gig at The Ark in Ann Arbor, where she's played second fiddle (opening act, that is) several times. She's geeked, but a tad worried she booked this during the wrong season. We couldn't agree more.

Hopefully you've got a big truck to get through any snow?

Nope (laughs). We have a pretty little car and we're gonna be smooshed into it, to be honest, because there's three of us and all our gear - and it's a hatchback. The good news is - actually, I think - we have some good leeway to get us to Ann Arbor. It's one of the only shows that has leeway. We're gonna be coming into town early. That's probably the most likely show that I'll be able to appear at (laughs).

Phew! What have you been doing over the last two years?

Touring a lot, actually. Which is part of the reason why I haven't recorded, because I've been on the road a lot and it means that I'm not writing as much - because I don't write when I'm traveling. So, it just means I haven't had enough songs to put on a record. I've had a little bit more time off over the summer and the fall, and I've been working on writing, and I have about three-quarters of the record written.

You're pretty much known for having a lot of downer songs. Will the depressing vibe carry over?

(Laughs) It has the potential to be my darkest record, actually. It's really dark still; it's not like oh-you-broke-my-heart kinda stuff. It's more about life issues and, like, I don't know. This is the first time I've actually talked about the new record, because it's obviously not recorded and the songs aren't even entirely done - so I haven't really articulated yet very clearly what exactly this record is about, so bear with me.

So what were your muses for the record - any good trips, new relationships, bad relationships?

It's interesting, like this record is a little bit more, um, it's not quite as personal in that way; it's a little bit more vague, kind of. It's not like very specifically personal and there's some elements that are political, actually - which is something that has affected me in the last couple years. It's definitely not overtly political, but I think the themes are more broader-scope.

Chris Pureka

8 p.m. Jan. 27

The Ark, Ann Arbor

Free show

http://www.chrispureka.com

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