KEXP Video Premiere: Chris Staples – “Spinning Wheel”

Photo by Adrian Centoni

Chris Staples has a way of turning the simplest of ideas into affecting, serene poetry. It’s something he’s fine tuned over his career, from his days fronting Florida indie rock outfit Twothirtyeight and throughout his solo work crafted here in Seattle. His latest song, “Spinning Wheel,” may be one of the clearest manifestations of his subtle and powerful use of melancholic lyrics with sparse instrumentation.

Appropriately, the video for “Spinning Wheel” finds Staples inside his own spinning wheel. During a single-shot take, Staples performs the quiet song while he rides the Seattle Great Wheel. Even though the camera hardly moves, the scenery continually changes. The wheel starts with Staples at its top and slowly crawls down to the water and close to the restaurants on the pier. By the time the song ends, Staples is back to almost exactly where he started. When he sings “I gotta get out of here/You can’t hold me here forever,” it takes on added poignancy in this cyclical setting. Paired shaky voice and the muted colors of the video, the performance is a graceful homage to feeling stuck in the same patterns and things to hold you back.

The intimate video is also appropriate as Staples gets ready to embark on a cross-country house show tour. “I’m doing close to 30 living room shows this summer, as well as a few clubs,” he tells us. “I love playing house shows. It’s such a great environment for live music. It’s the most personal a show you can get. It’s strange and wonderful, to meet a group of strangers and a few hours later leave as friends.”

“I’m turning my van into a camper and staying in national parks along the way” he continues. “My plan is to see some beautiful country and write some songs about it. Our politics are obviously in great turmoil, but the land and the people are what I love about this country, and I’m hoping I will feel reconnected to that through this trip.”

You can see his full tour itinerary here. Before he hits the road, Staples will first open for Lo Tom on Saturday, August 19th at the Tractor Tavern. Staples’ most recent LP, Golden Age, is out now on Barsuk Records.

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