Seattle-based band Chris King & The Gutterballs are bowling through Ketchum on a charity tour this week, alighting at Whiskey Jacques’ for a concert on Friday, Sept. 27.
The Gutterballs dropped their first full-length album, “Painwaves,” earlier this year. The 12-track LP earns its title without simpering or excessive pathos. Borne of a hurricane of real personal tragedy and sobering life experiences, the songs of “Painwaves” display a maturity of songwriting and a surety of perspective that few artists achieve in a debut full-length release.
As much as many of the tracks on “Painwaves” drift toward the gloomy and the meditatively melancholic, the overall tone of the album once those songs cohere is something generally more uplifting.
“Overall, we want the listener to feel love,” King said. “There are a handful of songs off ‘Painwaves’ that dive into the darker, more existential side of life, but that are spawned from an honest place. From the feedback we have received, most everyone has been having a healing experience listening to our music.
“If whoever listens to our music can be inspired to make the song their own and to interpret them in their own way, then I think we’re on the right track.”
Most of the songs on “Painwaves” shine through like the more pensive works by some of King’s noted influences, namely Townes Van Zandt and Bob Dylan, with the more upbeat tracks paying homage to the likes of Jackson Browne and Creedence Clearwater Revival and even boasting the occasional nod to Sam Cooke.
As a singer, King’s weatherworn, world-wary voice lands somewhere between Dylan and John Fogerty. His distinct vocal personality perfectly complements all the highs and lows of the songs he performs, such that one could hardly imagine another singer tackling King’s lyrics.
With the objective of the music to inspire, encourage and perhaps invoke some critical thought, it works that Chris King & The Gutterballs are currently in the midst of a charity tour to benefit The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, a volunteer-driven nonprofit organization dedicated to researching cures for those diseases.
“Our focus is to spread love through our music. Benefit concerts are a great way to accomplish this,” King said. “It feels good to be a part of a community working together to help others. It’s a powerful force and sharing our music for the greater good is a pleasure and the least we could do.”
King himself struggles with Crohn’s disease, and although it poses many significant challenges to him as a recording and touring artist, he has learned to persevere and paid special tribute to those who have supported him on his journey, especially his bandmates.
“It has tested my limits as a touring and performing artist for sure,” he said. “There was a time when I thought touring wasn’t an option for me with this disease, but recently I have figured out how to make it work. The community has helped me so much in my struggle with Crohn’s and I am pushing to give back best I can.”
Doors open for the Whiskey Jacques’ performance at the typical time, 9 p.m. A $5 cover charge is attached to attendance, but proceeds go to charity. Through Chris King & the Gutterballs, music lovers will have the opportunity to support a good cause and help make a difference through music.
“Painwaves” and the band’s previous EPs are available for streaming on Spotify and on their official website, chriskingandthegutterballs.com.