Chucktown Takes: Live from St. Philip offers listeners an unfiltered glimpse of singer-songwriter Charlie Marie. The collection of new material contains a smattering of curses and conversation among the compositions, but the Rhode Island native has never been the type to gussy up her recordings for the sake of appearances. Rather, the raw takes, recorded in Charleston and featuring accompaniment from guitarist Brian McKinnon, place the focus squarely on Marie’s assertive voice and contemplative pen.
The idea of people searching for connections, whether they be temporary or permanent, reverberates throughout Chucktown Takes. The opening track “Countryside” contends that a familiar melody can cross all social and geographic divisions. Marie’s lyrics speak to the commonalities that exist among a population seemingly separated by an ever-growing chasm. She respectfully tips her hat to all (“We’re all stars in a different show”) as she acknowledges the value of the diverse people she’s encountered in her travels.
The narrators of “Rodeo” and “Rhinestones” are both in search of more intimate relationships, although their stories are approached through different lenses. In “Rodeo”, fleeting moments of euphoria are soberly balanced with poignant reality (“There’ll come a day/When I’ll settle down/And dream of when/The rodeo came to town”) while “Rhinestones” argues against settling for anything less than long-lasting happiness (“It’s hard to find a diamond in a world full of rhinestones/I’ve got my eye on a heart made of gold”). Marie infuse her characters with strength as she confidently voices their aspirations and disappointments.
Acting as both an introduction to potential fans and a follow-up to Marie’s 2015 self-titled EP, Chucktown Takes allows listeners to experience the sparse honesty of Marie’s songwriting. They’ll find she’s in fine form.
Charlie Marie: Official site