Originally published in Guitar World, November 2010
Teen-folker Christofer Drew releases his second album in less than a year.
Christofer Drew, the elaborately coiffed teen-folk heartthrob at the center of Missouri’s Never Shout Never, admits that he was originally drawn to acoustic music because the songs he loved by Bob Dylan and Woody Guthrie seemed easy to play. “Most of them have three chords,” he says. “I was like, ‘I could do that!’ ”
But now that Never Shout Never are a certified MySpace sensation (138 million plays and counting), Drew has finally gotten around to sharpening his chops. “There are kids on YouTube who play my songs better than me,” he admits, with a laugh. “I used to be mostly into strumming, but these days I’m concentrating on putting some country twang on the whole shebang. I’m trying to get my chicken-pickin’ up.”
There is indeed a bit of fast-finger action on Harmony, the new Butch Vig–produced follow-up to Never Shout Never’s majorlabel debut, What Is Love?, released in January 2010. But the first thing you notice is Drew’s sweetly sunny songcraft, which recalls the late-Fifties work of old-school tunesmiths like Buddy Holly and the Everly Brothers. “I feel like that music was from a purer time, when pop songs were so free and fun, and they weren’t mocking anyone,” he says. “You could just write a catchy little song with lyrics like ‘Bop-a-bop.’ Someone does that now and everybody dogs on them.”
Well, not everybody. This summer, Never Shout Never regularly inspired bouts of emo-Bieber fever while on the road with Warped Tour. And Vig says Drew “has such a great grasp on arrangements”—high praise coming from someone best known for working with Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins. “I think we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg in terms of what he can do,” the producer adds. “It’s gonna be interesting to see where he takes this.”