Chris Butcher, the singer, guitarist and songwriter from Mentor, has played numerous Northeast Ohio venues since the mid-sixties. He has worked with many of the most notable musicians from Cleveland's rock and roll history as well. His Music Timeline reads like a who’s who of area musicians.
Chris was born in Gassaway, West Virginia and was raised in the Headlands of Mentor, Ohio. There were strong family ties and frequent trips back to the hills or "back home” as his mom and dad used to say. “The music we listened to as kids was on the radio and on my father’s LP’s … hillbilly, gospel, bluegrass, the Grand Ole Opry, the Louvin Brothers, Elvis Presley, Ricky Nelson, the Everly Brothers… later on it was the Beatles and any of the British Invasion groups. Locally it was bands such as the Mods and the Rockers. The Choir, Cyrus Erie and the Raspberries… among others."
That was the sixties. It was a thriving local music scene and Chris was hooked and became involved very early on. Chris remembers, "We played so many cool gigs in those early days. We may not have hit the big-time but it sure felt like it sometimes". They opened up shows for Dave C and the Sharptones, the Choir, Terry Knight and the Pack (later on Grand Funk Railroad), the Newbeats and Billy Joe Royal to name a few.
Chris sings and plays electric and acoustic guitars... "Its really hard to classify my sound or style because it includes influences from all of the music that I love. Great songwriters, singers, and players... way too many to list. Rock, country, blues and all of the related genres, there are so many sub-categories these days. Just let it rock with some good melodies and harmonies and I'll love it."
Chris has been in sixteen bands since 1965 and has worked with many area musicians over the years. He has won the Music City Song Festival Award and the Billboard Magazine Award for his singing and songwriting. He owns Fortega Recording Studio and has recorded a number of local acts as well as working on his own projects. Chris studied music, audio recording, engineering and electronics. He scored among the highest in the nation (earning a music scholarship) on the Society of Professional Audio Recording Studios’ [SPARS] National Studio Exam in 1986.
One of his latest projects... a collaboration with five other musicians in a band called Abbey Rodeo. Along with Fred Grupe, Verne McClelland, Bob Yocum, Jim Bonfanti and P.J. Philips, Chris has been playing at area venues for the past few years continuing his long musical journey.
Chris hopes to continue on with Abbey Rodeo as long as folks want to hear them. He loves to sing and play the favorites that we all love to hear.
In addition to Abbey Rodeo, Chris continues to work on other projects such as the recently released single, Cadillac Daddy, available on iTunes and other popular sites. Chris' and Fred's Foolish Fire, was recorded by Abbey Rodeo and they have recently released a video album on You Tube called, Chris Butcher & Fred Grupe present... the Abbey Rodeo Project ... a prequel.
Chris on performing live:
"I know thousands of songs and have performed most of them countless times. Trying to keep the show fresh and exciting is what you have to do. For the sake of the audience and the musicians. When the audience seems to enjoy the music so much, it's like I'm jumping on a roller coaster and taking them and myself on a ride. It's a real thrill to play these songs for people."
Chris on playing covers:
"No one can say that playing covers is not a creative process... where do they think all that noise is coming from then?"
Chris Butcher's bio...