Chris Jones and The Flycatchers: College Dropout
Chris Jones’ vocals expertly toggle between being raw and precise, soft and loud, and are always, ALWAYS genuine. He and his band, The Flycatchers, have an extraordinary sound that will grab your attention at the first note, with a steady rhythmic drum beat and bass line along with guitar riffs that explode to punctuate Chris’s lyrics. It is their masterful blend of lyrical composition and instrumentation that will elevate their new single, “College Dropout,” right to the top of your playlist. Go get it. NOW.
“College Dropout” is an anthem that resonates to music lovers of all ages, whether in reflection, or as a window to current times. It was written as an autobiographical look into Chris’ life when he decided to drop out of college in 2012 to pursue music. I spoke with him about how the song came to be, and he said the statement I’ve heard by so many at that same crossroad, “I went to college because I didn’t know what else to do.” Playing the drums most of his life, he couldn’t bring the drum kit to college with him, so he brought his guitar. That one decision allowed him to focus more on his songwriting, and he really started to identify himself as a writer at that time. Focusing on his passion took a toll on his studies, and he knew that staying in school was not going to be his path, so he left. He took a lot of grief from people he knew, and although intended to motivate him, at times he felt jaded by those comments.
The song begins when he is 19 and is making his decision to leave school, “...when I went away to figure out some things for myself.” It ends several years later reflecting on who he is now as an artist “...but I’ve figured out some things for myself.” The acoustic guitar introducing and ending his story, along with the small nuances and language changes within the lyrics Chris wrote, are powerfully and smartly combined as they weave together both his journey and his growth. In the middle of the song, he chronicles his struggles with “workin’ for the man and the bills” and trying to make his way while he learned some hard lessons about making his passion a reality, “...you can’t pay your dues without lessons to learn, I seem to be leaning on grace.” Through his thoughtfully chosen words, he is able to communicate clearly the anxiety and fear that come from leaving what was expected of him and taking a chance to pursue his dreams when he sings, “...doubt is a merciless thief… that fire will burn you down in time if you can’t learn to stand in the heat.” The message here is honest, the imagery is strong, and the relatability is even stronger for anyone who has made a life choice that goes against the status quo.
The signature lyric from “College Dropout” came from a conversation he was having with a buddy. While they were driving and talking shit back and forth he said, “You’re just a no good, freshman year drop out.” While said in lightness by his friend, it hit him heavy. He wrote that quote down, reflected on that conversation afterward and decided to own it and tell the story. He made a choice, paid his dues and learned his lessons along the way, and now I truly believe he deserves the success that will come to him. Damn, he probably wouldn’t be here as a musician if he didn’t drop out, and while people may have not agreed with it then, many would agree with it now. Chris Jones and The Flycatchers, featuring Isaac Stalling on lead guitar/vocals, Brandon Aguilar on bass/vocals, and Andrew Dolman on drums, have talent that is a tremendous gift to us all. As a music lover, I can’t wait to open that fantastic present when their full album is released!