Chuck Prophet writes and sings wry, trenchant rock songs that connect the dots, musical and otherwise, between Tom Petty and Warren Zevon. Stylistically, Prophet embraces a host of traditional and classic sounds, including country, soul, LA rock, indie-rock, folk-rock, and plain old rock ‘n’ roll. On his most recent album, “Night Surfer,” he adds a bit of glam and prog-rock to the mix.
Lyrically, Prophet is deceptive, seemingly tossing off one-liners in his wry twang, but often in the service of full-fledged story-songs or sociopolitical narratives that are always cinematic, often funny, and subtly brilliant. The California rocker is a quirky original who has been associated in one way or another with musicians and bands including Ryan Adams, Lucinda Williams, Cake, Kim Richey and Kelly Willis. Think of him as America’s answer to Ray Davies.
Prophet’s band, the Mission Express, includes James DePrato (guitar), Paul Taylor (drums), Kevin White (bass) and Stephanie Finch (keys, guitar). Prophet himself is no slouch on the Fender Telecaster.
Reviewing his August 2013 show at Helsinki Hudson, local rock critic Seth Rogovoy wrote, “Prophet entertains with a bemused nonchalance that belies an awesome talent. His songs – drawing equally on blues, country, pop, and soul — range from cinematic stories to sociocultural critique to confessional heartbreak, but always with a clever narrative strategy. His narrators could well be the spawn of Randy Newman’s narrators, and like that elder master of pop irony, he gives voice to them with a jaded, arch delivery that is as much persona as it is personable. “
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