‘Eternal Student’ Chloe Fuller is shaping herself into a master
One of the visceral pleasures of experiencing live music in coffeehouses, clubs and ad hoc venues is encountering a new or new-to-you artist, and realizing you’re witnessing the emergence of an original voice. It’s not quite like watching one of those time-lapse films of plants unfurling, but there is a similar thrill in witnessing an artist stretch and evolve.
Throughout the past year, Northern California native turned Venice transplant Chloe Fuller has been impressing jaded L.A. audiences as an artist to watch. The self-taught guitarist and songwriter has been posting home videos to her YouTube channel for six years as she practiced the licks and compositional architecture of songs by the Black Keys, Captain Beefheart, Bob Dylan, and Tallest Man on Earth, with encouragement from viewers. She still calls herself an “eternal student” of her musical inspirations — a diverse list that stretches from Howlin’ Wolf to Roky Erickson and Gillian Welch.
But now, singing with a Dolly Parton-esque trill, Fuller is a proficient fingerpicker whose fretwork defines folk tunes like the chugging “Pyrite,” which deploys fool’s gold as a metaphor for relationships and self-preservation (“Pyrite is as it does/ Never means to hurt nobody/ Only gleams for what it wants/ It will leave you bruised and bloody”).
The self-described tree hugger and vegan’s most powerful song is the acoustic rocker “Stack Them High,” inspired by her volunteer work at Farm Sanctuary’s Animal Acres in Acton. It’s told from the point of view of a butcher hardening his heart while transporting cows to slaughter: “Gonna stack them up just like my dollars/ Gonna see that I can turn a blind eye/ To suffering and squalor/ … Say goodbye to Mama/ We got something new in store for you/ No matter the trauma/ Don’t move a muscle/ Stay as still as can be/ And when the hammer comes for you that’s/ When you’ll see you don’t matter to me.” It’s likely to be a highlight of Fuller’s set at the Cinema Bar Saturday night. It’s a solid lineup recommended for those with a taste for dive bars and rootsy rock ‘n’ roll.
— Bliss Bowen
Chloe Fuller opens for Patrolled By Radar and Sam Marine at the Cinema Bar (3967 Sepulveda Blvd., Culver City) at 9 p.m. Saturday, July 22. Admission’s free, but donations into the tip jar are encouraged and go directly to the
musicians. Call (310) 390-1328 or visit chloefullermusic.com.