Bio and Press

“When you feel like you’re lost, and tired from travelling, walk on, you’re slowly heading home”. That’s the first line of song written by a man who, geographically, has many homes. Songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Chris Altmann is originally from the Adelaide Hills in South Australia, and now divides his time between Melbourne, Hamilton, and Nashville. Along his journey he has embraced many musical styles; from his first group, country-rock tinged The Drowners, to the more modern pop/rock sound of The Vandas, and on to a solo career steeped in early 1970s Americana.

If “home is where the heart is”, then Altmann’s current residence is within his latest musical project, Nothing But Nice Things, a follow up to his 2010 solo debut, Que Paso. Here you will find a more sophisticated writer, who has drawn from his recent experience co-writing with some of Nashville’s hottest to select 10 of his strongest compositions. The album explores themes like spirituality, love, and people in society, with soulful, piano-driven melodies, sparse guitars, and rich backing vocals grooving to solid drum and bass lines.

When not playing shows with his 10-piece revue-style band in Melbourne, Chris plays pedal steel and banjo with rising Canadian country star Tim Hicks.  He’s also an in-demand session player, appearing on dozens of roots recordings in Australia and Canada.

Altmann finished 2012 with an extensive Australian tour in support of Nothing But Nice Things. In 2013 he returned to Nashville to embark on a 3-month songwriting residency funded by the Australia Council for the Arts, who selected Altmann as the first recipient of this new initiative.  He is now focusing on songwriting, with plans to release a new album in 2015.

What the Press has to say about Chris Altmann:

Que Paso: “An upbeat and highly entertaining premiere outing.” – Exclaim! Magazine (Canada)

Que Paso: “Impossible to resist. Altmann’s charisma just shines, the songs are great, the album sounds like it was a buzz to make” – Rhythms Magazine (Australia)

Que Paso: “3 ½ stars. The record sizzles and pops like beans over a fire; one part 70s Rolling Stones, one part The Band, and one part Faces. Chris rocks his big-hatted butt off!” – The Sunday Mail (Adelaide)

“4 stars. There’s nothing alternative about Chris Altmann’s brand of country. Que Paso is like a double shot of Jack Daniels served up straight.” – The Age (Melbourne)

Que Paso is so much more than booze and bruising country rock. There’s no real mystery in Chris Altmann’s ability to search out, mine and exploit the best in country and southern bar rock – it’s simply a matter of raw talent.” – Beat Magazine (Melbourne)

Nothing But Nice Things: “3 ½ stars.  Altmann seems a musical Merlin, drawing together like-minded players on this debut album simulating, in atmosphere, something akin to Cocker/Russell’s Mad Dogs and Englishmen.” – Maverick Magazine (UK)

Nothing But Nice Things: “4 stars.  Chris Altmann makes fine, uncomplicated pop music, and he makes it sound simple.  Melodies flow, lyrics feel true and unforced, and the instruments serve the songs, played with style and flair and never any showboating.” – The Age (Melbourne)

Career Highlights:

  • Selected for an Official Showcase at the Americana Music Festival & Conference 2011
  • Nominated for The Age’s EG Award for Best Male Artist 2010
  • Australian supports for Joe Pug (USA), Those Darlins (USA), and Shane Nicholson
  • Performing with Tim Hicks, Mick Thomas’s Shackleton, The Immigrant Union, Tim Roger’s Temperance Union, Wagons, The Little Stevies and Suzannah Espie, playing pedal steel, drums, fiddle, banjo, guitar, keyboard and mandolin
  • Songwriter for Mushroom Music Publishing
  • Performed at Apollo Bay Festival, Boogie Festival, Brunswick Music Festival and Caravan Music Festival
  • Rhythms Australian Debut Album of the Year 2010 Readers Poll: Que Paso