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When Words Fail, Music Speaks

Updated: 6 days ago

A Biased Review of Daughter of Sun, An Album By Kris Wallace

Album artwork Cherokee woman with red bird trees and mountains

Legend tells that long ago the Sun had a daughter. The sun loved her dearly, and let her play on the Earth. Daughter of Sun roamed the forests, danced with the breeze, swam in the Earth's oceans, and warmed herself in sunlight. She was happy, and the Sun was happy.


One day, the Sun could not find its daughter. She had been killed in the night while the Sun was not watching over her. The Sun was sad, and cast darkness over the face of the Earth.


The people of the Earth were frightened. One of the people, a Cherokee woman named Kai, endeavored to retrieve the Sun's daughter from the land of the spirits. She found the soul trapped in a box. She was crying and afraid. Her spirit was choked in the box with no air. When Kai opened the box a red bird, a cardinal, flew out and began to sing. The Sun heard the cardinal's song and was filled with joy. The Sun smiled upon the Earth with light and brilliance again.


But Kai could not leave the land of the spirits. Her own grief had trapped her there. The Cardinal stayed with Kai. It showed her how to accept her grief instead of letting it weigh her down with the dead. With help from the Cardinal -the Daughter of Sun- she left the land of the spirits. Her grief stayed with her, but she now knew how to accept it and push onward.


Musician, Kris Wallace drew inspiration from the legend above as well as his own story of re-learning how to live after his mother passed away. Aptly titled Daughter of Sun, Wallace explores the stages of his grief through his instrumental hard rock and heavy metal arrangements.

"My mom loved gardening and being outdoors, and when I see a cardinal I think of her spiritually. " -Kris Wallace, January 9, 2023

Wallace's latest album is influenced by Alter Bridge and Creed, but specifically, by Alter Bridge's 2019 effort Walk the Sky.

"That record got me through a very dark period in my life, and helped motivate me to record and start new material which led to Daughter of Sun." -KW

However, Wallace's music is distinctly his own. He frequently draws comparisons to musicians from various genres, but none of these accurately describe his unique brand of expression.

"That's what makes my compositions so special because people can comprehend them to whatever they like." -KW



Daughter of Son

The album opens with Cycle, a short arrangement of pads and keys that beautifully sets the somber tone of the following track, Killing Me. The second song on the album may be the most complex in terms of moving parts but does not overwhelm the ear. Following Killing Me is the chugging anthem, Harmonic Convergence. The melodic guitar passes in this song are juxtaposed by an underlying riff that does not disappoint. There is a break from the onslaught with the fourth song, Hesitate. This song still rocks in its own way but is more introspective and performed at a lower tempo than the previous two.


My personal favorite song is the fifth track on the record, Avondale. Though there are no lyrics throughout the entire album, you can almost sing along to the hooks and melodies Wallace articulates through his guitar playing. Calm Before the Storm serves as an interlude before the title track, Daughter of Son, which is the most exotic-sounding song on the album. This song contains my favorite bass/rhythm guitar groove, and also showcases Wallace's arranging and writing abilities the best. Each unique instrumental part combines beautifully to form one cohesive unit and provides the listener with a lot of ear candy to enjoy.


If there is one song that is the weakest on the album it is the eighth track, Denial. On its own, it may be an okay song, but on an album as good as Daughter of Son, Denial just doesn't seem to carry the same weight as the other tracks do. Next, Wallace slows things down with the solo acoustic piece, I Know Your Face. All of the songs are instrumentals, but this song could really be improved by lyrics (and I happen to know that Kris Wallace does sing and can write lyrics that are as exceptional as his guitar riffs). However, it breaks up the listening experience, and has me hoping for Wallace to release an acoustic only album.


The second to last song, Acceptance, is the only song that I can clearly hear the influence of Creed. As the name would suggest, this song serves as the climax to Kai and Wallace's journey through grief. I have listened to this album half a dozen times by this writing, and Acceptance gives me chills every time. It's an incredible track and one can really feel the emotions poured out and overcome by Wallace throughout the performance. If you happen to buy this album, Acceptance alone is worth the cost.


The last song, Onward, is fittingly the longest song. Life after grief is often longer than life before grief's onset. While the song is not depressive, it is chaotic, and probably the heaviest on the whole album. Its placement after Acceptance serves to remind the listener that, though we can learn to live with our grief and accept our past experiences, those things never truly leave us. We will always carry our trauma, but it is not the trauma that defines us. It is the way we chose to carry the pain that shows the world who we truly are.


A note on Friendship

I have had the pleasure of knowing Kris Wallace since middle school, and count him as one of my best friends. I never met his mother, she died before he and I became friends, but I always thought that I got to know her by seeing the lasting impact she had on Kris's life. My appreciation for this album is likely more than most because I was with Kris for so much of his journey of living a "post-life" (life after trauma). I've gotten to watch him grow as both a person and a musician, and his new album perfectly condenses that experience into a 45 minute listening session. Almost 20 years of memories, trials and achievements are captured and told through the music in Daughter of Son. It's a cliche to say that any artist injects part of themselves into their creative expression, but it is more than true with Kris Wallace and his music. If you listen to this album, you can get to know a part of Kris as well as I do.


Kris Wallace

You can learn more about Kris Wallace and his music at his website kriswallacemusic.com. He is a Denton based musician and very active teaching music online and in his private studio. You can purchase Daughter of Son on Apple Music or listen to him on Spotify. He also has a YouTube channel where he posts videos of covers and jam sessions not available through other outlets. Kris Wallace wrote, preformed, recorded and produced every part on Daughter of Sun.


Links:

Kris Wallace Music

Apple Music

Spotify

YouTube

The Story of Kai and the Daughter of Sun


Corey D. Evans received no financial compensation in return for his review of Daughter of Son.




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