I first met Chris Weller when he came to the Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion a few years back to man a tent for Blue Ridge Outdoors. He was involved with the magazine’s distribution, way into music, and totally stoked about being at the festival.
I knew we would get along just fine.
Chris has since moved on from BRO. In the ensuing years, he has relocated back to his hometown of Indianapolis, where he is the proprietor of Pristine Clean Indy, an environmentally friendly cleaning service, and he has spent some time on the road with some fantastic bands, including honky tonkers J.P. Harris & The Tough Choices and Asheville’s own Johnson’s Crossroad and Bear Down Easy. Chris is now on to a new project, Brandon Whyde & The Devil’s Keep, with whom he will be recording an album this fall, and he is also developing Stoutheart’s, an all-natural body balm for men.
He’s a busy fellow.
Chris and I have remained in touch since we worked together at BRO, but our recent contact has focused on his work in graphic design. Chris recently founded his own graphic design firm, Oh, Happy Dagger, and has worked with roots artists throughout the region, designing concert posters, shirts, websites, logos, and CD jackets.
Recently – and this is simply bad ass – Chris won a contest to design a shirt for Americana icon Darrell Scott. That contest win translated into the opportunity to design the CD jacket and packaging for Darrell’s recent record with Tim O’Brien, Memories & Moments, from which we were lucky enough to pull “Brother Wind” for this month’s Trail Mix.
I had known for a while that Chris had won the contest, so I was pretty stoked when I got my copy in the mail, opened it up, and thought, “Dang. A good buddy of mine put this together.”
Chris’s graphic design work is top notch; his work is an earthy, rootsy feel without dripping with stereotype. I have been lucky enough to have him design the most recent poster for a concert series I coordinate here in Wise and a band logo and concert poster for my son’s band, Mis’ry Creek. We even have a couple projects backlogged and I can’t wait to use them.
I encourage you to take a look at Chris’s portfolio on his website, www.ohhappydagger.net. If you are a band looking for some cool graphics, you would be hard pressed to find a better – or nicer – artist than Chris. And then, when you give your bassist the boot, he can hop in the van and fill in. It’s a win/win.
Almost everything cool and exciting I’ve done in the past few years has come because of graphic design and my love of music. I simply pay it forward and suddenly I’m stumbling upon something incredibly serendipitous. Music has taken me all over the country, and it’s usually because I designed a gig poster in my spare time and somebody needed a bass player.
— Chris Weller, on life