Chas Sandford – Barking Up the Right Tree!

January 14, 2012 by Danny Burns

Chas Sandford’s first big break came when he ran away from home at 15.  It was chance that put him and his guitar in an alley in Inglewood, California.  Ike Turner wandered into that alley from the back door of his recording studio wearing a tiger striped robe and slippers, and asked him if he could play the guitar he was carrying.  He said he could.  And play he did.  Later that very night he recorded with Ike & Tina Turner and Delaney & Bonnie and Friends.  

“I was very lucky.  I’ve been blessed and fortunate to have been in the right place at the right time…many times.  I often call myself the Forrest Gump of the music business.  If I’d left one minute earlier or later, that wouldn’t have happened and who knows where the course of my destiny would have gone.  I had angels watching over me.”  It may have been angels that helped him to be at the right place but it was hard work and talent as a guitar player, producer and songwriter that took him down a road that other’s only dream of traveling. 

“I was 15 and very green.  Didn’t know anything.  I grew up in sort of a conservative family in Georgia and hadn’t had any world experience.  [Music] was my dream, always.  That’s what I thought I would do.  I didn’t know how I would do it where I was.  It was like wanting to run away to the circus.  So, I literally did.”

For years Chas was a session player, songwriter and producer in Los Angeles.  His first album,  “Parallax View”, found a modicum of success on its own,  But, it was the attention his songs got from other artists like John Waite (“Missing You” – over 6 million airplays), Stevie Nicks (“Talk to Me”) and Chicago (“What Kind of Man Would I Be”) that brought him to the forefront of songwriting’s elite few.  The man can definitely write hit songs.

Over the years in Los Angeles, Kauai, Nashville and currently in Franklin, Tennessee, Chas worked as a producer with Rod Stewart, Roger Daltrey, Berlin, Willie Nelson, Ron Wood, Bonnie Raitt, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Gene Loves Jezebel, Jimmy Barnes, Dan Hill, Gina Schock, Don Johnson and many others.

In the late seventies, Chas worked with Bette Midler. “I did Broadway with her, did a film with her.  We actually dated.  I took her to the Academy Awards when she was nominated for best actress (“The Rose”).  That was kind of wild.”

In 2010, he released the hit filled album, “Wag More, Bark Less”.  The album is full of emotion-packed, heart-felt songs produced, engineered and mixed by Sandford himself at his studio, Secret Sound.  Chas wrote or co-wrote all of the songs with a battery of Nashville’s best.  Veterans Greg Barnhill, Lee Roy Parnell and other Music City notables lend songwriting and musical talent to the album. This collection of songs is a rocking good time looking for a place to happen.  But, with an introspective look at the many emotional facets of these great lyrics, you might just want to take the time to give it a careful listen.

Just last year Chas re-connected with Billy Ray Cyrus. “Billy Ray’s a great guy. He’s genuine. He’s very generous. I’ve known him for years.”  He listened to Chas’ album and loved it.  When Billy Ray called Chas after listening to the album, he raved “I hope this doesn’t sound weird, but I’m like your biggest fan.  This record just floored me.  It’s amazing…all of it!  Would you do a GAC special with me tomorrow night?” Saying yes to that invitation took him on the road to appear with Billy Ray on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, The Tonight Show, The View and many other top-rated shows.

For the third time in three years, Chas will be bringing his beautiful 12 string Taylor guitar and his incredible writing talent to the stages of the 30A Songwriter’s Festival, here in our little stretch of paradise in South Walton.  He performed last night to a packed house at Fire.  He will also be at Amavida tonight (Saturday, the 14th) at 8:30 PM and at Caliza tomorrow (Sunday, the 15th) at 6 PM.

For more information on Chas and to hear his music visit:
Let Love Back in This House – 30A SWF 2011 -

I Ain’t Missing you – Belfast -

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