chris haugen

Chris Haugen is a nationally recognized guitarist and producer based on the West Coast. Chris is known for his fluid, innovative style, musical intuition,  and warm soulful tone on both guitar and weissenborn.

He is a recording artist for Real Music/Cutting Edge Group, and commissioned artist at Google. Among his collaborative credits are Sean Penn (Into the Wild), Ken Kesey, and numerous touring, session, and film credits. His catalog of songs has over 10M streams. 

The San Francisco Chronicle describes Chris' music as "...haunting and otherworldly, like a time capsule from a lost kingdom, perhaps Atlantis."

You can find Chris’ music on Spotify, and other major channels.


SF Chronicle

datebook feature

When a musician who has worn many hats throughout his career finally finds the right one, it can be an emotional experience. Chris Haugen, a talented lap steel guitarist with cobalt blue eyes, knows he's found it with his CD "Seahorse Rodeo," and when he tries to define the moment, his gaze falters a bit.

"Seahorse Rodeo," released in the fall, is a beguiling account of a creative process spun from Haugen's strings.

Mark de Gli Antoni, the keyboardist-composer who was in Soul Coughing and is currently touring with David Byrne and Brian Eno, provides Mellotron samples on a few "Seahorse Rodeo" cuts.

Songs for Penn's film

Haugen got a shot at film scoring when Sean Penn invited him and their mutual friend Hannan to contribute a couple of numbers to Penn's film "Into the Wild." 

Haugen says he hopes film scoring will be in his future, but for now he's dealing with the precedent of "Seahorse Rodeo," which sounds utterly fresh .

Ken Kesey became a fan

Kesey summoned Haugen to participate in another adventure, touring a play called "Where's Merlin" around England and Ireland, sponsored by the BBC. 


Haugen auditioned and won a long-term gig as guitarist in former Jerry Garcia Band keyboardist Melvin Seal's group, then started playing with New Orleans singer Theresa Andersson.  He worked with Taj Mahal, J.J. Cale, Maria Muldaur, Charlie Musselwhite, Les Claypool and many others.

Obsessed with guitar

"What makes Chris an interesting musician to me is his natural blend between jam and song," Antoni says in an e-mail. "Many players fall on either side of the divide. Chris (integrates) both qualities in a real qualitative way. He's a craftsman, a kind of builder/shaper of music.”

Chris adds, “When I heard the Weissenborn, it had this open, woody sound, and I just loved it. I found my voice on it." The Weissenborn is one of the reasons "Seahorse Rodeo" sounds so haunting and otherworldly, like a time capsule from a lost kingdom, perhaps Atlantis.

- David Rubien/Chronicle Staff Writer