Christina Crofts – Just How Love Feels
9 songs – 35 minutes
Christina Crofts is an Australian singer/guitarist who released her debut solo album, MidnightTrain, way back in 2008. Since then, she did release a four-track EP, Like We Used To, in 2016, but spent much of the intervening period caring for her husband and mentor, guitarist Steve Crofts, who suffered from Huntingdon’s Disease and who eventually passed away in 2016. After his death, Crofts then suffered from her own anxiety disorder. Just How Love Feels is a glorious return from Crofts, however, showcasing her song writing, singing and blazing slide guitar.
Just How Love Feels is a short album, with all nine original songs packed into just over half an hour, but it’s a blazing half hour, bristling with attitude and bite. With muscular backing from bassist Stan Mobbs (Crofts herself also played bass on two tracks), drummers Ross Clark and Tony Boyd, this is traditional blues-rock played with an almost punk attitude without ever losing its heavy blues influences. Crofts spits out the lyrics with real venom, and she is totally believable when she snarls on the opening track, “Looking Back On You”: “The best sight I ever saw was looking back on you. You were crying on the highway in my rear view.” Some commentators have likened her voice to Lucinda Williams, but there is also some of cold fury of Jimmy Barnes and the wry coolness of Chrissie Hynde.
Equally important as her voice is her stellar slide guitar playing, which nods towards Rory Gallagher but retains the righteous ferocity of the great Rose Tattoo. She is one of the most impressive electric slide players this reviewer has heard in recent years. Her melodic playing on tracks like “Someone Younger” lifts the song onto a different plane.
Just How Love Feels is a blues-rock album that straddles the divide between the two styles beautifully. There are no “pure” blues songs on the album – indeed, in structure the songs sit firmly in the rock spectrum – but Crofts’s exemplary slide guitar playing ensures that every track is imbued with some deep blues. A song like “Just How Love Feels” would not sound out of place on a Cold Chisel album but the slide guitar is all blues. The minor key “Miss My Man” is perhaps the closest to a blues song, although there is also a hint of the Americana of Slaid Cleaves there too.
Although recorded as a threesome (with over-dubbed guitars and additional backing vocals from Ty Coates on two songs), Just How Love Feels has a warm, full sound so great credit is due to producers Russell Pilling and Marshall Cullen at Damien Gerard, as well as Don Bartley, who mastered the album at Benchmark.
If you enjoy the likes of Rory Gallagher, Rose Tattoo or even early Hanoi Rocks (on tracks like “Voodoo Queen” or “A380”), you will find a lot to enjoy in Just How Love Feels. Here’s hoping Crofts does not wait so long before releasing her next album. There is some serious talent here.