Cristina Vane – Nowhere Sounds Lovely
CD: 12 Songs, 42 Minutes
Styles: Mellow Blues, Country Blues, Debut Album
Summer’s here! Not just any summer, but the first one post-COVID-vaccine. Now that we have that option, what do we all want to do? One word: “vacation.” To which place should we go? According to Nashville’s Cristina Vane, Nowhere Sounds Lovely. That may sound like an oxymoron, but it’s true. On her debut album, Vane takes us across the United States, as she herself ventured on a five-month cross-country tour. From “Blueberry Hill” (not the Chuck Berry song, but an original tune) to the “Badlands” to “Dreaming of Utah,” she expounds on the beauty of her father’s native land – she herself was born in Italy – and reflects upon its various lessons.
Featuring twelve original tracks, this mellow, melodic CD is perfect for taking the scenic route. With vocals reminiscent of Norah Jones, Sheryl Crow, and a young Bonnie Raitt, Vane lulls us into a dreamy mood, no matter which places we dream of. What the album lacks in edge and volume, it makes up for in casual, lighthearted atmosphere and gorgeous guitar all around.
“My favorite part about traveling across the country was reclaiming my American heritage, which was very difficult to figure out,” Cristina explains. “Anywhere I went I had my anthropological hat on, watching how people talk and interact. There were new places that sometimes felt totally familiar and sometimes completely foreign. Each pocket of the country has its unique flavor, and discovering the musical stylings that go along with that really informed this record. I knew virtually nothing about country, old-time and bluegrass music until I ventured to the American South, but seeing those different musical traditions on a local level was inspiring.”
Performing along with Cristina (vocals and guitar) are Cactus Moser on production and percussion, Dow Tomlin on electric and double bass, Tommy Hannum on pedal steel and dobro, and Nate Leath on fiddle.
“Blueberry Hill” is a jaunty romp to New Orleans, boasting the rhythm of the Beatles’ “Come Together,” the heart of any Dolly Parton song, and the freshness of a hill-country breeze. Next comes the “Travelin’ Blues,” with more fantastic guitar, and a haunting “Prayer for the Blind.” “Pray for your mothers, all that they do. Blind lead the blind, and, oh, I’ll follow you.” Tommy Hannum graces us with his feisty fiddle, and the banjo’s not bad, either. “Wishing Bone Blues” is a loping number with some down-and-dirty mojo, and “Satisfied Soul” closes out this musical journey with an air of drowsy contentment. After all is done, nothing feels as good as coming home.
Overall, this debut effort is far above average. More musical variety would have helped, as well as one or two boogie tracks. As it is, almost every song could be a slow-dance number. Perhaps for her sophomore release, Vane will dig deep and dive even deeper, into darker recesses of the American country blues psyche. Here’s hoping, and happy vacationing!