Unlike most of her contemporaries, Cristina Vane has a taste for pre-war American blues from the likes of Skip James, Robert Johnson, and Blind Willie Johnson. Add a splash of slow western waltzes and haunting Appalachian melodies for good measure and she’s tapped in to the very well from which rock and roll sprung. Born in Italy to a Sicilian-American father and a Guatemalan mother, Vane grew up between England, France, and Italy, and was fluent in four languages by the time she moved to her fathers’ native United States to attend university at 18 years old. Vane’s debut full-length album, Nowhere Sounds Lovely, explores the depths of her new home’s musical history from her unique perspective. Americana Highways called Nowhere Sounds Lovely the “best guitar record” they’ve heard this year, and in Glide Magazine’s review, they wrote, “Her sound is somewhat of a throwback, but her emotive, rich voice gives it a more contemporary sheet…there’s also her finely honed guitar playing—earthy, not overly flashy, but with deep feeling and perfectly married on many tunes to her voice.” Holler noted that “Vane’s brand of blues is crafted from an eclectic melting pot of musical influences,” and Lonesome Highway praised her musical depth and maturity, saying “She sounds like a veteran on an album that delivers twelve impressive tracks, traversing between traditional roots, delta and country blues and also rocks out on occasion.” The Bluegrass Situation, PopMatters, The East Nashvillian, and WMOT all shared their love for Nowhere Sounds Lovely, and in a premiere of album-closer “Badlands,” American Songwriter made a complementary comparison; “Like a young Bonnie Raitt, Vane sings from both her voice and her supple, bluesy guitar playing almost simultaneously–her sound as earthen as the South Dakota landscape…” Fans can now stream or purchase Nowhere Sounds Lovely right here.
After spending almost four years in Los Angeles, Vane began to feel stagnant and decided that it was time to take her music on the road. During that time she had built up a solid following on Instagram, so she reached out to her network of fans for help in booking a tour. An outpouring of support ensued, and she was able to book a five-month cross-country tour, playing at small bars, breweries, coffee shops, and clubs, in people’s backyards, through these connections. She crashed with friends, kind strangers, or slept in a tent. “My favorite part about traveling across the country was reclaiming my American heritage, which was very difficult to figure out,” she 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.”
After completing her successful five-month-long touring campaign, Vane relocated to Nashville where she hoped to find a larger community of like-minded musicians. Working with Grammy-award-winning drummer and producer Cactus Moser (Wynonna Judd) on Nowhere Sounds Lovely was assurance enough that she’d come to the right place. “When it came to the album, I wanted it to be a reflection of who I am, not just of the old music that I’ve come to love”, she explains, “and I’m essentially a rock kid who is obsessed with old music.” Moser also played drums on the record and his style “has some grit and some rock, mixed with these really awesome references to traditional roots music,” says Vane. The album was engineered by Rodney Dawson, and also features bass player Dow Tomlin, fiddle player Nate Leath, and pedal steel player Tommy Hannum. These musicians imbued her blues-rock sound with tinges of country and old-time for the first time in her career, reflecting the expansion of her own musical palette over a summer of touring.
Vane’s perspective on American music is a decidedly unique one, but absolutely an authentic one; pieced together through sights, sounds, and experiences just like the pioneers of the music she so dearly loves. If Nowhere Sounds Lovely is any indication, Vane’s ability to carry the torch of her forebears is strong—and she’s just getting started.
Nowhere Sounds Lovely Tracklisting:
Prayer For The Blind
Dreaming of Utah
Heaven Bound Station
Will I Ever Be Satisfied
Wishing Bone Blues
The Driving Song