Cristina Vane is a traveler, and she prefers in that way. She’s seen the country, camped out, and along the way, she chronicled her experiences, which has culminated in the release of her debut album, Nowhere Sounds Lovely, which is about as fitting a title as can be.
While she admits that location isn’t nearly as important as the lessons learned there, Vane’s travels have resulted in a melting pot of styles on Nowhere Seems Lovely, showing she’s equally as comfortable with a waltz as she is with swampy sounding tunes. That sonic diversity keeps a breath of fresh air flowing throughout the album’s 12 tracks.
We chatted with Vane about moving to Nashville, all about Nowhere Sounds Lovely, working with a heavy-hitting producer, getting back on the road and more!
Pro Country: You’ve recently moved to Nashville after spending four years in Los Angeles. Can you talk about what went into the decision to make your move and what you’ve enjoyed about being in Music City since arriving?
Cristina Vane: I moved to Nashville after five months of touring, as I decided I needed to be closer to the sources of the music that inspires me most (delta blues and old time music). It has not disappointed! There was a little bit of an adjustment period of getting used to seasons again, and generally adapting to my first time living in the south was tricky. The people have shown themselves to be so awesome, and Nashville has definitely schooled me musically in the way I hoped it would. I enjoy the rivers and scenery around Nashville too, but the musicianship and musical culture is what brought me here and continues to fulfill me.
PC: Your new, debut album, Nowhere Sounds Lovely, follows two releases in 2020: your EPs Old Played New and The Magnolia Sessions. With the release of your new album, how important has it been for you to stay active with releases and continuously offering new content?
CV: I have a lot of songs! Part of the way that all played out was because Nowhere Sounds Lovely took two years to get out; so many kind folks had funded the record with me that I wanted to give people something to listen to in the meantime, and The Magnolia Sessions was a serendipitous addition to that since Dan at Anticorp reached out with the concept.
PC: What went into the decision to release “Badlands” as the lead single to Nowhere Sounds Lovely?
CV: I just have always known that this was going to be the first single. I think it captures my roots very well with a rock feel, but also obviously showcases my slide playing and blues influences! I love singing and playing this tune, and Jason Hassell made the most beautiful video to go along with it.
PC: As lovers of waltzy songs, “Dreaming of Utah,” is our favorite song on Nowhere Sounds Lovely. Can you talk about the inspiration behind the song?
CV: I actually woke up in Nashville about a month after having moved here and literally had dreamt of Utah. It was one of my favorite nature stops on my long tour/journey, and to wake up in a bed in a room in Nashville, not in my tent in the dust in Utah, bummed me out. That song sort of spilled out onto the page almost intact. The music was a nod to my first months in Nashville, trying to achieve a more country chord progression. I was listening to a lot of Hank at the time.
PC: You’ve said that “Prayer For the Blind” is based on a story that a Nebraskan couple told you. Is it at all important for you to strike a balance of being receptive to telling the stories of others as well as telling your own?
CV: While I find that a very worthy endeavor and obviously sometimes do, telling other peoples stories isn’t usually my writing style. That is partly why I am so proud of this song among the others on the record, because I was pushing myself to write about people, places and things outside of myself. The balance in my case is mostly I write from personal inspiration, but occasionally a phrase, image or story will stand out to me and inspire me to write about that.
PC: The album title, Nowhere Sounds Lovely comes from a line in the song “Travelin’ Blues.” What was it about that line that you felt summarized the album’s theme and drew you to make it the album title?
CV: Well, the album was written almost entirely during the experience of traveling across this country for the first time. Not only that, but my general life story has involved a LOT of moving around, and a lot of new places. In a way, “Nowhere sounds lovely/well I’d sure like to go there” sort of sums up the process I’d arrived at in my travels; realizing it has never been about the place as much as what I learned getting there. Cliché, I know, but I found it to be very true.
PC: You enlisted Cactus Moser, who has had great success as a performer and as a producer, to produce Nowhere Sounds Lovely. What drew you to record with Cactus, and what was it like to be in the studio with him? What were you able to take away from the experience?
CV: Cactus is a charismatic, funny, talented and innovative musician, and he made the process of this record very enjoyable. The musicians he got on the record taught me a big lesson in how important killing your ego is. I strive to be as talented and humble as them one day. That was a big takeaway honestly: to realize that working with other musicians should be easy and friction-free when it is your project.
PC: Do you have a favorite song on Nowhere Sounds Lovely? If so, why is it so special to you?
CV: That’s so hard! I think one of the songs that really makes me proud is “Wishing Bone Blues,” it’s an older song, and there is so much drama and emotion in the song and the production on the record. It almost feels cinematic to me, which is cool!
PC: What do you hope listeners take away from Nowhere Sounds Lovely after listening all the way through?
CV: I hope they enjoy the journey I took them on, which is a reflection of my own real-time journey. I look at it like a photo album of my life that anyone can enjoy and interpret as they want.
PC: Live performances were largely cancelled in 2020 and are still slow in the early part of 2021 for many artists. As someone who admittedly loves the road and sharing your music around the country, what was the adjustment like for you?
CV: It has been such a confusing and scary time for so many people, musicians are no exception. I struggled with feeling a sense of purpose when live shows went away, but we’re slowly getting back out there and I want to put that behind me as we look toward the future.
PC: Along with promoting Nowhere Sounds Lovely, what are you plans for the rest of 2021?
CV: I have a few local shows on the books, and then three or four short tour legs for the rest of the summer. The plan is to continue playing and get into the studio to start album #2!
*Feature image by Oceana Colgan*
**Cristina’s music is featured on The Best of Pro Country playlist!**
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