Christina Rubino - Alive From The Scrapheap (Cover Artwork)

Christina Rubino

Alive From The Scrapheap (2014)


Some artists suppress their emotional selves, while others throw the door wide open for the world to see -- and Christina Rubino is resolutely in the second camp. Her first-ever full-length solo release Alive From The Scrapheap is a testament to this, representing as it does a kind of emotional scrapbook woven together over a period of years in which Rubino overcame addiction, alcohol abuse and the death of her parents.

The sound is raw, rustic and one-hundred percent American. Think a female Johnny Cash with a Linda-Perry-from-4-Non-Blondes vocal, all overlaid with bright, strumming guitars and bittersweet harmonica licks. "Waiting To Break" sounds like a Chrissy Hynde number, Rubino struggling to exorcise the demons of her past as she sings "My mind is a prison, my behavior is a prison, I am a prison," while "Sticks & Stones" tells the story of defiance and hope in the face of adversity, under rolling banjos and moody, twiddled guitar solos.

The production can be a little hard to follow at times, with the arrangements often feeling slippery underfoot, as if one vital element is missing (the odd Hammond organ probably wouldn't go amiss). Certainly, some of the percussion tracks are rather stilted and actually distract from the songs instead of complementing them -- but still, the overall sound does have a simple, unpretentious charm, and in this era of epidemic over-production such a quality is always welcome.

One for fans of slide guitar, music to chew grass to, and good ol' fashioned Americana.