In the boys’ club of Australian Blues, there is a dearth of stand-out women bandleaders. And the few who rise to the top are almost all singers. Which is great, but in a music that is built on the conversation between a human call and a tart guitar response, surprisingly few play blues guitar on the level of a Shane Pacey, Kirk Lorange or Jan Rynsaardt.
One who does is Christina Crofts. And no one plays guitar like Christina Crofts.
A rising voice in the Australian Blues world, Crofts consistently peels back the ears of audiences with her razor-toothed slide guitar work and very Lucinda Williams vocal and attitude. Her playing, performing and songwriting is imbued with the spirit of her late husband Steve, one of this country’s most underrated guitarists.
But Croft’s voice is very much her own and on her new EP – Like We Used To – she has realised the strongest expression of it yet.
Opener ‘Breakaway’ rolls in like a howling thunderstorm, shot through with the white lightning of Crofts’ Stratocaster. The rhythm section of Stan Mobbs and Tony Boyd literally thunder under the guitars – Crofts and engineer Russell Pillinghave gone for the over-amped Marshall sound of much contemporary blues here, and it is a force of nature.
The title track, ‘Like We Used To’, which follows is a tasty, upbeat contrast. A spry piece of Tex-Mex rock’n’roll, it has a sweetly nostalgic feel and a warm ear-worm of a guitar lick. It also brings out the country edge to Crofts’ vocal, which is a perfect foil to her six-string work.
Don’t Cry’ is even more country rock’n’roll with the groove held steady under the sure tiller of Mobbs and Boyd.
Closer ‘Lucy’ is a juicy Little Feat latino-funk groove which tells a story of Bad Woman Blues. Crofts’ slide-guitar here virtually scratches your eyes out from the first note, its tone befitting the morality tale of the home-wrecking protagonist. Crofts’ lyrics throughout deserve a mention: they work on classic blues and roots templates, as you want, but have a wit and originality about them which is a relief in an often cliché-sodden genre.
It’s been a long wait since 2008’s Midnight Train for some new music from Christina, but Like We Used To will convince anyone with ears that she is back and ready to spit sparks. Watch out boys – she’s the hellhound on your trail. "Midnight Train", Christina’s debut album on the market shows that she is not just some pussyfoot in the blues. Some liken her sound to that of Rory Gallagher. I myself also hear influences of Stevie Ray Vaughan and early Guns'n'Roses combined. But this is only a tedious description of her powerful, straight ahead, rocking songs in which nothing is of real comparison to women like Bonnie Riatt or the acoustic delicacy of a Rory Block. No - here rocks a woman with all the guitar driven power of a man’s world! Nathan Norgel, (www.wasser-prawda.de)
John Hardaker -https://wordsaboutmusic.wordpress.com/2017/01/28/album-review-christina-croftslike-we-used/
If scorching hot blues slide guitar and raunchy sizzling solo's are your thing, then check out the new 4 track EP "Like We Used To" by Christina Crofts. This little gem of an EP sizzles from start to finish with 2 smokin' country rock songs nestled in the middle. Features Stan Mobbs on bass, Tony Boyd on drums and Ty Coates on backing vocals. Definitely a must have. USA has Bonnie Raitt, Australia has Christina Crofts.
(Mark 'Radar' Watson)
"'This is blues rock of a high quality....Lucinda Williams meets Rory Gallagher downunder!"" Ron, Rootstime (online magazine)