While it can be said that there isn’t a moment of her sophomore LP in which she isn’t singing her heart out, there’s something very special about Christine Hand in the climactic chorus of the song “Take it Slow,” one of the eleven charming tracks featured on her new album Standing on the Shoulders. In Standing on the Shoulders, Hand proves that despite the enigmatic culture of contemporary singer/songwriters both abroad and in the Dallas-Fort Worth scene she calls her own, she’s an artist who has nothing to hide from behind the microphone, and telling stories via the melodic songcraft she’s so talented at producing is her number one priority in this second stately release.
Acoustic guitars can go a long way towards shaping the emotional depth of any composition, and in the case of “In the Black and White,” “Slow Dance” and “House of Bread,” their strings magnify the lyrical statements made by Christine Hand rather beautifully. There’s a retrospective element to a lot of the verses she sews into the fabric of the guitar-born harmonies in these tracks, but rarely does it ever feel as though her narratives are anything other than self-aware. As unfortunate as it is to admit, egotism has become commonplace among alternative folk artists in the last half-decade, but for this player, it’s never difficult to distinguish when she’s singing from personal experience or depicting observations of the world around her through the majesty of song.
I would love to hear Hand play in person sometime, and after getting hooked on “Love Me True,” “Simple Life,” “Be Still” and “Time to Embrace” in particular, I think her style of play would likely be even more effective when heard on stage than it is in these studio sessions. She puts so much heart into the material here, and especially in these specific compositions, and if even a fraction of the presence that she’s got in Standing on the Shoulders were to translate well in a concert hall-style environment, there would be virtually no limits to what she could accomplish on the road both at home in the United States and on the international circuit with the talents she’s been so richly blessed with.
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Christine Hand might not be a household name just yet, but with chops like hers, she’s well on her way to making a big impact on the American indie underground well outside of her native Texas with this sound. Standing on the Shoulders is a brilliant look inside her artistry, and if any of its eleven songs manage to find a home on college radio between now and the end of the next year, I would expect a mainstream following to emerge by the summer of 2023 for sure. There are a lot of singer/songwriters striving to develop the same kind of persona as Hand is in her latest release, but of those who have a legitimate chance at making it big in the music business, few have turned in the complete effort that this young lady has through her 2022 breakthrough LP.