Photo credit: Laning Photography
The Book of the World unfolds creation’s story with every soaring note and layered lyric.
All the trees are bursting into bloom
Let’s shed our winter coats and frozen dreams
I could hide safe inside of my lonesome cocoon
but it’s a glorious Texas spring.
The opening lines of Christine Hand’s new single, “Glorious Texas Spring,” rejoice in the possibility of new beginnings. With her new album, The Book of the World, the Dallas singer-songwriter announces a fresh start of her own.
Christine Hand has been performing her soulful folk-rock in the Dallas/Fort Worth area for twenty years. Her first full-length studio album, The Book of the World, released on May 7, 2018, after a year-long roll-out of singles. In follow-up to her 2011 EP, Girl on a String, The Book of the World appeals to fans of her acoustic folk-rock sound, but takes her music to a new level of maturity and vocal ingenuity. She sings with a passion and intensity that is reminiscent of Carole King but with the soul of Sam Cooke.
The songs on The Book of the World celebrate everyday inspiration found in coffee cups and bluebonnet fields, imagining all creation as a book of revelation. Two of the tracks from the new album earned Christine a spot as a finalist in the 2018 Al Johnson Performing Songwriter Competition at the Wildflower Arts and Music Festival.
The album’s first single, “Glorious Texas Spring,” takes the wild Texas springtime as its muse, with a local flare that highlights Christine’s Fort Worth roots. Rather than the typical country sound of Nashville or the twangy blues of the south, Christine brings a fusion of gospel, country, and folk that lets us imbibe a little Texas. If you have never lived with the back-and-forth of tumultuous storms and sanguine big blue skies that is Texas in April, then listen to Christine’s vocal range in this song. It is at times strong and others gentle like a Texas spring or a lover’s embrace.
Born in Fort Worth, Christine has been singing, playing, and recording music since 1998. In the early days of Do-It-Yourself recording, she recorded and released three albums, sometimes burning CDs at home and putting the CD packages together in the car on the way to gigs at coffeehouses and churches across DFW. In 2011, she recorded her first studio project, the EP, Girl on a String.
Girl on a String was the first project recorded entirely by the trio that performs in her live shows: Christine on vocals and acoustic guitar alongside multi-instrumentalists Ed Hand and Adam Jones. The trio's exciting live performances are often characterized by joyful acoustic renditions of Led Zeppelin and Beatles classics, and this EP reflects that influence, with its folksy guitars, soulful-sweet vocals, and sixties-inspired organ tones. Girl on a String chronicles the ups and downs of love, but without rehashing tired themes. The literary and biblical allusions, the feel-good classic rock tones, and Christine’s ethereal and bluesy voice form a blend as comforting and energizing as your morning coffee.
Christine made her way to Dallas where she earned a PhD in literary studies. “I wanted to do my dissertation on something that would bridge my academic world and my music world,” Christine says, “so I focused on Bob Dylan.” One can find Dylan’s influence in the way Christine weaves imagery into her lyrics that is as much poetry as it is music. "Dylan invented the singer-songwriter as we know it," says Christine. "Without him, none of us who write and perform would have a model to follow." The Dylan model can be an intimidating one, but Christine embraces the challenge: "The number one thing I learned from Dylan is to be myself and trust myself as an artist. Dylan met his own expectations first no matter how they differed from the expectations of fans or critics."
Christine’s blend of music and literature extends beyond her interest in Bob Dylan. She has written for the stage, including original songs for local musical theater and musical settings for Shakespeare’s lyrics for productions by The Stolen Shakespeare Guild in Fort Worth. And her latest album, Book of the World, sees all of creation as a text to be read, as she moves effortlessly between the local details of this world and the timeless wonders of the next. Her debut single, “Glorious Texas Spring” expresses the heart of the album:
All I need are your arms around me
and the stars singing glory above.
All I know is the book of the world:
I read and believe in true love.
Christine Hand’s The Book of the World unfolds creation’s story with every soaring note and layered lyric.