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Christina Maria

Christina Maria has spent much of 2009 traveling between cities, playing shows and living without a fixed address. This experience inspired the Vancouver-born singer-songwriter to craft her most focused set of songs yet, which appear on the new album Straight Line.

The seven-song collection is the follow-up to last year's Stars & Satellites, but unlike the wry, observational style of her previous work, Straight Line turns the focus inward. Each song finds her at her most emotional and introspective, from empathetic character portraits to reflections on her own relationships. The bubbly acoustic strummer "Kind Friend" was written after the singer discovered that an acquaintance had spent time in prison after being convicted of murder, its sunny tone belying its morbid subject matter. The looming, Eastern-inflected "What You Make It" was inspired by a neighbour's stalwart attitude towards being evicted from his home. "I sit on my porch and watch it all and fold / Up my hands together, funny how they fade" she sings, a hypnotic drum loop providing the backdrop for banjo chords and a brief, unexpected foray into reggae.

In keeping with Christina Maria's freewheeling lifestyle, she opted to record the songs with five different producers at different studios across the country, seeking inspiration and growth from each collaborator's unique approach. Her sessions in Vancouver with Ryan Dahle (Limblifer, Hot Hot Heat) produced "Travel Back in Time," a spiky folk rocker that features purring organ and click-clacking castanets. With Ryan Guldemond (Mother Mother) she recorded "Carolina" as well as the horn-laden "Straight Line," an after hours jazz lilt which showcases the singer's elastic vocal range. She later went on to record with Russell Broom (Jann Arden, Sam Roberts) in Calgary, David Baxter in Toronto and Stephan Ritch in Montreal. Each session featured a different cast of backing musicians, and their contributions created a lush patchwork of instrumentation that changes with each song.

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