Playing Through Pain With Cristina Vane

Sometimes people have a determination and intensity that is not obvious at first. In our conversation after her performance last August at the Reeves Theater in Elkin, NC, she said, “I’m not gonna wait for something, some miracle to happen, right? So I have to get out there and like, just do it. Nike sign style, you know, just do it. And so that’s what I I’ve always done is just get in my car and do it.” She said it without reference to her show, an intense enough environment on a good night, let alone a night where she stood atop a very recent gash on her foot. In Cristina’s case, the cut would have to take a back seat to this tour and this night’s performance, would not warrant a mention of her own, and be relegated to remain there for a half hour more while we spoke. Intensity, indeed.

Hers was not the only example of an artist playing through pain there at the Reevestock Music Festival.  Saturday’s headliner was Darrell Scott’s Electric Trio, and just days ahead of their performance, drummer Jeff Sipe had undergone hand surgery; he played with a large bandage nonetheless. Both bands put on fantastic shows as it turned out, with the backdrop of injury only adding charge to the atmosphere. Cristina played her set mostly standing, but did sit while playing some of her songs, which included music from her second and latest album, Make Myself Me Again. She played plenty of new music as well, which is coming sometime in the future, on album number three. Afterwards, we enjoyed a lively conversation touching on everything from the apparent irony of how she fell in love with American blues music at a pub in England; how growing up in Europe affected her perceptions of both her American and Guatemalan identity before coming to live in the U.S. and then falling in love with the American West; how she has rewritten her own priorities while still staying true to her purpose in life; her obsession with Skip James and Blind Willie Johnson, and much more.

Cristina Vane poses for a photo before her performance at the Reeves Theater in Elkin, NC 08-04-23

Thank you so much for dropping by and giving this podcast a listen. This series is a part of the lineup of both public radio WNCW and Osiris Media, with all of the Osiris shows available here. You can also hear new episodes on Bluegrass Planet Radio here. Thanks to Corrie Askew for producing the radio adaptations of this series on public radio WNCW, where we worked with Joshua Meng who wrote and performed our theme songs. And big thanks to everyone at the Reevestock Music Festival for having me emcee the event, which gave me this opportunity. This is Southern Songs and Stories: the music of the South and the artists who make it. – Joe Kendrick