Weaned on Waylon, Willie, Johnny and Kris, Christian Lopez has been dedicated to making music since the time he was 15. He began outputting his songs five years ago and in that short expanse of time he’s recorded three albums and demonstrated that despite a weary blue-collar ethic, he’s learned more than a lesson or two along the way. “I’m not good at leaving, but I’m good at holding on,” he sings on Red Arrow’s opening track “Swim in the River,” indicating that for all today’s hard-bitten circumstance, he retains more than a small measure of optimism and willingness to persevere as well.
Lopez doesn’t so much alter the template as adapt it to his own designs. These songs purvey a quiet determination that suggests that regardless of present circumstances, there’s still hope on the horizon. On “1972,” Lopez finds comfort in the distant past, singing about that faraway year as if it’s a salve for salvation. The beautiful 7 finds him eager to get to that point as quickly as he possibly can. Indeed, there’s a rugged sensibility inherent in each of these songs, and on a tune like “Silver Line,” he sounds positively exhilarated at the prospect of finally finding some sort of celebratory conclusion, as accentuated by handclaps and all.
Even the lonesome strum and fiddle of “Someday” brims with clarity and confidence, an optimism that overshadows any past pitfalls or misplaced promises. Likewise, in Lopez’s capable hands, a simple love song simply sounds so profound. Even the half-hearted entreaty expressed on “Say Goodbye” (“I kinda want to see your face… I kinda want to take you home”) explodes with a full measure of conviction courtesy of his eagerly expressive delivery.
That, in essence, is the gift Lopez shares so adroitly, the ability to convey an everyman persona as immersed in the most ordinary of circumstances and simultaneously inspire enthusiasm in the process. Terrific songs and an upbeat attitude suggest Lopez well deserving of a full measure of success.