'Roots & Memories'
(Cool Country Music, 2014)
Cina (pronounced as Keena) is a Swedish singer and songwriter from the city of Boras, who has been part of the Swedish country music scene for many years. In 1988 she won the Swedish Country Music Awards as the lead singer of Freetown Highway, a band she kept touring with until 1995. She then sang in various constellations for about five years before she decided to go solo.
Over the years Cina has performed with several country and rockabilly artists such as 'Rockabilly Queen' Wanda Jackson, Charlie McCoy, George Highfill, Becky Hobbs, 'Sun Legend' Rayburn Anthony and many Swedish celebrities. She has performed at festivals all over Scandinavia and once in Nashville, USA, together with the Charlie McCoy Band. Cina has also performed at a number of special occasions such as the Christmas concert at the Castle of Koberg, home of the Swedish princess Desirée.
In December 2004 Cina released her first solo album 'From Country To Country' and in August 2007 she released the album 'Laugh, Love & Live'. In 2008, Cina found a new channel for her music when three of her songs were chosen for the Swedish movie 'PATRIK, age 1,5'. Her third album 'The Fast Road Home', released in November 2012, contained two duets. In 'You Make Me Feel' Cina sings together with the Texan artist Bobby Flores and in 'I'm Sorry' with Rayburn Anthony as her duet partner. Just like before, Cina had written all the songs.
She contributed a new tune "This Country Girl" to the compilation CD 'Home Is Where The Heart Is', a tribute CD to the city of Boras with various artists, released in March, 2014.
Cina says: ”One summer evening when I was seven years old, my aunt introduced me to country music. At that time I couldn’t speak a word of English, but the music caught my heart, and since that evening I have been a huge fan of this wonderful music. This retro album is a collection of songs from some of the artists that inspired me to become a country music singer. And as they did in the good old days, me and seven fantastic musicians recorded these songs live together, and it was two of the most wonderful days I’ve ever had in a recording studio. I truly hope that these songs will catch your heart as they once caught mine!"
Traditional American country music - from Sweden, sung and played in a very convincing authentic way. Why not? I like this! It gives me a good, old-fashioned cheerful feeling. Despite some tearjerkers, it sounds just as sunny and uncomplicated as Cina's very pretty vintage photo shoot with a red Thunderbird (!) for the lay-out of this album. I listened to Cina before and she gets better on every album she releases. She has a beautiful voice for country music and she does everything right: timing and phrasing, pronunciation, interpretation of all the emotions.
Well-known country artists appreciate Cina enough to give her the O.K. for duets, which is quite an honor! Her long-distance singing partners stayed in Texas and recorded the vocal parts in a studio of their choice. Dale Watson contributes his deep rumbling vocals to "Take Me", written by George Jones and Leon Payne. Cina sings Willie Nelson's "Are You Sure" with Bobby Flores and especially Justin Trevino's voice blends beautifully with Cina's in "Love Is No Excuse", written by Justin Tubb.
In the meantime seven Swedish musicians recorded 'live off the floor' in Gothenburg, among them Cina's husband and brother. They played all the typical country music instruments in a skillful way: drums, upright bass, acoustic and electric and so-called 'tic tac' guitar (doubling a bass line with a baritone guitar), the grand piano, fiddle, pedal steel and lap steel, of course singing background vocals too. They created a spontaneous, classic sound together, indeed 'old school' country in the best way possible!
Cina made a good, interesting choice of her covers, even going all the way back to the 60s for a few songs. She goes from a soulful "Everybody's Had The Blues" (Merle Haggard) and a catchy "I'll Give My Heart To You" (Buck Owens) to a melancholy "There's More To Leaving Than Just Saying Goodbye" (Loretta Lynn) and a very strong "You Took Him Off My Hands" (Patsy Cline). I love the fun version of Lynn Anderson's number one hit "What A Man My Man Is". "Please Help Me I'm Falling" is a truly emotional take on this very often covered classic. Same goes for the much lesser known song "Mommy, Can I Still Call Him Daddy", written by Dottie and Bill West. Oh yes, these sentimental tearjerkers have always been a very essential part of country music!
Cina is very grateful to her aunt, who listened to records of all the great ones, like Connie Smith, Merle Haggard, Tammy Wynette, George Jones, Buck Owens, Loretta Lynn, Jim Reeves, Dottie West, Patsy Cline, Hank Locklin, Conway Twitty, Ray Price, Lynn Anderson and Wanda Jackson.
Cina gave us an inspired, loving tribute to many of her role models. Now we definitely don't need the commercialized side of Nashville anymore, for the real good stuff!
Written by Johanna J. Bodde - February 25th, 2015.