Singer-songwriter-guitarist Christian Lopez will release his sophomore album Red Arrow (Blaster Records) on September 22nd. Produced by Marshall Altman, the album illustrates the next chapter in the artistic maturity and sonic evolution of this promising young artist.
Lopez’s debut release Onward (2015) was produced by Grammy Award-winner Dave Cobb, and received accolades from a wide variety of press outlets including Associated Press, Southern Living, No Depression and The Bluegrass Situation. He was featured as a Rolling Stone Country’s “Best Newcomer” and Country Weekly’s “Ones To Watch,” while American Songwriter called him “…an artist with a rich career ahead of him.”
In notable contrast to his debut album, Red Arrow finds Lopez sharing some of the songwriting duties this time around, something he says just developed naturally. “So much of the previous record was written at home in West Virginia, long before I had a record deal,” he explains. “I had developed into a solo writer just out of circumstance. But touring and sharing a lot of time and miles with so many other inspiring musicians just lends itself to the spirit of collaboration.”
That spirit permeated the time Lopez spent writing material for Red Arrow, leading to collaborations with road friends and noted writers alike, including Dave Berg, Liz Longley, Gabe Dixon and Mindy Smith. It was the combination of the time Lopez spent in those writing sessions along with the new ideas and melodies that he’s constantly crafting on his own that enabled the growth evident on Red Arrow.
An innocence informs “Swim The River,” through lyrics that conjure the thrill of young love. On “Don’t Wanna Say Goodnight,” Lopez kicks into high gear, riding by the rockabilly rhythm as if hearing it for the first time.
On “Caramel,” which features Lopez accompanied by Kenneth Pattengale of The Milk Carton Kids on backing vocals and acoustic guitar, he sings of the wear and tear on the heart, a universal experience for a young man.
Among the true standouts on the album is a track Lopez did pen himself. Titled “Steel On The Water,” the song was written as he spent time aboard the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis performing for the crew as it journeyed to port after an extended tour of duty. Lopez was so profoundly moved by the stories shared with him by the young men and women of the crew, most of whom were very close to his own age, that he felt compelled to write about the experience even before returning to port.
A native and resident of West Virginia, Lopez’s style has been influenced by a variety of artists ranging from Kris Kristofferson, to the neo-Americana sounds of The Avett Brothers to writers like Jackson Browne and James Taylor. As his style continues to evolve, Lopez’s music comfortably resides in the center of a triangle where country, the Laurel Canyon sound and pop sensibility connect.
Red Arrow documents the next page in the journey of an artist with the road wide open ahead of him.
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