Onward, the debut full-length release from the West Virginia based Christian Lopez Band, will be released May 19th, via Blaster Records. Produced by Dave Cobb (Sturgill Simpson, Jason Isbell), Onward features ten original songs written by the band’s 19 year-old namesake, which tackle themes of love, perseverance, coming of age and an appreciation for where you are in life. The lone cover on the album is a spirited version of the public domain Gospel song “Oh Those Tombs” that was later popularized by Hank Williams.
Lopez hails from the eastern panhandle of West Virginia, where he was influenced by the Appalachian bluegrass tradition, jam bands (thanks to a nearby college) as well his father’s deep record collection. His dad turned him on to the folk rock sounds and great songwriting of artists such as Jackson Browne, and James Taylor, yet Lopez was also young enough to soak up the energy of Americana roots revivalists The Avett Brothers and Old Crow Medicine Show. It was these fiery, acoustic bands that inspired him to trade in his electric guitar for an acoustic. Lopez began writing songs as a teen (which he still is) and, backed by a group of local players, began touring before he was old enough to drive.
Featuring lyrics that demonstrate that Christian’s outlook on life is wise beyond his years, the material on Onward reflects Lopez’s wide range of musical influences while expressing his vision of where he sees himself as an artist. “Leaving It Out”, the album’s focus track with an upcoming video emphasizes making the most of what you have right now and not wasting time. “Seven Years” could be about a relationship or friendship that’s run it’s course, yet understanding that with change comes growth. A highlight of the album is the haunting “The Man I Was Before”, laced with beautiful harmony and old-time banjo from Chelsea McBee, the song exudes Lopez’s West Virginia influence. “Goodbye”, the album closer, sums up Lopez’s goal of pursing a career as a full time musician, and the sacrifices necessary to follow that dream.
The Christian Lopez Band will be doing just that in 2015, with a full tour lined up in support of Onward. For a full list of upcoming tour dates please visit: http://www.christianlopezband.com/tour/