Dianna Cristaldi
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Dianna Cristaldi

Saratoga Springs, New York, United States | SELF

Saratoga Springs, New York, United States | SELF
Band Country Singer/Songwriter

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Spiritual faith and American Roots music aren't often entwined. In the increasingly commercialized world of Contemporary Christian Music (CCM), bland, toothless arrangements and overly slick production usually ensure that commerce is victorious over art. However, on her debut album, New York-based singer/songwriter Dianna Cristaldi is able to unite the soul-deep messages of the former with the authentic grit of the latter. While Cristaldi's religious leanings are not always pronounced, they are immediately apparent when she does allow them to be spoken as on "Open Hand" and the Gospel-tinged "Bye and Bye." A loving duet with Bethany Cristaldi Wurster, "Bye and Bye" deals with death and the afterlife but in a strangely uplifting way. The voices of Cristaldi and Wurster embody the personas of age and the coming of age, their call-and-response singing gradually creating an understanding of how really short our years on this plane are and how we need to prepare for the eventual passing of a loved one. It's a song heavy with real emotion and tenderness. "Open Hand" is closer in style (a bed of softly strummed acoustic guitars and dreamy textures) to CCM, but Cristaldi invests real feeling into it.
Cristaldi's voice is not typical for the new crop of Christian, nor country music. There is a plaintive beauty in her husky, world-weary voice; she piles layers of honest emotion in nearly every track, reeling listeners into her personal narratives. At times Cristaldi's Americana stylings take center stage as on "Hey You," which also has a spiritual bent, while on "What Can I Do?" and "Temptations" Cristaldi loosens her bluesy side with explosive results. Although Cristaldi isn't coy about exposing her vulnerable side ("I've Got Nothing Left" is self-explanatory), she can be tough and confident, too, as shown in the rattling swagger of "Mountain's Majesty."
Christian and country artists are often afraid to comment on politics in their music and often safely march to the right when they do. But Cristaldi bravely speaks of tolerance towards other religions on "Far Away" and condemns young soldiers being sent to their slaughter in Iraq in "No More." Nevertheless, the lyrics lean neither to the left nor the right; Cristaldi is simply communicating from her heart, which is the essence of all art. - INK 19 Magazine reviewed by Robert Sutton


You won’t find that many modern country albums with the kind of compellingly personal songwriting
and evocative, beautifully crafted music that is on Dianna Cristaldi’s self-titled latest effort. Cristaldi unites folk, roots rock, and the blues into seamless slices of life. Her voice - sometimes husky, haunting, sensitive - doesn’t stay in one gear; it shifts with the varying tones of the song, the up and down emotions of the lyrics. On “I’ve Got Nothing Left,” Cristaldi sounds as if she’s been through the most serious heartache possible and is as drained as the tune admits. “From the hollow, I look up in pain/I am not strong enough/There’s nothing left to gain,” she sings with moving passion.
Many of the tracks here are slow and take repeated spins to grow on you; however, the finest LPs are the ones that reward with multiple spins. “Bye and Bye” is a heartbreaking meditation on dying and acceptance with Cristaldi trading verses with Bethany Cristaldi Wurster. Part Gospel, part country duet, it is the highlight of the whole CD, and like the rest of the record, it will stick with you long after you’ve stopped playing it.
- TWANGTOWNREVIEWS.COM



Dianna Cristaldi (http://www.diannamusic.com) has a timeless voice that can be compared to that of Marianne Faithfull. Just when you think that country music has lost its pulse arrives Cristaldi to pump soul into the genre once again. Of course, this isn't commercial country; the corporate heads stateside have divided the genre into two categories - Young Country for the kids and pop refugees and Americana for the purists. Cristaldi actually occupies the space between the two.
Sweeping violins and plaintive mandolin add texture and bittersweet imagery to the opening cut, "I've Got Nothing Left." Cristaldi sings from the point of view of someone who has just been jilted. The difference, though, is that Cristaldi's broken heart has no more tears to shed; it's the most painful of separations, no hard feelings left just burned-out scars. Cristaldi looks to God to find solace, as on "Open Hand" and "Radiant Love," but never comes across as the artificially joyful Bible thumpers clogging the Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) scene.

The ghosts of 9/11 are felt on "Far Away" and "No More." On "Far Away," Cristaldi sings of religious tolerance in a paranoid age in which we don't know who are enemies are while "No More" seems to address the young bodies being sent to fight the war in Iraq ("We've seen our children off to shore/Can't hear their voices anymore"). Both are equally powerful statements free of preachiness. The album has a smooth polish but none of it is too slick. Cristaldi keeps it real, musically and lyrically.
- Whisperin' and Hollerin"



Singer/songwriter Dianna Cristaldi sings of love, death, God, and war without softening the sharp edges of biting reality. This was once the spirit of country music, conveying messages and telling everyday stories without worrying about bringing people down. It’s not that Cristaldi’s songs are depressing; it’s just that they’re not shallow escapist fare or Nashville fluff. In “Open Hand,” Cristaldi reaches out to God, but a happy ending has yet to be found (”As I try to forget/The sorrow and the loneliness”). Mixed emotions abound on this record. “I’ve Got Nothing Left” seemed like a romantic confessional at first, but it’s actually about a break-up (”You’ve left the shore to walk among trees”), one that nevertheless doesn’t have her regretting about being in the relationship even though her feelings have run dry. On “What Can I Do” and the devilishly attractive “Temptations,” Cristaldi wrestles with the blues but much of the LP falls into Americana territory. However, despite the country seasonings this is far from modern Nashville fodder. The lush strings of “I’ve Got Nothing Left” are probably too beautiful for radio, sounding breathtakingly gorgeous within the context of the album. - Hellhoundtrail.com


If only the outline mattered, then knowing that Dianna Cristaldi was born in rural upstate New York, has two daughters, is a striking brunette with an incandescent personality and a smokey, soulful voice would be all you need to know about her.

But a person's life is more than the short-form. In Dianna's case what really matters is that she's been beaten up enough by living to have learned to be tough as nails. She's also loved and been loved enough to have learned to temper that with gentleness. She's lost enough to know the value of things and laughed at herself enough not to take it all too seriously. She's got a passion for living that's seen her travel from Bosnia to the Peruvian Amazon and she's strong enough to have surrendered to the spirits of the mystical plants offered by the shamans there. She's passionate, wild, open, giving, unfettered, loose and smart. She's a mother, a lover, a sister, a daughter and a friend and her music reflects the whole picture, from the hardships she's borne to the love she's received. Her lyrics are darts to the heart of the heart, cutting cleanly through the bullshit to reach the point where it all comes into focus, when the feelings become touch and the touch is fire-hot. Her voice is rich and her music swells...she will be the ghost haunting your soul, the genie playing at the edges of your sight. Go ahead, dance with her. She'll never let you go... - publication


Saratoga Springs singer-songwriter Dianna Cristaldi has released her debut album, and it's an unusually well-executed effort.

Nashville producer Rick Chudacoff is at the helm of the generous 15-song CD, and his textures and arrangements bring to life Cristaldi's songs about love, hope and dreams.

With the acoustic-driven "I've Got Nothing Left To Give You Now," Cristaldi's airy voice emerges. Often it is as if she is talking or whispering the words. Other times it's beckoning - and always enticing. A delicious echoy-guitar hook announces "Why Can't We Love Each Other" and its circular chorus is infectious to say the least.

"Radiant Love" is a standout as its soaring refrain rides above rich layers of guitars and piano. Cellos ring in "Far Away," while "What Can I Do?" - a delightful duet with Woodstock legend David Sancious - has an old-time country feel, as does backwoods stomp of "Temptations."

Dianna Cristaldi's self-titled album is a lovely first effort by a fine songwriter. - By David Malachowski, Reviewer - The Daily Freeman


Discography

Debut Album entitled "Dianna Cristaldi" released August, 2008
Single "That's Where We'll Meet Again" 2011
www.diannamusic.com to hear more complete tracks
and view video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8YmDHgSSXc

Photos

Bio

Spiritual faith and American Roots music aren't often entwined. In the increasingly commercialized world of Contemporary Christian Music (CCM), bland, toothless arrangements and overly slick production usually ensure that commerce is victorious over art. However, on her debut album, New York-based singer/songwriter Dianna Cristaldi is able to unite the soul-deep messages of the former with the authentic grit of the latter. While Cristaldi's religious leanings are not always pronounced, they are immediately apparent when she does allow them to be spoken as on "Open Hand" and the Gospel-tinged "Bye and Bye." A loving duet with Bethany Cristaldi Wurster, "Bye and Bye" deals with death and the afterlife but in a strangely uplifting way. The voices of Cristaldi and Wurster embody the personas of age and the coming of age, their call-and-response singing gradually creating an understanding of how really short our years on this plane are and how we need to prepare for the eventual passing of a loved one. It's a song heavy with real emotion and tenderness. "Open Hand" is closer in style (a bed of softly strummed acoustic guitars and dreamy textures) to CCM, but Cristaldi invests real feeling into it.
Cristaldi's voice is not typical for the new crop of Christian, nor country music. There is a plaintive beauty in her husky, world-weary voice; she piles layers of honest emotion in nearly every track, reeling listeners into her personal narratives. At times Cristaldi's Americana stylings take center stage as on "Hey You," which also has a spiritual bent, while on "What Can I Do?" and "Temptations" Cristaldi loosens her bluesy side with explosive results. Although Cristaldi isn't coy about exposing her vulnerable side ("I've Got Nothing Left" is self-explanatory), she can be tough and confident, too, as shown in the rattling swagger of "Mountain's Majesty."
Christian and country artists are often afraid to comment on politics in their music and often safely march to the right when they do. But Cristaldi bravely speaks of tolerance towards other religions on "Far Away" and condemns young soldiers being sent to their slaughter in Iraq in "No More." Nevertheless, the lyrics lean neither to the left nor the right; Cristaldi is simply communicating from her heart, which is the essence of all art.
INK 19 Review by Robert Sutton