Crystal Sands’ debut album
Interview/Album Review By: Brianna
Nightingale, CSO Staff Journalist
Realizing the importance and thrill of writing her own
songs, Crystal Sands began transforming her own poems into
melodies at the age of thirteen. She has always loved to
write, so over time, her creative side naturally began to
facilitate the process of song writing.
She began playing in a local band at the age of sixteen to
continue polishing her singing skills and doing whatever she
could do keep her dream alive through high school. A trip to
Nashville, which Sands took shortly after her high school
graduation, was a life-changing experience for her. Some
people who noticed her talent invited Sands back to Music City
so she could record a multiple-song demo with the very
Lang; the demo led her to 3XC Music Publishing,
Wood Newton and Carl Ray. Now, less than two years later,
Sands has an album produced by Newton and Ray with huge
influences by many talented artists that she admires.
Not only is Sands’ vocal style similar to singers such as
Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette, but the influence
of these artists is also clear throughout Sands’ album in
the songwriting style she chose to include.
Although seven of the songs on Sands’ debut album were
written by Wood Newton, she included a glimpse of her own
original song catalog. Two of the cuts, which are partially
accredited to Newton, “More Than Gas” and “Wrapped
Around His Finger,” are significant because he and Sands
wrote them together.
“I need more than gas to get away from you
My tank is full but my heart won’t move
I could drive for days if I wanted to
I need more than gas to get away from you.”
In “Wrapped Around His Finger,” a wedding band
symbolizes a man’s love that continues even after the
“angels came and took his angel home.” On the other end of
the spectrum, gold rings in the clever “Melted Down
Memories” represent various relationships that are to
hopefully be forgotten.
A slightly harsh but comical divorce in “Hank You” is
the counterpart to “Happy,” which is about being in a
pleasant relationship and doing everything to make sure the
other person is satisfied.
Despite getting over a heartache in both “Bottle of Wine
and Patsy Cline” and “Not Any Closer,” then offering
affection in “These are Them,” Sands’ vocals are
Knowing that throughout our lives many of us get into a
groove or situation that we aren’t sure how to get out of,
“Train Leaving Dallas” tells three stories of others who
are in this type of situation. The train represents an
opportunity to change each day.
One of numerous highlights on this album for Sands is a
duet with Ron Williams, the son of Leona Williams and step-son
of Merle Haggard. “Everytime I Think It’s Over” is
certainly one of my favorites on the album. Sands and Williams
complement each other well; this struggling love song’s
lyrics are thoughtful and wise, often including a line I am
keen on, “Everytime I think it’s over, I think it over
Singing about “small town girls with big time dreams”
in the song “Crazy That Way” must give Sands a great
feeling of satisfaction as she realizes the value of the song.
It is almost certainly a very dear song to her, as it was
written by Carl Ray and Wood Newton, the two album producers.
“Under a Tennessee Moon,” written and produced by Kelly
Lang, wraps up the album. This song, which Sands has had on
her MySpace page for quite a while, is a touching yet
informative song about Nashville’s history.
Continuing her endeavor to follow her dreams, Sands
recently made the move from Maryland, where she grew up, to
Texas, where many of the artists whom she admires perform
regularly. Sands has come a long way from where she started
with a karaoke machine in front of her family at the young age
of three. She has acquired an incredible group of supporters,
continued to strengthen her voice and now she has a debut
album that proves it.