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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 talented Kelly 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 persistently strong.

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 again.”

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.


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