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Album Review

Dryland's essays and musical sketches plunge the listener into sensitive and moving tales accompanied by Chris Pureka's Stevie Nicks-style guitar plucking and distinctive voice. Listen to her mournful fade on "Momentary Thief," the sixth track on her second full-length disc: it's an extraordinary tune that builds with each listen. Much like Jackie DeShannon on her underappreciated masterpiece You Know Me, this young singer/songwriter has much to offer. Introspective and deep, the landscape is akin to Neil Young's Harvest without the explosions of "Alabama" and "Words." Pureka keeps that subtle approach close to the vest from song to song — "Everything Is Free" feeling those soulful chord changes while Allison Miller's drums and Lyndell Montgomery's bass keep pace — and provides a solid embrace for the catchy melodies. The packaging is totally in sync with the country element, the voice and violin tightly aligned in "Compass Rose." The songs are four to five or more minutes long and Mark Alan Miller's superlative production allows them to sparkle without getting cluttered. When Ferron's Shadows on a Dime was released in 1989, it heralded a new approach. Pureka is not pioneering in that fashion, but she has definitely taken up the mantle that Ferron provided and the results are satisfying and full of musical intrigue. If Chris Pureka can continue to deliver music along these lines in the future, she will be a contender and Dryland will be a cornerstone for her fans to dip back into and enjoy. At 51 and a half minutes, Dryland is generous and important.

Customer Reviews


Chris Pureka's CD is a perfect piece to add to anyone's library! The music and her voice work in perfect harmony to make every moment you listen enjoyable! My personal favorite is "Momentary Thief," but every song is wonderful! This is a worthy addition to the folk genre!

"Dryland" is definitely worth purchasing.

"Dryland" is an extremely moving album, distinguished by poetic lyrics and doleful instrumentation. Pureka has managed to create an album of extraordinary caliber, especially for a sophomore release, and especially for someone so young. This is the sort of album an artist might normally take years building up to. An incredible achievement. If there is anything negative to say, it is that all of the songs presented are depressing. One hopes for the audience, as well as the artist, that the next release might include a song which exudes joy as much as these do melancholy.

Keep coming back for more

I went to an Ani DiFranco concert in southern Oregon and Chris was the opening act. I am usually wary of some opening acts. Some are good but some are not. I was sitting waaaay in the back, on the grassy hill, and didn't think much as Chris was introduced out. I had just driven four hours straight and was really wanting to just lay down and relax. Ani wasn't coming on yet and I was tuning out. Yet Chris' music, on more than one occaision, had my ears perk up and I would roll up to an elbow and watch the tiny specks on stage. By the end of her set I was sitting upright and listening intently. The songs were minimalist but had a LOT to offer and I enjoyed the subtle layers and changes and the harmonies. I downloaded "Compass Rose" first and have fallen in love with song. Chris had said something about imagining riding in a motorcycle sidecar while her grandmother drove the motorcycle when she plays this song and now I can't help but picture such a happy scene when I hear it too. I came back a couple of days later and downloaded another song. A few days later, another song. Finally I just finished downloading all of this album. 30 second soundbite doesn't do the songs justice. They are a simple and yet complexly enriching like wholegrain oatmeal with honey on a cold winter morning. I fully expect to begin hearing more buzz about Chris as time moves on with her talent, songwriting, and amazing singing. Thank you Chris for making music such as this.