From crystalline picking to angelic songcraft, singer/songwriter Christie Lenée’s forthcoming new album reminds devout listeners and recently converted fans of her spiritual and sublime songwriting, featuring inspired lyrics and, of course, sensational guitar playing.
A Tampa native and North Carolina resident, Lenée took First Place at the International Fingerstyle Guitar Championship in 2017, was voted Acoustic Guitarist of the Year by England’s MusicRadar in 2019, and was named Named “Best Acoustic Guitarists in the World Right Now” by Guitar World in 2020.
Coming Alive, with its iconic guitar hooks and powerhouse vocal performances, is a giant leap forward. This time out, she decided to make everything bigger, brighter, and more electric. The first line of the first song, the title track (“I’ve got a feeling deep inside”), tells you everything you need to know: Lenée’s sixth album is a chronicle of joy and hope, of self-confidence and empowerment, of renewal and light.
Coming Alive was conceived in the heart of the pandemic. “Since I was in a quiet introversion in a log cabin in the mountains of Lake Lure,” explains Lenée, “I found that the only place I could travel was inside the journey of music.” The original plan for the album was to make a stripped-down acoustic/vocal record. “As we started getting into it,” Lenée says, “I realized there was absolutely no reason to compromise the vision of where I could hear these songs going.” The best studio musicians she knew were also off tour, so it was the perfect time to amplify the song arrangements with an arena rock heart. She even purchased her first American Strat electric guitar to accompany her cherished family of specialty 12 strings, acoustics, and electrics during the making of the album. That classic edge rock sound made the cut and became the lead tone for the iconic guitar solos on “Daylight Comes” and “Free World Citizen.”
This is also the first Lenée album where her voice feels like a lead instrument. “Since I have always led with my guitar as my first instrument,” she says, “letting the vocals take the lead was a big transition for me as an artist. It was a shift of consciousness that took place while making this album, and for that reason alone, it is like nothing I have ever recorded.”
“Coming Alive,” the title track, was co-produced by her pal Laurence Juber (guitarist for Paul McCartney and Wings). “Fly Away,” was written with friends and fellow songwriters Dani Shay and Lily Mae Harrington. Lenée says, “The song started with the guitar riff that came to me in a dream. I showed the riff to them, and they started singing, then it evolved from there. We wanted to write a song about the feeling of falling in love… invoking passion, tension, intensity, and surrender, and the anticipation that inevitably builds up before taking any great leap.” “Victory We Won,” amplified with an exquisite soprano 12-string guitar, is a profound and gorgeous song. “At times I was so close to the microphone that my voice peaked the gain of the mic,” Lenée says, “I chose to leave the performance as is. For me, that slight crunch on the lead vocal brought more passion and intimacy to the song.” “Free World Citizen” has been Lenée’s most popular live song. Here is a fresh performance generating new life with a full-band and rock-inspired electric guitar solo.
Lenée collaborated with a bevy of talented musicians on Coming Alive: Matthew Odmark (Jars of Clay) to co-produce; and her band features drummer Keith Carlock (Steely Dan, Toto, Sting, John Mayer), Grammy Award Winning bassist Adam Nitti (Kenny Loggins, Carrie Underwood, Susan Tedeschi), and Charlie Lowell (Jars of Clay) on keyboards/organ. It’s a dream lineup put together to create Lenée’s quintessential statement piece.
At the pinnacle of her career so far, Lenée has been highly praised by Guitar Player Magazine, Acoustic Guitar Magazine, and Guitar World, shared stages with exalted musicians such as Tommy Emmanuel, Tim Reynolds (Dave Matthews Band), Amy Ray (Indigo Girls), and Melissa Etheridge, and has stacked up endorsements from guitar companies like Martin, Luna, Irvin, and Veillette, alongside her signature string set via Savarez Strings.
With a recent showcase slot at 2022’s Americanafest and a new album in hand, she’s ready to come alive again – right on time.