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Music Review: Christina Rubino’s Down to the Sea Reviewed by Layla Dorine

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Hailing from Brooklyn NY and growing up in a big family, her mother, being Irish Catholic and her father, an Italian-immigrant, Christina Rubino was raised with her 7 siblings.

Though she only realized her passion for music during her teenage years, it didn’t stop her from writing songs at the age of only 17. Starting with the guitar, she began playing within groups as a vocalist and rhythm guitarist.

In 2008, Rubino joined the all-female group Violator, an NYC based Depeche Mode cover band, as the lead guitarist. Throughout her time with the band, she loved the excitement of travel and live performance but always longed to return to making original music. 2009 marked the transition by members of Violator to Josephine, an all-female trio in which Rubino, lead vocals and guitars, wrote and collaborated with drummer Tracy Thompkins (Aerial Love Feed, Violator) and bassist Leigh Regan (Violator). After releasing an EP with Josephine in 2009 under Feed that Baby Records, Rubino went on to write and record her debut solo record, Alive From The Scrap Heap in 2014 before returning to the studio for her 2016 Godspeed & Guns release.

Publicity team name: James from I.M.P
Artist: Christina Rubino
Year: of the track or album production: 2017
Genre: Singer/Songwriter, Rock, Americana, Acoustic, Rockabilly, Country, Folk-punk, indie-folk

Track Title: Down to the Sea (off the album “Godspeed and Guns”)


Valentine’s day is looking a little brighter with the pending release of Brooklyn based singer/songwriter Christina Rubino’s full-length album “Godspeed and Guns.” Many thanks to James from I.M.P who sent along links to Rubino’s newest offerings, produced by Jerry Farley out of Nova Entertainment Group. The first single, “Godspeed and Guns,” was released in November 2016, boasting Rubino’s haunting lyrics spinning a tale of mayhem and chaos reminiscent of Thelma and Louise with a dark, twisted edge.

“A couple of bad seeds, growing in the sun. If I would have known that this battle just began, I’d have taken godspeed and guns.”

Coupled with a chilling video, these words and the story that unfolds speaks of a life spun out of control and a direction none could possibly have foreseen. Rubino delivers these words with a passion that is coupled with a powerfully edgy voice that sets the tone from the first note and drags you on the roller-coaster journey to the bitter end, building on a sense of dread the entire way.

The mix of folksy guitar and bright, brassy trumpet playing is combined with a slow, seductive beat that only enhances the mood of the song. This is songwriting geared towards eliciting a purely visceral response from the listener and it’s but one of Rubino’s incredible offerings.

The product of a large family, Rubino was raised alongside her seven siblings, and only discovered her passion for music in her teenage years. Embracing the guitar, she began writing songs at 17 and soon added piano to her repertoire, joining Violator, an all-female, Depeche Mode cover band in 2008 as their guitar player. From there, she honed her craft, beginning to write and collaborate with Violator’s drummer Tracy Thompkins in another all-female group, the trio known as Josephine, before branching out on her own.

Her latest single off “Godspeed and Guns,” titled “Down to the Sea” starts out with the sinfully soulful notes of her piano playing, but my gods when she started singing, that voice, right off the bat I was drawn into the depth of emotion oozing from every word. Rubino’s sound made an instant impact and that was before I sat still and just listened to the words. With a stunning blend of Acoustic rock, indy-folk, country and a hint of punk, Rubino’s range stretch far and her words cut deep.

This is more than just a sad song, any slow song can be sad, this was a plea, an offering, someone baring their soul and begging to be heard. Those words “Give me, back my reason to sing, I have it all but I feel I’ve lost everything. Cold and senseless a lifetime filled with longing.” coupled with Rubino’s power delivery are soul stirring. Robino shows what can be done with a voice, a piano, and a powerful message. For me, “Down to the Sea,” was reminiscent to sitting in a darkened room, listening to Rihanna’s “Stay” with a grittier sound and far more heart-wrenching lyrics.

Backed by Johnny Phillips (Burlap To Cashmere) on the Spanish Guitars, Jerry Farley on  Percussion, Bass and Eli Maurer on trumpets, Rubino adds even greater depth and dimension to her already stirring and thought-provoking piano, guitar and vocals.

Browsing Rubino’s website led to the discovery of her solo EP “Live from the Scrap Heap, an 11 song album which Rubino wrote and recorded. Released in 2014, it contains my personal favorite Rubino song, track 3: “Nothing to Gain,” and a close second track 11: “Billy’s song.”

Both feature the storytelling and chilling guitar/vocals I found myself completely drawn to in Rubino’s work. But in “Nothing to Gain”, there is a moment, as Rubino is singing the line “Lord help me make it through the night, please don’t let her hurt me, don’t you let her take my life,” where goosebumps raised along my arms and I got chills just listening to Rubino singing. This is music that didn’t have to grow on me. It grabbed me by the throat from the moment it started and held sway over me until the final note. If you like music created by an artist who’s clearly singing about the life she’s led and the things she’s experienced, then I cannot recommend enough giving this passionate, talented musician a listen.





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