Christina Courtin, Running Kicks
Julliard-trained violinist Christina Courtin’s self produced EP, Christina Courtin’s Running Kicks (2006), is a testament to good education and quirky giftedness. As a songwriter, Courtin offers ironic, proverbial lyrics. On the EP’s most popular track, Foreign Country, the songstress begs the question, If I was a foreign country/Would you vacation in my big city?The simple cynicism is justified by Courtin’s unabashedly amalgamated vocal styling, which ranges from folk to jazz, with moments of tempered blues. She is accompanied on the track by her band, which includes Kyle Sanna (guitar), Mathias Kunzil (percussion) and Johnny Gandelsman (violin). With pianist Steven Beck by her side, Courtin delivers the skin-and-bones ballad Mulberries. The song showcases a breathy, childlike chant: Blue sky/Shining down on me/I shine right back.
Mulberries leaves the listener with visions of a subdued, late-night speakeasy. Renaissance Song 2 is a majestic tale, lined throughout with courtly violin strings. Courtin waxes philosophical with the lyric, My tree is losing leaves/It’s losing things I never knew it had. Her courage to objectify herself as a plant is refreshingly subversive. Running Kicks is also available as a DVD of live performances.Seeing Courtin in action is like peeking into someone’s window to catch them dancing naked in their living room. She makes you feel like it’s all right to like music again. It’s no wonder the band has sold out nearly every show they’ve played, at venues including New York staples Joe’s Pub and the Cutting Room.
First Published in movmnt 5 – Fall 2007