Christina Skjolberg & Albert Castiglia – Come And Get It (2014)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 40:38 minutes | 503 MB | Genre: Blues
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Digital Booklet, Front Cover | © Ruf Records GmbH
For years, they called her Norway’s best-kept secret. She hit the stage each night in a blur of blonde hair, gutsy vocals and stinger riffs, converting the crowd with charisma worthy of the man tattooed on her left shoulder (Jimi Hendrix). Night after night, club after club, always the same question. Who’s that girl…?
Now, at last, the secret is out, as Christina Skjolberg breaks cover and proudly plants her flag with her debut studio album. Released in February 2014 on Ruf Records, Come And Get It is not just a bold album title, but also a direct instruction to any music lover who wants to kick-start their year of listening. “I had a fantastic time writing and recording this album,” says Christina, “and I hope that you’ll have a good time listening to it, too. I’m very proud to be a part of Ruf Records and fortunate to have this fantastic opportunity to spread my music around the world.”
Likewise, in Christina Skjolberg, Ruf has gained an artist with world-beating potential and a one-off backstory. As the bandleader tells us on the track Mrs Funk, “I’ve been playing guitar since I was a little girl/Blues and rock ‘n’ roll has always ruled my world” – and it’s absolutely true. Born on the tiny Norwegian island of Smøla, at the tender age of twelve, Christina was inspired by fellow left-hander Jimi Hendrix to pick up her first electric guitar. From that day on, she was a lifer, committed to a career in music at any cost, hitting blues clubs across her homeland and grinding out her reputation.
While her potential was obvious from early cuts like Feel So Free, it was Christina’s discovery by Thomas Ruf that really lit the fuse. Famous for his nose for new talent, the founder of the iconic German record label quickly secured the Norwegian’s signature, booked her a slot on Ruf’s 2014 Blues Caravan showcase tour (alongside fellow up-and-comers Laurence Jones and Albert Castiglia) and set the wheels in motion for her debut studio album.
And make no mistake: this is Christina’s album. While many record bosses mould their young artists for commercial ends, Thomas trusted his new signing’s musical instincts, setting Christina loose in the Rescue Room Studios in Helsinki, Finland, to chase the album in her head and get it down on the tracks. “I was lucky enough to be completely free to write and record any type of songs I liked,” she says. “That was a dream come true for me.”
And so, with a headful of fresh material, riffs rolling off her fingertips and lyrics spilling onto the page – not to mention the powerhouse backing of bassist Tore Slattsveen, Harri Taittonen on keys and drummer Miri Miettinen – she set to work. “As you will hear,” she says, “my influences are deeply rooted in the ’70s, with a mix of blues, rock and funk. Some will probably say it’s a journey forty years back in time, and I would have to agree, even if my fantastic producer Davide Floreno (Erja Lyytinen) did an excellent job of adding a slight modern twist to the sound.”
With Davide behind the desk to catch the sparks, the eleven classic songs of Come And Get It were born in quick succession. The album bursts to life with the airtight funk of the title track, and from there, the highlights land like knockout punches. Close The Door fuses a shuffle beat with spacey guitar. Bullet rides on a snakey guitar lick before exploding into a smoking solo. I’m Back is foot-down riff-o-rama with a punky curled lip (“You can call me what you want, I know I’m a blueswoman – that’s a fact!”)
An adaptable artist who runs the emotional gamut, Christina isn’t afraid to slow things down and address matters of the heart, as on the aching Moving On, but she’s also a wry social commentator on Runaway’s full-throttle ode to escaping domestic drudgery (“I’m gonna run away… watch out if I’m coming your way!”).
01. Come and Get It
03. Close the Door
05. Get On
06. Moving On
09. I’m Back
10. Mrs Funk
11. Nag Blues
Christina Skjolberg, vocals, guitar
Harri Taittonen, keyboards
Tore Stlattsveen, bass
Miri Miettinen, drums