The intro of Dryland softly walks us into the quiet genius of Chris Pureka. She gracefully takes us through ordinary, heartbreaking, scenarios and conversations, beginning with “These Pages,” in which she perfectly describes a painful encounter with a past lover. Pureka even tackles the subject of death – a hard subject to cover without cliché, but there is not a hint of the trite in “So It Goes,” accompanied with a banjo-driven sweeping melody that will bring tears to your eyes.
Pureka’s voice has this tremulous, ephemeral quality that will make you stop breathing and listen closely and her guitar playing is as steady as an oncoming train, but ten times as gentle. Lyndell Montgomery, of Ember Swift fame, makes a guest appearance on “Momentary Thief,” adding the perfect touch of intensity with bass and violin. If you are a Gillian Welch fan, you will be far from disappointed with Pureka’s rendition of “Everything is Free.” The title track, “Dryland,” falls at the end, taking us out with just Pureka’s guitar and vocals, highlighting her lyrical mastery, subtly gorgeous voice and the structural simplicity that allows it all to shine through.