Elevate Difference

Reviews by Cristin Colvin

Cristin Colvin

Cristin Colvin is a Tennessee native living in Chicago, IL. She has completed a year of graduate study in women’s and gender studies at DePaul University after spending four years in the mountains of Virginia playing Bach and singing Schubert. Cristin is currently enthralled with the novels of Rachel Cusk, Patricia Barber crooning under neon green lights, and incorporating a feminist mantra into her daily life. She records this intense time of growth in her life through the rather irregular and unpredictable blog Academian Tremens.

In Good Time

When I first popped it in, my iTunes player categorized Annie Fitzgerald’s album In Good Time as country. As I began listening, I found this to be wholly misleading. As a matter of fact, I was unable to categorize her music as any one genre. A little bit folk, a little bit pop, this thoughtfully produced album is a gem. Fitzgerald has managed to create new music with a message that is thoroughly original by today’s musical standards.

The Singer’s Gun

Emily St. John Mandel’s book The Singer’s Gun sounds like a paperback thriller, but in a pleasant surprise, delights the reader with a still and quiet prose and a keen eye for the details that uncover the interconnectedness of all our lives. Beautiful images of ancient trees and Mediterranean utopias find a home with New York’s summer heat and the sticky lives of its characters.

What Goes On: Selected and New Poems 1995-2009

Stephen Dunn, an experienced poet with a litany of accolades after his name, has published a selection of works from the last fifteen years, along with a slim collection of new pieces, in What Goes On In a wry, raw voice Dunn’s poems touch upon matters of politics, success, and sex.

Oh, Hear the Wind Blow

The West Coast, indie feel to the Chapin Sister’s album Oh, Hear the Wind Blow could easily have made it my pick for this year’s perfect summer album. Sadly, it’s September as I write this, and soon flip-flops will make way for boots. However, I suggest you squeeze the last rays out of summer with this album. The Sisters are nieces of musician Harry Chapin and the daughters of Tom Chapin.

The Bradshaw Variations

In earlier times, a set of variations on a theme in classic art music was a chance for a composer to play around with a melody, try it on in various guises, and allow the audience to hear possibilities. Each variation was minute, an aural petit four to be savored briefly while one contemplated on the sweet yet temporal nature of life.

The Road Home

When I opened my package containing Eliza Blue’s album The Road Home, I was greeted with a little bit of Southern hospitality; the CD was wrapped in a piece of twine and included a hand-written note saying, “Thanks for listening, hope you enjoy!” I felt comforted by that note. It was a little wave “hello” from home, and more than that, a connection between artist and audience.

Move Your Boots

I have memories of listening to tapes of children’s music as a child, and even at such a young age, being hyper-aware of the overly simplistic and sometimes condescending nature of the songs. If only I had Bramble Jam to listen to.

The Rest of Your Life

As an avid jazz fan, I was delighted to review Debbie Cunningham’s album of standards. I was even more delighted when I received the CD in the mail and found that Cunningham is from my native Tennessee. A blurb on the back of the jewel case read that it was a “great CD to just kick back with a glass of wine and relax,” so I prepared accordingly. The verdict? It was, indeed, quite an enjoyable experience. The professional, smooth sound of the trio first caught my attention.

My Reality

Trina Elle is a Canadian pop singer who is trying to make a start in the music business. She is someone with talent, a fun R&B sound, and according to one reviewer, a voice reminiscent of Toni Braxton. Now, I’m not well-versed in the pop and R&B worlds, but I do love me some Toni Braxton. (Who doesn’t?) So, I anticipated being blown away by My Reality.

Don't Kiss Her Face

The Echelons have a lot going for them: quirky lyrics, a 1970s-inspired family ensemble, and fun tunes. Made up of father Ben Petrella, children Jessica and Louis, and neighbors Brian Santo and Brandon Grande, the Echelons make their debut with Don't Kiss Her Face. Jessica is nineteen years old, and brother Louis is only twelve; this multi-generational dynamic gives the band a distinct aesthetic.


When I found out Clarissa Cupéro was only nineteen years old, I did a double take. Her gritty alto is substantial, forceful; it speaks of experience. Cupéro, a New York state native, is currently a student at Sienna College, and in addition to taking classes, she performs her songs for campus benefits (including concerts to aid student organizations such as Students Active for Ending Rape).