It only takes a few moments to be completely enchanted and inspired by soulful folk-rock singer Christine Hand who was selected as a finalist in the Al Johnson Performing Songwriter Contest.  The Americana songwriter is a native of Fort Worth, Texas and recently released her first album, The Book of the World, now available on iTunes, Spotify, and Amazon.

Wildflower! Arts & Music Festival spent a bit of time chatting with Christine to find out a little more about the momentum and spurring that led to becoming a finalist in this competition.

 Wildflower! Arts & Music Festival:  What makes you unique?

Christine Hand:  By day, I’m an English professor, and I did my dissertation on Bob Dylan. As a writer, what makes me unique is that I tend to see the magic in the mundane and I love to bring out those connections for others who may not see it that way.

WAMFest:  When did you learn guitar and was it a formal education, or self-taught? Do you play any other instruments?

CH:  Around age 14.  Mostly self-taught, with help from my multi-instrumentalist dad.  I play a bit of piano, percussion, and mandolin – but only very little!

WAMFest:  Are you solo or happen to play with any other groups?

CH:  I usually perform with my husband Adam Jones (guitars, mandolin and percussion) and my dad Ed Hand (keyboards and percussion.)

WAMFest:  What song inspired you to become a songwriter?

CH:  Amy Grant’s “Lead Me On.” I was 8 years old and I remember poring over the liner notes to that album and that song.

WAMFest:  What else inspires you to write?

CH:  Literature, nature, and everyday life.

WAMFest:  What typically strikes you first, the music or the lyrics?

CH:  If I’m inspired, it’s usually music and lyrics together; just one cool sounding phrase of both. If I have to work through the song, it’s usually lyrics first, coming out of tons of free-writing.

WAMFest:  What song can make you cry?

CH:  Musical theatre music usually can make me cry. Currently, it’s the Hamilton soundtrack, especially “Who lives, who dies, who tells your story?”

WAMFest:  What song can change your mood in moments?

CH:  “Ooh Child” by the Five Stairsteps or “Sir Duke” by Stevie Wonder make me instantly happy.

WAMFest:  Do you have any favorite songs or songwriters?  

CH:  My favorite song is “America” by Simon and Garfunkel, I think Jackson Browne is probably my favorite songwriter, and I think “Here Comes the Sun” by George Harrison is perfect in its simplicity and power. And I can’t leave out Bob Dylan, of course.

WAMFest:  What is the one guilty pleasure song?

CH:   “Always be my Baby” by Mariah Carey.



WAMFest:  Do you have any other hidden talents?

CH:  If I could make a living reading audio books, I would do it in a second! I love reading literature aloud, and I would enjoy dabbling in voice acting.

WAMFest:  Best live show you’ve seen.

CH:   The Oh Hellos.

WAMFest:  If you could play with any artist, alive or dead, who would it be and why?

CH:  Robert Plant, because I LOVE his voice and the way he fuses world/folk/blues in such unique ways. Also, we could trade curly hair tips.

WAMFest:  How did it feel to hear yourself on the radio for the first time?

CH:  It’s only happened once and it was on local college radio. I happened to be out of town, so I couldn’t hear it live. My mom called and let me listen through the phone. It was surreal!

WAMFest:  What obstacles do you face on this journey as an artist?

CH:  Comparison, jealousy, and self-doubt will trip me up every time. But I’ve learned that I do have a unique perspective to contribute to the world, and that small, faithful actions can add up to strong results.

WAMFest:  What is basis of the divine inspiration within your music?

CH:  My parents always took me to church. When I was 5 years old, I was learning about the Alamo and I wanted to know if I would see Davey Crockett in heaven, which sparked quite the conversation about whether I could get there too! Thirty years later, I still believe in Jesus and I still remember the Alamo!

Christine Hand will compete in the Al Johnson Performing Songwriter Contest for one of four $500 prizes including the Michael Terry People’s Choice Award on May 19, at 11:30 a.m. on the United HealthCare Singer Songwriter Stage in the Eisemann Center.   Christine is also set to give a solo performance on the CityLine Stage at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 19th at the Wildflower! Arts & Music Festival in Richardson. #WAMFest2018