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article imageOnwards and upwards: Christian Lopez of the Christian Lopez Band Special

By Adrian Peel     Oct 12, 2015 in Music
Responsible for "Leaving It Out," a current staple on CMT Pure, Christian Lopez, who describes his music as "folk-rock," is undoubtedly a name to watch out for. He talked to Digital Journal while on a well-earned break from touring.
Onward is the title of Christian Lopez's assured full-length debut album (an EP, Pilot, was released last year) that came out in May. Impressively for one so young (he recently turned 20), all but one of the 11 tracks that make up the record were written by the West Virginian himself with no outside help.
Equally as impressive is the fact that, unlike many other artists his age, there is no mention of alcohol or tailgates. "Yeah, that's definitely not me," admits the singer-songwriter wise beyond his years, who draws his inspiration from the likes of The Avett Brothers, Trampled by Turtles and the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack.
"I don't do much drinking and tailgating to be honest. It's not really the kind of music I want to make... I grew up with traditional music. My dad started me young with it and it's the music that touches me most."
Going into more detail in regards to "Leaving It Out," the video for which was filmed in Nashville, Christian states, "That's our latest single and I did it with Dave Cobb, the album's producer.
"It's about being carefree and forgetting all the troubles in the world; letting go and living breath by breath, moment by moment. We tried to keep it as honest as possible and I think it turned out to be a real nice song."
"Yeah, absolutely," answers the musician and bandleader to my suggestion that Onward deals with moving forward. "The name kinda symbolises where we are in our lives, in my career, in my music - everything.
"We're working so hard every day, giving everything we've got, just trying to get to the next step - and I think that title definitely portrays that. The songs are about life, love, losing, living, everyday scenarios that we're faced with."
The only non-original on the album is "Oh Those Tombs," a song made famous by Hank Williams. When pushed to name a favourite out of the 11 tunes, Christian muses, "It's probably 'Seven Years'...
"That's the track I'm attached to the most. It's the most intimate track and we recorded it extremely raw, extremely organic. We were just sat in a room and didn't have any earphones on.
"All we did was sit and play it. There were mikes in there and it picked up what it picked up. I really love the way that song turned out."
The Christian Lopez Band is Christian on vocals, guitar and occasionally piano and his good friend Chelsea McBee on banjo and vocals. Was it always the plan to play under a moniker, rather than be a solo artist?
"Absolutely," replies the star, who has already started compiling songs for the next record. "I love the band dynamic, especially guys like the Dave Matthews Band and the Zac Brown Band - guys that can lead a band, but who let the members have their own identities.
"I want all my guys to have their own 'thing.' I want every person on that stage to matter and for people to want to come and see them."
Finally, I was curious to learn more about the artist's heritage. Is he of Mexican descent? "I am. My dad is half-Mexican and my mum is white, so I'm a quarter Mexican - probably the whitest Mexican you'll ever see!"
Onward is out now.
For more information on the Christian Lopez Band, visit their official website.
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