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Christine Glass - Feature Story

  • 1999 8 Aug
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Christine Glass - Feature Story



Change is good...

Ever since the release of her debut album, ==Human==, a lot has changed for {{Christine Glass}}. She has transitioned into a new label, a new sound and a new attitude.

==Love and Poverty== (released this summer on Rustproof Records) was produced by Steve Hindalong and her boyfriend Marc Byrd ({{Common Children}}). The project is characterized by an overall sound where Glass' voice is allowed to float angelically over moody soundscapes, as her lyrics take an honest accounting of all God has done for her.

Glass did not leave her previous label by choice, by the way. After Benson was bought out recently, many employees and artists -- including Glass -- were dropped, and told to move along. "It was extremely hard," recalls Glass. "My record had only been out about nine months."

This meant that many of the people who had been with the label when it signed Glass, and believed strongly in her music, were already gone by the time her recording hit the streets. With many new people at the label who were not overly familiar with her music, it was nearly impossible to give her album the promotion it deserved. "I was very upset," she now notes. "But I've had two years to get over it. It makes for great songwriting material, though," she laughs.

Although ==Love and Poverty== doesn't actually address her record company difficulties directly, it does contain evidence that a real self-examination has been going on in Glass' heart.

In addition to being dropped by the label, Glass had quit a good paying job, and ended a romantic relationship right around the same time all of this music businessum, business was going down. There were so many big changes going on in her life -- and all at once. "I think God used all of it to bring me into a better understanding of my own poverty in many ways," she explains. These events led her to a deeply intense, spiritual realization.

"The most important thing is my spiritual poverty," she says.

When she left her job, she was separated from many of the friends she'd made there. She then no longer had the kind of social or financial security she once had. This brought her to the understanding that she cannot honestly claim riches in anything at all that she possesses on this earth. "I was able to come to terms with how poor I am in every possible way you can imagine: spiritually, financially, and emotionally. I had nothing that I had not been given by God."

Nevertheless, Glass wants to make it clear that the poverty she speaks of is not to be likened to the kind of poverty Mother Theresa addressed. "I don't really want to insult anybody by saying that I am financially poor, because I know I'm not, compared to situations of so many other people. But my main focus has been my spiritual poverty. The poverty that comes from just being human beings. We are not God. That (was my) realization."

When it came time to put these newfound ideas into album form, Glass knew exactly who she wanted to work with. "I did a 3-song demo with Steve (Hindalong), Marc (Byrd), Derri Daugherty, and Sky McKaskey. We just had this great relationship. Nobody made any money. We just recorded three songs together, and I had a blast. It was just this community feeling. Our friendships grew in the process, and it just seemed like the natural thing to do -- to have those guys do the record with me. I was so happy with how the demo came out."

Glass says the actual recording of the album was fruitful, even though she was faced with a situation where all of the participants were quite opinionated. This made for a little rough going along the way, but she's clearly overjoyed with the results.

When asked about specific ways her producers helped her with this project, the first thing that comes to her mind is songwriting. "They brought amazing songwriting. I co-wrote two songs with Steve and four with Marc."

Perhaps the most arresting song on the album is one she didn't write, or even co-write. It is called "Many Waters," and it is something Glass once performed in a choral group at Louisiana Tech University. To modern ears, it sounds like the singing of an ancient choir, from some long ago church service. "It's actually a cycle of four songs called "The Wedding Cantata." "Many Waters" was the third piece in the cycle. It always had a big impact on me, so I thought it was perfect for this record."

Oddly enough, it was actually written in 1959, but you wouldn't believe that if you heard it. It may be a real oldie, but it sounds like a goodie.

Glass plans to tour in support of the album if she can get time off from her current job. This waif-like singer, with the high floating voice, works at a pretty unlikely job these days. "I work at a construction company. I help find sub-contractors in cities where we build buildings," she admits with a laugh. "We build movie theatres, and hotels and things like that."

It should come as no surprise that ==Love and Poverty== contains striking cover art. This is because Glass was once the art director at Word Records. While there, she oversaw artwork for {{Point of Grace}}, {{Cindy Morgan}}, and {{Petra}} album releases. "For about 2 years, I worked on almost everything that came out of Word and Myrrh," she recalls. "I would come up with the general concepts, and sometimes more specific ideas for certain set-ups for the photo shoots. I would hire all the people involved: the photographer, hair and makeup, the styling. All that."

While Glass did not draw upon her work experiences for the artwork on her debut release, she decided to take an active role in the design look of this new one. She asked the esteemed artist and musician, Jimmy A, to do the photo shoot. She also had a clear idea of what concept she wanted its photos to reflect.

The cover features Glass standing about waist high in a lake, with sun shining on her face, while storm clouds gather ominously behind her. "The only thing that's not 'real' in the shot," explains Glass "are the clouds. That was taken from another shot, and added in with a computer."

She says the water was so cold, that nobody else would even put their hands in it, let alone wade in it like her. But because she really wanted that particular shot, she braved the elements. "Water for me always represents the Spirit," says Glass, when explaining what this photo means to her. "I was thinking of myself being immersed in the water. Being grounded in the water, but having all of this turmoil and storm going on around me. Yet, still soaking up the Spirit."

The picture truly says a lot about Glass, her music, and the recent events in her life. She has chosen the presence of God's Spirit to guide her through the tough times, but when viewed through spiritual eyes, that Spirit can be seen surrounding her, very much like the waters of a large lake.

Change is good.