Track Review: Justine Vandergrift's "Under Your Shell"
This evening, in a house nestled into the side of the Quantocks, the sun slipped behind the horizon and Justine Vandergrift's voice tucked a room full of listeners into a gentle melancholy. The first gentle notes of "Under Your Shell" guided us into the late night ramblings of one recently out of love -- or recently in a love fraught with uncertainty.
The story that Justine tells is all too familiar, of feeling intensely vulnerable yet resolute that she'll "be fine on [her] own." Gentle strumming, paired with her uplifting melody and warm vocal tone, conveys a sense of vulnerability and longing as well as strength. While Vandergrift writes of a lover lost, serenading us with the certainty of knowing ones ex-partner well enough to see through their feigned strength, the sadness of "memories gone by" is profoundly relatable, enhanced by the melodic lamentation of the song's guitar solo. This "prairie song" is perfectly suited to tall fields of wheat, a wide open sky, and singing along when you're feeling blue, and although it feels as though it ends too soon, there's nothing to stop you playing it again and again (we sure have.)
Justine Vandergrift is like the old hymns she grew up with – even if you can’t put your finger on what makes them authentic, they are undeniably so. Her three studio releases reveal a clear, rich and emotive voice and finely-tuned song-craft, and her upcoming country album Stay represents a deepening of an already impressive artistry.
Justine Vandergrift is becoming a well known name in the Canadian country roots scene with her past cross Canada tours and several collaborations. In the spring of 2020 she will release ‘Stay’ the album following a tour of Germany, the U.K. and the Netherlands.
Not only is Vandergrift a competent and unique songwriter, she has developed the chops to play almost any country song (on guitar) and has been known to sing with several exceptional Canadian acts. She continues to develop her ear, artistry and live performance and looks forward to the exciting growing career ahead of her.