Great songwriters have the ability to create stories into which the listener can literally step into, a place where they can go for a stroll, look around, touch the leaves on a tree, smell a flower, hear the sounds of a small child playing, feel the sun warm on their skin or feel the pain and emotion that comes from suffering a loss. Like Gordon Lightfoot and Judy Collins,
Shimmering percussion courtesy of drummer Michael Saint
John and Nick Garrett Powell’s spellbinding guitar introduce us to “Sunset Over
Jacksonville,” a song that provides great insight into the life and character of
Christina Duane, as she paints vivid images of
“My life lay before me, an unwritten story / We waded through leaves down her historic streets,” that harkens back to when I first came here, I had a little baby girl and we were walking down the historic streets and the leaves had all changed and I hoped that I could paint a picture for (the listener) of a place that I love or any place that they loved, when their life was all ahead of them. That is the picture that I was trying to paint from when I first came here at a time when my life was all before me. I returned here, because of my love for it, all of those years later. It is a special place that you would want to return to,” explains Ms. Duane as she talks about the two times in her life that she has called Jacksonville home.
There is a serenity in Christiana Duane’s vocals as she sings of “a fritillaria hill,” (a type of wild flower) and she says that her peace comes from her strong faith in God. She is also a sensitive woman who says, “I love the cemetery, because people leave their carvings and notes on their granite stones about faith, what they believe and how they lived. I love to go up there, because all of the deer are up there and I find peace in the cemetery.”
In her song “Sunset Over Jacksonville,” Ms. Duane also seeks to preserve the memory of those who went before us and not always just because it was a pretty picture. “I like the cycles of life, how people leave marks of their faith and what they believed. It saddens me when people aren’t remembered. I love the fact that we honor those lives by remembering them. We learn from history too. We learn from the mistakes and we learn not to repeat them, like the massacres (that took place) here to the native Americans. I don’t touch upon that in the song, but I honor the native Americans in another song about Oregon that I wrote.
Jacksonville is very important to me, because we learn from history and we honor the lives that filled the air and the sounds of the people that filled the air. They lived beautiful full lives, and some of them shorter lives, because of the medical problems they had back then and everything, but we learn to be grateful for the fact that modern medicine has brought us so many things which can help us live longer. You walk through the cemetery and there are many young children who died of diptheria, so history teaches us and inspires us. It is also wonderful to feel that we will be remembered when we pass too.”
There have been some magnificent stories of families in the entertainment industry down through the generations, such as, the Barrymore family or in music the Carter and Cash families, but Christina Duane’s family also has a legacy that begin with her grandparents, Ronnie Mansfield and Harriett Mansfield.
“My whole family was in show
business. My grandfather, Ronnie Mansfield was a radio personality, who started
off as a milkman in