I’ve got to admit, I’m a sucker for anything labeled ‘Alt’. So, I was naturally excited for this offering from the Swiss Cris Mantello who describes his music as “Roots” but with a modern twist, and it’s that twist that puts the “alt” in the “country” to make alt-country.

Hailing from Lugano, Switzerland, Cris Mantello is a singer-songwriter-guitarist who’s infatuated with Americana, Country, Hillbilly, and all the other forms of American Roots music. Describing it as a sensitive type of music to make, I can deduce that this sensitivity arises from the pressure to stay creative and away from the generic while maintaining that essential “Country” feel. So, did he succeed?

“Dirt” is a fun song that flows easily, pumps the blood in the veins and puts a smile on the face. Dominated by the essential twangy guitar and rockabilly beats, it feels familiar and accessible. The guitar solo is efficient, in style, and well-performed, the vocals are raspy and crisp and sit properly in the mix. The video too is humorous and shows that Mr.Mantello is all about having a blast and not taking things too seriously. All adding up to a seriously sweet and full musical meal that’s packed with humor, good sense and true passion to the musical genre at hand.

I always commend the bravery of artists who keep the flames lit for all those genres that are supposedly old now and get weird looks from (most) teenagers of today. They are loving souls that know that life and art are about having fun and not taking it seriously. Cris Mantello does that very well, moreover, he can play some real nice guitar. 

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