PressSolo Live from the Meisenfrei Blues Club
SOLO LIVE FROM THE MEISENFREI BLUES CLUB
STREET DATE: JUNE 4, 2013
RELEASED ON SCREEN DOOR RECORDS
DISTRIBUTION: CD BABY
PRE-ORDER ON KIRSTENTHIEN.COM
Recorded in one night on October 30, 2012 in Bremen Germany. A compelling and eclectic mix of solo acoustic arrangements. Songs run deep into the Kirsten Thien catalog and branch out into fun covers of Sheryl Crow, Bob Dylan, Sippie Wallace, Elvin Bishop, Bill Withers, B.B. King and Freddie King.
Rarely does a major talent like Kirsten Thien come along with the vocal chops and ability to express the profound feelings of women. When it is accomplished so effortlessly with grace, intelligence and artistry, it is a musical event of major importance to be celebrated and further anticipated.
She opens with the soulful, gently swaying “Hold Onto Me,” her propulsive acoustic guitar the perfect rhythmic and tonal accompaniment to her gorgeous vocal instrument, melting hearts with “Hold onto me, baby I'll show you. If you see anything that you want, I’ll get it for you.” “A Woman Knows” floats on a supple, insistent chord vamp with Thien soaring passionately in the chorus, her voice dramatically rising in pitch “...and you can… count... on, you can count on me. ‘Cause a woman knows when her love is meant to be.” Easing into a saucy funk groove on “Thank You (for Saying Goodbye),” she attests to the truth that when one door closes, another opens, in a creative, dynamic arrangement implying a sound bigger than the sum of its lone instrumental part. The hypnotic “You’ve Got Me” stuns with the aching imagery “Tracing your face with my hand, I see you, but you can’t see me from where you stand. Crying out but not too loud, you’re too shy, well, I’m too proud to break through oh, to you.”
Thien owns the Ida Cox classic “Wild Women Don’t Have the Blues” and engages the audience in call and response, thumping her axe commensurate with the lyric content. “The Sweet Lost and Found” finds her chugging the blues with sensual syncopation while presenting the unique metaphor “The sweet lost and found is a place you can go when every place else is out of reach” for finding peace and joy on the journey. On the autobiographical “Ain’t That the Truth” Thien delivers the disarming broadside “My heart will overcome all reason, or doubt when it comes down to you,” the chords and musical rests adding drama to her devastating performance. Jacking up the energy with the Bob Dylan classic “It Takes a Lot to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry,” Thien digs into the evocative country blues lyrics with unvarnished grit and sass while powering the shuffling progression like a hot rod Dodge. Getting further down in the alley, her street cred in full evidence, Thien colors dark cerulean on the heavy Delta blues “Please Drive,” a Thien-penned tune previously recorded with the late blues guitar legend, Hubert Sumlin.
In an unexpected cover of a Sheryl Crow song, Thien introduces the Pop song “Leaving Las Vegas” putting forth that it’s the lyric of the song, not the music, that reminds her of the blues. The tragedy and desperation of this song are palpable with her voice rising and falling with defiance as she evokes the hurt and disappointment life sometimes serves up. “Nobody’s Ever Loved Me Like You Do” accentuates the positive in a relationship with the poetic “If a ship needs an anchor to keep from drifting at sea, I’ll hold onto you my love, you provide that stability. I don’t need to get too existential about what you mean to me.” Sequencing with wit and logic, Thien follows with the Sippie Wallace classic “Women Be Wise,” performed with the wisdom of warning the ladies against too much "whiskey and conversation" or “advertising” the virtues of your man.
Showing unfailing taste in covers, her hip version of Elvin Bishop’s pop hit “Fooled Around and Fell in Love” is a knockout via her additional lyrics that casts the cavalier male tale from a woman’s point of view with a stunning vocal that will have Mickey Thomas grinning. Likewise, her choice of Freddie King’s “I’d Rather Be Blind” throbs with smoldering instrumental and vocal intensity as Thien makes you believe she really would go anywhere, do anything to keep her lover by her side. Encoring with a brilliant medley of “Ain’t No Sunshine/The Thrill is Gone,” she underscores her uncanny ability to cut to the emotional center of a song while revealing even deeper aspects.
Like a comet, vivacious singer Kirsten Thien has blazed across the firmament with a series of gender and genre-smashing albums featuring electric backing while laying claim as the new “wild woman of the blues.” With her first live solo album she now adds “woman with guitar” in the manner of legendary Memphis Minnie, taking a spellbound audience on a musical journey through the rigors of life and romantic love with 16 originals and poignant covers.
Dave Rubin, KBA recipient in Journalism
COMMENTS FROM KIRSTEN
“I had no idea what to expect. The Meisenfrei is a big club, they’re used to loud, hard-rockin’ full band concerts. Setting up all by myself on a drizzly Tuesday night was a little unnerving. But when I came back out at show time and the crowd was there, I knew it would be a special night. Ronnie [Meisenfrei’s sound man] handed me a stereo mix at the end of the night and I was elated just to have a souvenir of what was a very fun and pivotal show for me. When I listened to the recording after I got home, my excitement grew. I felt that I was right back in the room. We had captured this moment in time that already had a special place in my heart and mind.”
Kirsten Thien’s unlikely path from a Georgetown University Business School graduate to a Blues and Roots Rock singer/songwriter began when she decided to forgo life on Wall Street for a career in music. Since then she has released three full-length albums, toured the USA extensively, opened for Dickey Betts, Shawn Colvin and Buddy Guy, and headlined two European tours with more to come in 2013.
Kirsten’s most recent studio album, Delicious, featured Blues guitar legend Hubert Sumlin (Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters) plus other notable special guests like the Rolling Stones' horn section (Kent Smith and Andy Snitzer). Delicious highlights Thien’s vocal power and her award-winning songwriting. It has received acclaim from Guitar Player, Downbeat, Blues Matters, Keyboard Magazine and others. New York DJ Pat St. John exclaimed on-air at B.B. King’s Bluesville (SiriusXM), “The album is flawless. She’s gonna be a big, big star.”
Read MorePress Clips Delish, Live and Solo Live 2013
“I saw her over the weekend, and she blew me away, it was unbelievable! The album is flawless. She’s gonna be a BIG, big star.” ~Pat St. John, DJ, Sirius/XM Radio
“If you think she is impressive on her full band recordings, this solo set will blow you away as she’s unafraid to expose raw nerves to deliver the goods.” (Solo Live review)
-Chris Spector, Midwest Record
“Every track becomes a mini book and a look into her soul exposing every emotion possible. Put it this way, l just love this album.” (Solo Live review)
-Peter Merrett, PBS 106.7 Melbourn, Australia
“Thien’s supple voice can act out a song’s lyrics with both honesty and cinematic effect...a real treat is “Please Drive,” where Thien is joined by blues legend Hubert Sumlin on guitar”
Michael Molenda, Editor, Guitar Player Magazine
“This fire-haired songwriter’s voice strikes a perfect balance between the precise but homey crooning of Bonnie Raitt and the sheer incendiary power of Janis Joplin…Too macho for a taste of estro-rock? Delicious will have you asking for seconds.”
Stephen Fortner, Keyboard Magazine
“Kirsten Thien’s stock in trade is modern blues infused with soul and rock. She’s a lithe, composed vocalist, inclined to use her attractive voice to elevate rather than plumb lyrics in songs she’s written about sensual love.” Frank-John Hadley, DownBeat Magazine
“I had the chance to see Kirsten Thien last week at the Triad Theater in Manhattan, and she burned it up….really nothing but praise for her.” ~ Eric Holland, DJ, WFUV 90.7 FM (NY)
“Kirsten is a first class act that the major festivals should be booking next year. I can’t emphasise enough what a classy act Kirsten Thien is.” ~ Christine Moore, Blues Matters Magazine
"Bluesy singer/songwriter Kirsten Thien may have graduated college with a finance degree, but it's her sultry croon that's earned her respect within the music community."
Press Release - Delicious 2011
SCREEN DOOR RECORDS
When blues diva Ida Cox sang “Wild Women Don’t Have the Blues” in 1924, she defiantly stated the obvious while providing the template for the hellions who followed, including Memphis Minnie and Sister Rosetta Tharpe on down to Janis Joplin. Now, fiery American roots and blues singer/guitarist Kirsten Thien blazes on the scene and stakes her claim as a contemporary wild woman while putting a decidedly modern spin on the description. She was born on an Army base in Berlin, Germany, but moved back to the US shortly thereafter and her family settled in Maine. The music of Linda Ronstadt and singing in church in the “Northern Baptist” style helped to develop her talent until she was transformed when she discovered Aretha Franklin, traditional New Orleans jazz and the classic women blues singers of the 20s while attending Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. The thrill of performing in public compelled her to abandon pursuit of a lucrative career in banking and investment for a creative one in singing and songwriting. Thien relocated to New York City, forming her own band in 2000 and releasing her debut She Really Is in 2001. She began seriously woodshedding the guitar around 2005 as well as reworking her songwriting, strongly influenced by the Memphis sound, and on the merits of her 2006 sophomore release, You’ve Got Me, Thien won the Abe Olman Award for Excellence in Songwriting in 2009.
Delicious, her third release, finds Thien alternately ripping and seducing her way through an 11-song set featuring eight tunes that she either wrote or co-wrote, alongside three covers. Producer and Bassist Erik Boyd handpicked the musical lineup for each song to feature the talents of Thien’s hard-touring road band, together with special guests. Notable guest guitarist and legendary bluesmaster Hubert Sumlin (from Howlin’ Wolf’s band) appears on two tracks, burning it up with Thien’s sultry vocal on the Chicago Blues-inspired “Please Drive”. Sumlin can also be heard trading licks with guitarist Arthur Neilson on the horn-driven R&B strutter “Love That’s Made to Share” which reveals Thien’s Stax influences. Horns on this track (and several others) were provided by Kent Smith and Andy Snitzer who work with Thien when not on the road with the Rolling Stones or Paul Simon.
“Nobody’s Ever Loved Me Like You Do,” co-penned with Noel Cohen, is a velvety smooth slice of 70s Memphis soul that finds Thien flaunting her stunning vocal chops from a shout to an intimate aside. She is a fine, intelligent wordsmith with a knack for turning a surprising phrase as when she sings, “I don’t mean to get too existential, about what you mean to me.”
After meeting Muscle Shoals songwriter Charlie Feldman on stage at a New York songwriter’s circle, Thien added “Taxi Love” to her live set and began to spread the word about this singular (and steamy) New York experience. Originally recorded by Wilson Pickett, “Taxi Love” became a crowd favorite and a compelling track on the new record. In classic 70’s form, Thien switches this one up with a blazing Hammond B-3 solo by Tommy Mandel (Bryan Adams, Dire Straits, Chrissie Hynde).
The gentle, confessional soul ballad “Ain’t That the Truth,” co-written with Erik Boyd and dripping heartfelt truth and sincerity and highlights Thien’s songwriting at it’s finest. “A Woman Knows” shows Thien in a country-leaning vein that could attract attention in Nashville with its memorable vocal hook complemented by a weepy slide guitar. Tammy Wynette would be proud to hear Thien proclaim, “I would take you back, if you leave, you know I would” and “You can count on me, ‘cause a woman knows when her love is meant to be.”
“Get Outta the Funk, Get into the Groove” by Thien, Galia Arad and Boyd is a mind bending 180 degrees from “A Woman Knows.” With her apparently boundless musical curiosity, Thien figuratively shakes her booty in conjunction with Neilson and his wah wah guitar. As the last track, it is the perfect climax to a CD that exemplifies the spirit of classic American Roots music by taking the listener up, down and all around while leaving them stimulated mentally, if not physically as well.
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