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“Delmhorst has become a favourite among music fans who like to be challenged as well as entertained.” – Music Box Online
Kris Delmhorst released her debut album in 1998 and has since recorded and released multiple albums and EPs spanning a range of musical genres — both as a solo artist and as a band member and collaborator. She has recorded vocals, fiddle and cello on over 50 albums from artists such as Peter Wolf, Mary Gauthier, Chris Smither and Lori McKenna. She also records and performs with Jeffrey Foucault and Peter Mulvey as Redbird
“Moody, euphoric, and
transcendent” -LA Times
“Bold and brilliant” -Boston Globe
“A work of lo-fi beauty… evidence of an artist taking flight” -Boston Herald
“As seamless and brave as it is brilliantly creative” -Irish Times
“A gorgeous, tender, evocative voice and a textured and varied musical palette” -Amazon
“Warm and immediately accessible” … “a voice that breathes through the speakers” -All Music
On May 13th, Delmhorst will release her seventh album, BLOOD TEST (Signature Sounds) – her first of original music since 2008′s critically acclaimed album SHOTGUN SINGER. A prolific writer and constant collaborator, Delmhorst continues to share her unique perspective in this new work. The album describes a moment of reckoning and centering in the songwriter’s life, and in society as a whole. In a collection of songs which move between triumph and heartbreak, restlessness and responsibility, Delmhorst acknowledges the weary work of an intentioned life – and the new American dream of presence and perspective in a frenetic time.
Blood Test – new album
Kris Delmhorst’s new release BLOOD TEST describes a moment of reckoning and centering in the songwriter’s life, and in society as a whole. In her new collection, Delmhorst acknowledges the weary work of an intentioned life – and the new American dream of presence and perspective in a frenetic time.
BLOOD TEST is Delmhorst’s first album of original material since 2008’s SHOTGUN SINGER. The intervening years witnessed the birth of her daughter with husband and fellow songwriter Jeffrey Foucault, and an accompanying shift in perspective.
“It’s not a record about becoming a parent by any stretch…only a few songs reference it even barely…but it’s an inescapable ingredient of where I’m writing from. Having a child affords a dramatically new view of yourself and your place – in your life, your family, with friends and surroundings. I don’t know how that perspective doesn’t inform any creative person’s work once they have it.” The songs Delmhorst has delivered from this new vantage point speak of a deepened empathy, a broader perspective on the continuum of lives. The title track “Blood Test” strives to find authentic experience amidst the noise of modern life. “Saw It All” zooms out until whole universes of experience fit into frame. “Bright Green World” urges perseverance in the face of the impossible. “Little Frame” examines the way seemingly small actions can transform a life.
The album’s quietest moments cut deep. “Homeless” conveys profound compassion for the human condition, and “My Ohio” offers a devastating eulogy to a departed friend.
“Bees” holds a mirror to the frayed condition of the 21st century soul:
Well our dreams are full of bees,
they’re full of buzzing bees,
When we gonna waken honey?
We’re on our knees, on our bended knees,
When we gonna stand up right?
Fields of poppies send you off to sleep.
Pray your holy road your soul to keep.
All the miles, all the restless miles,
When we gonna stop this running?
It’s been a while, been a long long while,
When we gonna break on through?
And the sky looks down on me and says
What are you doing with your one little chance to be free?
And I look up at the sky and say
What am I doing with my one little chance to be alive?
BLOOD TEST’s fresh perspective was realized sonically by Delmhorst turning to a totally new collaborator – friend and fellow songwriter Anders Parker (Varnaline, Gob Iron, New Multitudes). Parker brought two band members to Delmhorst: drummer Konrad Meissner (Brandi Carlile, The Silos) and multi-instrumentalist Mark Spencer (Blood Oranges, Lisa Loeb, Laura Cantrell, Son Volt). And together, the four shaped BLOOD TEST’s landscape.
“I was focused on paring things down to their elements, less flesh, more bone. So it’s just the four of us on BLOOD TEST, with very few overdubs, playing the songs and letting the imperfections be part of the story. We were new to each other as a band, and the songs were new to everyone, many of them even to me. So there’s a freshness and spirit of discovery in the tracks which I think shines through and which gives them a lot of life. It’s a situation that requires intense focus, listening, responsiveness if it’s going to work. Everyone involved brought these things and more.”
The spareness of the arrangements allows a wide range of dynamics in the songs, from the delicate duet of nylon-string guitar and pedal steel in “My Ohio,” to the glowering Hammond organ and brittle electric guitar of “Saw It All.” “Little Frame” floats the listener on a sonic hammock of easy drums and simple piano riffs, while “Temporary Sun” takes less than a minute and a half for Mark Spencer’s scorched-earth country-rock guitar to lay waste to the place. And Delmhorst is not afraid to take dynamic leaps within a single song, as evidenced by “92nd St,” which travels all the way from a single pulsing note on an acoustic guitar to a churning wall of distortion out of PJ Harvey’s playbook, and all the way back again. That song, drawn from Delmhorst’s New York upbringing, had particular resonance during the recording, as the sessions were taking place just a few blocks from her childhood home.
“The studio where we made the record, Brooklyn Recording, turned out to be right in my old stomping grounds… I was getting coffee at the deli I used to go to high school, and then walking to the studio. It was a kind of vertigo feeling to be working there, a little dizzying, but also really satisfying; it somehow completed the circle.”
Geography aside, “92nd St” may also contain the thematic heart of the album – with its soaring chorus “There ain’t no real mistakes.”
For all the big questions that BLOOD TEST asks, it offers this conclusion: That everything we have done and seen and been and felt has led to this day. Who we are now. In this moment. That we have arrived. And we are right on time.
The Star Democrat - May 15, 2014:“The release marks Delmhorst’s first album of original material since 2008…”
The Buzz About - March 28, 2014:“This is what Delmhorst captures better than any songwriter in the game: the duality of emotion, how we are never just one thing in any given moment. The beauty and comfort in despondency, the inherent fear in joy, the unspoken hesitation in acts or proclamations of confidence—Kris Delmhorst’s songs manage to cover that difficult terr [...]
No Depression:“Beautifully flaunts [a] minimalist artistic approach…among the best tunes Delmhorst has ever recorded…they get better each time you revisit them.”
Music Box Online:“Frequently waltzes through the shadowy realm where light and dark meet…Delmhorst has become a favourite among music fans who like to be challenged as well as entertained.
Boston Herald:“Perennial Boston Music Award nominee Delmhorst makes a stunning transformation by moving from the countrified folk of her previous three releases to a dreamier and denser sound brimming with atmosphere and muted-but-infectious melodies…Shotgun Singer is a work of lo-fi beauty, and evidence of an artist taking flight.”
All Music Guide:“Both original and appealing…anyone dipping into a song like “Freediver” or any other random track on this disc is bound to be quite surprised at the extraordinary depth inside.” Ickmusic.com:“A strong, adventurous album of indie-folk-pop…there’s something fresh and new to discover about it with every listen.”
Folkwax:“ Shotgun Singer is the jaw-dropping song collection that I have always felt Delmhorst was capable of bringing to fruition. My litmus test is, do I really want to hear this record again – for instance, straightaway? This disc assuredly ticks that box.”
Performing Songwriter:“A tour de force of singing, writing and production that gains in richness with each repetition.”
Irish Times:“This is a remarkable album…as seamless and brave as it is brilliantly creative…don’t let the fact that Virgil and Hermann Broch inspired the title track reduce its deliciously slinky appeal.”
Boston Globe:”…bold and brilliant… [gives] hot new life to these wise old voices until you’d swear you were listening to heaven’s own hootenanny.”
Philadelphia Daily News:”We’ve heard many aspirants striving to become ‘the next Norah Jones.’ Most get the cool, ‘come hither’ voice and subtle pop/jazz production down right, then fall short on the essential songs. Seasoned talent Kris Delmhorst has the whole package going on, though…”
LA Daily News:“Alternately moody, euphoric and transcendent, this is the smartest good time you’ll have with a disc all year.”
Washington Times:”With ‘Strange Conversation,’ Miss Delmhorst stretches into her stride… few 21st century singers would find the inherent rhythms of Browning’s 1847 ‘A Toccata of Galuppi’s’ so easy to interpret, or Whitman’s loping ‘Passage to India’ so natural as Miss Delmhorst has here.”
Folkwax:”warm, welcoming, at turns spirited or gentle and utterly accessible.”
Vintage Guitar Magazine:”Instead of being dull academic exercises, these tunes feel as vibrant as any extemporaneous contemporary composition.”
Hartford Courant:”a wonderful pastiche of folk and pop and rock and even a little Dixieland”
Springfield Republican:”…a dusky, warm, distinctive voice… Delmhorst’s interpretations are typically inspired, with highlights ranging from the shuffling, horn-backed “Galuppi Baldessare” to the colorfully arranged blend of jazz and blues of the title track and “Everything is Music,” which sounds like a “Seeger Sessions” outtake…”
Potomac News:”On paper it may seem difficult to revamp a poem dating back to the 1200s, but with a guitar, a soulful voice and a flair for attractive hooks, indie singer-songwriter Kris Delmhorst has done just that.”
Blood Test 2014
Songs for a Hurricane 2003
Five Stories 2001
Offlot - 2000
Appetite - 1989
Vinal Avenue String Band - 1999
Respond - 1988
2015 UK TOUR DATES -
09/04/15 Menia Bridge, Victoria Hotel
10/04/15 Barton on Humber, The Ropewalk
11/04/15 Newcastle, Studio in Live Theatre
12/04/15 Glasgow - Kilbarchan Old Library
15/04/15 Lewes, Union Music @ The Con Club
16/04/15 Plymouth, The B Bar @ The Barbican Theatre
17/04/15 Torquay, The Crown & Sceptre
18/04/15 Havant, Langstone Sailing Club
19/04/15 London, Green Note