• author
    • Kate Laddish

    • April 22, 2016 in Columnists

    Delicacy of folk with an undercurrent of rock: Kris Delmhorst heads west

    Singer-songwriter Kris Delmhorst, who is known for her insightful writing, warm voice and spirited performance, is currently touring the West Coast with a series of duo and trio shows with guitarist Austin Nevins and singer Annie Lynch.

    Originally from Brooklyn, Delmhorst now lives in the hills of western Massachusetts with her husband, songwriter Jeffrey Foucault, and is active in the vibrant Boston folk scene. A gifted writer, Delmhorst draws on the strong Boston and New York folk traditions while allowing an undercurrent of rock into her music.

    The song “92nd Street” from her 2014 release “Blood Test” demonstrates how Delmhorst blends the insight and delicacy of folk and energy of rock. The song opens quietly with one voice and single rhythmic notes on an acoustic guitar, expands to include harmony vocals and strummed guitar, swells at the line “There ain’t no real mistakes” to an extended crescendo with drums and muscular electric guitar and then telescopes back to the spare arrangement of the beginning.

    Kris Delmhorst (photo by Shervin Lainez, used courtest of Kris Delmhorst)

    Kris Delmhorst (photo by Shervin Lainez, used courtest of Kris Delmhorst)

    Delmhorst’s muse covers a broad territory. While “Blood Test” (her seventh album on respected indie label Signature Sounds) draws inspiration from a crucial period in her life and the challenges, complexities and joys of trying to live according to one’s beliefs, her previous release was a thorough reimagining of songs by post-punk and new wave band the Cars. Her latest project, due in June, is an EP of full band arrangements of songs based on poems by W.B. Yeats, William Blake, Christina Rossetti and others.

    This month Delmhorst is releasing a songbook “Selected Songs 2001-2014” with two dozen songs from her five most recent albums of original work.

    A multi-instrumentalist who has recorded vocals, fiddle, cello, keyboards, mandolin and guitar on over 50 albums from artists such as Mary Gauthier, Chris Smither, Lori McKenna and Peter Wolf, Delmhorst primarily focuses on vocals and guitar when performing. Her energizing shows include warmly humorous banter between poetic and often bittersweet songs, and have a compelling vitality.

    Portland-based guitarist Austin Nevins (Josh Ritter, Della Mae) will accompany Delmhorst on all dates of the western tour; Annie Lynch (Annie & The Beekeepers) will join on harmony vocals and rhythm guitar on select dates.

    For more information, visit krisdelmhorst.com and the venues’ websites.

    Kris Delmhorst’s April tour dates:
    April 21: Doc’s Lab, San Francisco, CA http://www.docslabsf.com/
    April 22: The Palms Playhouse, Winters, CA http://www.palmsplayhouse.com/
    April 24: Feather River Hot Springs, Twain, CA http://featherriverhotsprings.com/
    April 27: Green Frog Acoustic Tavern, Bellingham, WA http://www.acoustictavern.com/
    April 28: Fremont Abbey Arts Center, Seattle, WA http://fremontabbey.org/
    April 29: Analog Café and Theater, Portland, OR http://www.analogpdx.com/

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