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.
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 2014.
1. Hold Onto Me
2. A Woman Knows
3. Thank You (For Saying Goodbye)
4. You've Got Me
5. Wild Women Don't Have The Blues
6. The Sweet Lost And Found
7. Ain't That The Truth
8. It Takes A Lot To Laugh, It Takes A Train To Cry
9. Please Drive
10. Leaving Las Vegas
11. Nobody's Ever Loved Me Like You Do
12. Women Be Wise
13. Fooled Around And Fell In Love
14. I'd Rather Be Blind
15. Ain't No Sunshine/The Thrill Is Gone
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
Full Hour Live with the KT Band on “Blues and Friends” on TV in The Netherlands
On tour in Europe 2012, the KT Band stopped by the RTV Studios in Baarn, NL to chat with Bertwin and play 8 songs live. Broadcast in Nov 2012 in Holland, you can see the whole show now.