Album: Song Writer
Artist: Kristie Stremel
Details: 10 songs; 38 minutes
Who’s Choice: Gone Mild
Dan chose this week’s album after we were introduced to Kristie Stremel’s music via a live performance a couple weeks ago. On stage, Kristie completely rules the stage as she plays guitar and fronts her band. Kristie is jeans, tshirt, guitars, shaggy haircut, great voice. Along with the image, a love of making music, being with musicians, and performing popped from the stage that night. We took from that show the discovery of a fun, female rock performer. There are too few of those.
The album we listened to this week is her most recent, and, looking at her website, this looks like it is her eighth album or EP. This one has a number of those rock-laced numbers like she performed when we heard her, but there are several quieter songs too. The title of the album, Songwriter sets the listener up for that. In this compilation, she has written songs about the life of a musician, seeker, lover, mother. The whole album seemed to offer a view into her life, that compelled me to pay attention even when the song may not have been a favorite.
During a week that I finally got to put my convertible to appropriate use a couple times, the playlist of this album often made for a good fit. You can’t really go wrong on a beautiful day, cruising down the road and enjoying the electric guitar twanging, cymbal heavy, “Hard Left Turns.” That song makes me want to go into my Itunes library and find some Pat Benatar.
Because Kristie is based in Lawrence, Kansas and performs regionally for the most part,it might be useful to give some additional reference points. I hear lots of Lucinda Williams when I listen to this album. My favorite Lucinda Williams song is Righteously. There is a song on Stremel’s album called “Well Alright.” In it, Kristie uses a riff (note at :33 in the video) that makes me think of Righteously every single time. Anyone else hear that? Probably not as well known as Lucinda, this album also makes me think of Amy Rigby, who writes similar story songs and can also rock.
That is a fun thing about listening to new and lots of different kinds of music. There isn’t much that is original, and aside from completely ripping someone off, when musicians give a nod to other musicians, it makes listening more interactive. I don’t know if Kristie thought of Righteously at all when she wrote Well Alright, but for me it built a good reference point. That is the Spotify in my head working – if you like this; you may like this.
On Gone Mild, Dan praises Kristie for her artistic determination that produced a career that includes live performances that leave listeners wanting more. I completely agree! While this album may not be the slickly produced package that we have tended to listen to these weeks, there is enough good material to recommend it to others and hope that they are available to drag out of their house and to her show next time she is in town.
Next Up: St. Vincent by St. Vincent