Wednesday, December 28, 2016

When Kristin Hersh returned

A few weeks ago, Kristin Hersh walked into a live set in Los Angeles that ought to have been quite the clusterfuck; she'd skipped soundcheck, used long tuning pauses to show for it, destroyed her G string (the funniest string, at least), and killed time while her producer attempted to replace said string. But she'd marvelously passed these tests of character, and kept a straight face throughout, gracefully transitioning between the stories that complemented her lyrics: post-fight drives in the snow, pieced-together bar chatter, Throwing Muses' recipe for hooker gazpacho. She's warm and witty and likable and the type of person you hope always gets her due, and it's fulfilling to see that she's figured out how to make her career sustainable.

As she mentioned to Vanyaland last month, "Right now with the music business toppling onto its face it’s a good time to open up your product to other media [...] people pay money for that while they won’t really pay for music anymore." Other media refers to her partial transition from musician to writer, following up two full-length books with a five-book deal and promoting an album that's paired with a book of essays and memories, Wyatt at the Coyote Palace. She figured this thing out years ago.

In three decades, her voice has transformed into a mish-mash of a child and everybody's smoking aunt, and while she's bold and tough with a full band behind her, she sounds a little terrified and reluctant when she's on her own. But some of the best writers are the ones who observe and record what is rather than making up stories from scratch, and she's an excellent writer, keeping tabs on the funny and frightening moments and turning her notes into something that [perhaps hopefully] passes for abstract poetry. So it's no wonder that she sounds like she's in hiding -- she's sharing the type of stuff she's always written about, but telling us openly that it's not in fact abstract.

Wyatt runs long and is very much of her time [the '90s], but it's Kristin on display as a versatile musician, a skilled guitarist, and above all else, a proper writer, in ascending order.

Not only can you purchase Wyatt at the Coyote Palace, you can sponsor Kristin's work in exchange for rewards like concert tickets, albums, and the chance to join her in the studio.

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