The Norman Transcript

N-town reviews

July 5, 2013

Music review: Kirsten Thien’s live music a treat

NORMAN — Album name: Solo Live from the Meisenfrei Blues Club (2013, Screen Door Records)

Musician: Kirsten Thien

Why you should listen: Ask any musician what the toughest gig is. They’ll tell you it’s playing all by your lonesome with just a guitar in a joint where liquor is flowing freely. On this disc Kirsten Thien lays down a troubadour clinic that makes it sound like the easiest of tasks. Amazingly, the recording wasn’t even planned for commercial development. Thien’s sound guy at the Bremen, Germany, joint handed her a stereo mix of the show at evening’s conclusion and she just thought it would be a cool souvenir. The recording turned out to be a pristine gem.

“We had captured this moment in time that already had a special place in my heart and mind,” Thien said.

The Georgetown University business school graduate has a terrific songbook of originals but presumably because it was a saloon about half these 15 tracks are covers. Thien takes the challenge of chestnut “Fooled Around and Fell in Love” and spins it with a personal style that’s spellbinding. Her vocal clarity, phrasing and range are charming at every turn.

“Please Drive” is Thien’s own tune that’s hotter than love in August. She performs an initially languid version here that starts deceptively at an erotic simmer and builds to a climatic boil. Because of the club atmosphere a certain amount of banter is expected between songs but to her credit there aren’t any interminable spoken stories. Typically Thien fronts a full band and probably always will. But Live at Meisenfrei shows without doubt she can go it alone and hold an audience transfixed with just her voice and guitar. It’s a stellar addition to Thien’s previous three-album discography.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
N-town reviews
  • Book review: Kidd delivers thought-provoking novel on slavery

    by Amber Hodge Book: The Invention of Wings (2014, Viking) Author: Sue Monk Kidd Why you should read: Kidd might be known for her worldwide hit “The Secret Life of Bees,” which released in 2002 and spent more than two years on the NY Times ...

    April 11, 2014

  • Book review: Philomena a sad, worthwhile read

    by Amber Hodge Book: The Lost Child of Philomena Lee (2009, Macmillan) Author: Martin Sixsmith Why you should read: Originally published in 2009, “Philomena” tells the true story of Michael Hess, who was a lawyer, and later deputy chief ...

    April 11, 2014

  • Music review: Johnny Drummer brings spark, swagger

    Musician: Johnny Drummer Album name: Bad Attitude Why you should listen: It’s probably reason enough to spin this record that producer Michael Frank wrote a thousand word introduction for the liner notes. The man who founded Earwig Music ...

    April 11, 2014

  • Music review: Helen Kelter Skelter offers psychedelic gem

    Musician: Helen Kelter Skelter Album name: Self-titled Why you should listen: Helen Kelter Skelter is a Norman band comprised of Eli Wimmer, Cody Clifton, Nathan Harwell, Jay Jamison and Tim Gregory. Their band’s name is a tongue twisting ...

    April 11, 2014

  • Book review: Anna Quindlen creates poetic narrative in Still Life with Bread Crumbs

    Book: Still Life with Bread Crumbs (2014, Random House) Author: Anna Quindlen Why you should read: It’s hard to find authors who have the kind of talent that brings life to inanimate objects. Fortunately, Anna Quindlen is one such writer ...

    March 14, 2014

  • Book review: Under the Never Sky a clever sci-fi

    Book: Under the Never Sky (2012, HarperCollins) Author: Veronica Rossi Why you should read: “Under the Never Sky” is a clever young adult novel built around a distopian future akin to “The Hunger Games” or the “Divergent” series....

    March 14, 2014

  • Music review: Goodnight Moonshine offers fresh sound

    Musician: Molly Venter and Eben Pariser Album name: Goodnight Moonshine Why you should listen: It’s the rare 21st century professional musician who has just one project. Molly Venter and Eben Pariser are no exceptions. Venter played here ...

    March 14, 2014

  • Music review: Eddie Ate Dynamite is explosive, twisted listen

    Musician: Jason Vivone and the Billy Bats Album name: Eddie Ate Dynamite Why you should listen: All you have to do is glance at this album’s cover art to know it’s going to be a twisted listen. A stick of high explosive in a hot dog bun on ...

    March 14, 2014

  • Book review: Rainbow Rowell paints perfect love story

    Book: Eleanor & Park (2013, St. Martin’s Press) Author: Rainbow Rowell Why you should read: After 11 weeks of gracing the NY Times Best Seller list for young adult novels, “Eleanor & Park” currently rests at No. 8 on the charts. With its ...

    February 14, 2014

  • Book review: JJ Abrams creates literary masterpiece

    Book: S. (2013, Little, Brown & Company) Authors: J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst Why you should read: Created from the mind of J.J. Abrams, producer of hit films and television shows such as “Lost,” “Star Trek Into Darkness” and “Mission: ...

    February 14, 2014