Shedding the constraints of electric (mostly) and going acoustic for her latest set of expressions, Kristin Hersh re-invents herself immaculately with her double-disc titled “Wyatt at the Coyote Palace”. To be honest, I am overcome by the sheer freshness of this new music. I know Kristin is an accomplished singer, songwriter and musician, but, considering her long history in music both as a solo artist and as part of a band I am simply amazed at how beautiful and thought out each and every song is. Each song sounds as if it were lovingly crafted from start to finish… individually! That is a rare thing nowadays, to say the least. And that makes this album more of a journey in and of itself than a companion piece to her book of the same name. The line actually becomes blurred, at times, as to what is a companion to what. The album is that good.
About Kristin Hersh
2016 was extremely productive for indie rock music legend Kristin Hersh, bringing the release of her double CD/book combination ‘Wyatt at the Coyote Palace’ via Omnibus Press / Overlook Press and completing massively successful tours of Ireland, the UK and USA, not to mention releasing the ‘Bath White’ EP from her power trio 50FOOTWAVE earlier in the year.
2017 has also gotten off to a busy start with Athens-based Happy Happy Birthday To Me Records (HHBTM) announcing a vinyl release for ‘Wyatt at the Coyote Palace’. 1000 copies will be pressed and Limited Deluxe versions come with a full color turntable slipmat and color vinyl. This is the third release in the ground-breaking book-CD format that Hersh began with her previous solo album “Crooked” and Throwing Muses’ 2013 release “Purgatory/Paradise”.
Kristin Hersh is most recognized as the front person for the influential art-punk band Throwing Muses, who are being inducted into the Rhode Island Music Hall of Fame in April. She has also found a surprisingly successful career as an author, she has published the critically acclaimed “Paradoxical Undressing” in the UK (released as “Rat Girl” in the USA), a children’s book “Toby Snax,” and “Don’t Suck, Don’t Die,” a highly acclaimed personal account of her long friendship with the late Vic Chesnutt.
‘Wyatt’ is an immersive experience through the use of photographs, illustrations, a collection of true stories, and songs of love and loss, reflecting Hersh’s humor with the pains and travails of a life spent in continual motion. Defined by potent guitars, addictive melodies and poignant lyrics, this release is a serious sign of strength and depth.
This is truly a solo album with Hersh not only writing and singing these songs, but also playing all instruments (including guitar, cello, horns, upright bass and piano and several instruments she built herself). She also incorporates found sounds into these recordings.
“The stories are all true. They happened over the last few decades. The songs were written in the last five years. They’re true, too, in a much more oblique way,” explains Kristin Hersh. “But it’s always felt to me that songs were pushing my life around so they could be born: I live the stories and then the song lives. Very much like children. A baby isn’t born because you got pregnant, you got pregnant because a baby was going to be born.”
The songs, which were written during a turbulent period in her life, were recorded at her favorite studio in Portsmouth, RI with engineer Steve Rizzo. The prose was inspired by her son Wyatt and his fascination with an abandoned apartment building inhabited by coyotes, often visiting and even filming these creatures during the album’s recording. Yet suddenly his intense fascination came to an end. Hersh comments, “I had so loved his love of the place”.
[table caption=”Events” width=”100%” colwidth=”20|100|100|200|200″ colalign=”left|left|left|left|left”]
04/28/2017,New York, NY,Rubin Museum of Art,Naked Soul Series
04/29/2017,Pawtucket, RI,The Met for the RI Music Hall Of Fame Induction,with David Narcizo & Fred Abong
07/16/2017,Provincetown, MA,Fine Arts Work Center,Memoir Workshop w/ Kristin Hersh (July 16 to 21 2017)
07/19/2017,Provincetown, MA,Fine Arts Work Center,
07/23/2017,Dublin, Ireland,National Concert Hall,
Featured photo by Peter Mellekas.
“Hersh at her starkest and most evocative, singing words of both comfort and confrontation”
“24 tracks of largely acoustic beauty, fraught with a tension that tantalises, comforts and baffles in turn”
– The Skinny
“Personal, tender and upsetting in equal measure”
– The Irish Times
“The music thrums with chunky riffs; the tempo is stop-start but less twisty than Throwing Muses. She demands attention and rewards it”
– Financial Times
“One of the great unearthly voices in American underground-rock history… an absolute trip”
“Endlessly fascinating and emotionally involving… this may be Kristin Hersh’s finest work to date”
– Echoes and Dust