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Kris Delmhorst


Country of origin:

U.S.

Type of music generally:

Contemporary folk

Status:

Most recent release, Blood Test (2014)

See also:

Kris Delmhorst's site

Wikipedia's entry on Kris Delmhorst

Comparisons:

Jennifer Kimball, Jonatha Brooke, Dar Williams, Ani DiFranco, Barbara Kessler

Covers/own material:

Own

General comments:

Kris Delmhorst is one of the best singer/songwriters, performers, and jam musicians I know of in the northeast. I love her. She's well on her way to being as much sought after as Jennifer Kimball to be on other albums. She's a member of the Vinal Avenue String Band, she was in Catie Curtis' band playing fiddle and singing backups for part of their recent northeast tour, she was one of the organizers of the Respond compilation, and part of the Respond showcase at Falcon Ridge this year [1999]. (cos@wbrs.org)

     In 1999 I first saw Kris Delmhorst playing fiddle (and singing backup vocals) with the Catie Curtis band, then Catie Curtis let Kris sing a solo song or two on guitar... everyone I spoke with at Catie Curtis's shows felt the power of Kris' music and delightful stage presence, and Kris sold many of her own CDs on that tour as Catie Curtis-fans wanted to take home more of Kris' music.
     A month later I saw Kris perform solo in San Francisco, and I've seen nearly every one of her shows in the SF Bay Area since then, from Berkeley and San Francisco to San Jose and Santa Cruz, from intimate house concerts to local bars, she has always been one of my favorite live performers. (raven@igc.org)

She's just so damn cute!!! Oh yeah, and she can sing and play the guitar and fiddle pretty good, too. :) (meth@smoe.org)

Comments about live performance:

I have never left a Kris Delmhorst show anything other than satisfied and happy. It's like going to see The Nields—I can expect the best and never be dissatisfied. She's cheerful, friendly, charismatic but unassuming. She has a voice that is a pleasure to listen to, her lyrics are intelligent and well written, she knows how to play guitar and she *really* knows how to play fiddle.
     At her solo shows you probably won't see her fiddling, unfortunately, you generally only see that when she's playing with other people or in Vinal Avenue String Band. But definitely, by all means, if you can go see her, do. I give her my strongest level of recommendation :) (11/99, cos@wbrs.org)

I'd never heard of Kris Delmhorst before tonight, but I'm glad I remedied that situation! She's originally from Brooklyn, and now is part of that whole incestuous Boston music scene. Any fan of the Jennifer Kimball, Jonatha Brooke, Dar Williams, and Ani DiFranco persuasion won't go wrong with Kris Delmhorst. woj commented that she's got some Barbara Kessler in her too, and I can see that. She also has a great stage presence: bubbly and funny, and clearly having a lot of fun. She ain't a bad musician, either. (c. 3/99)
     Kris Delmhorst was just as sweet, engaging, and wonderful as the last time I saw her earlier in the year. She played most of the songs off her album Appetite, as well as a great cover of Gillian Welch's "Tear My Still House Down" and a few really good new songs. She's one of the dime-a-dozen Boston singer/songwriters, but there's just something about her that sets her apart from the teeming throng, that I can't quite put my finger on. Her lyrics aren't knock-you-down amazing, but they are a step above some of the pedestrian verses a lot of people are writing nowadays. Her voice isn't the best in the world, but it's perfectly listenable and does the job (she sounds a lot like Dar Williams, in fact). She's also not the world's greatest guitar player, but then again I've seen *lots* of folkies who could take lessons from her. I think it's just the factor of her personality. She's completely comfortable on stage, telling funny stories about the songs with a certain self-deprecating edge, and immediately bringing the audience onto her side. She got a great response from the crowd, and sold a lot of CDs. I had the opportunity to chat with her a bit afterwards too, and she's a genuinely nice person to boot. (12/99)
     I was very much involved in the Eli Whitney Folk Festival. Kris Delmhorst did a nice short set of songs, some of which were inspired by the "very barn-y" setting we were in. When Jennifer Kimball did a set she asked Kris up to sing harmony with her, and it was a deliciously Story-like moment. Kris Delmhorst remains the cutest thing in the Boston folk scene. Just had to state that. (9/00)
     I discovered Kris Delmhorst at the Acoustic Cafe almost two years ago now, and I've been enjoying her live performances more and more since then. Her new album, Five Stories is rather uneven, but the best tracks really rock. We saw her open for Suzanne Vega a few weeks ago, and the new songs didn't quite work solo, but she's so cute and giggly and fun to see, I still wanted to see her do a full set on her own. This turned out to be a very good thing, because she was accompanied onstage by Mark Erelli, who is generating quite a buzz as a singer, songwriter and bandleader in his own right. He is a great guitar player, and proved himself to be quite the harmonica player as well. He has been playing in Kris' band lately, and together they *rocked*, particularly on the new songs. At one point he played three harps at once, all in different keys, one note at a time. (3/02)
     I saw her at the Iron Horse a couple weekends ago. She was solo, and she was wonderful. It's amazing how much she has matured as a performer over the past few years. And she's still as cute and goofy as ever. (5/04, meth@smoe.org)

the first time i saw kris i really enjoyed her set but i've become less interested in her with each performance. not sure why. maybe the earnest singer/songwriter factor is finally trumping the cuteness factor. ;) in any event, she was fine on friday night but didn't really engage me. (9/00, woj@smoe.org)

Kris was great. She's got a great voice with a couple different tonal qualities in two different registers which she moves back and forth between effortlessly. Her guitar playing is also very strong, but for me, her primary strength is her songwriting. Sherlyn Koo suggested she thought of Kris as kind of "Ani DiFranco lite" and I can see that completely in lines like "[We] are like a free lunch / There's no such thing but we eat it up anyway." Sorry I can't remember the set list, but she did three new untitled songs and at least one or two that I didn't recognize from the album that were probably old. (11/99, drewh@bitwise.com)

she's really wonderful, make sure you see her if you can. (11/99, Jess913@aol.com)

I saw her last September when she was touring with Catie Curtis. At one point, Catie Curtis handed over the show to her. She put down her fiddle, strapped on an acoustic guitar, and sang us "Weatherman" (Catie Curtis sang backing vocals), a most enchanting song. (11/99, silme@ix.netcom.com)

I also saw Kris Delmhorst and Mark Erelli. I've heard a few of Kris' songs and thought they were really well written. I liked her singing and songwriting, and was really impressed with Mark's guitar accompaniment. I saw them a few times. I wanted to see Kris solo, as I wasn't sure if I would like her so well without Mark, but never managed to find her without him. (3/02, neal)

I attended a Kris Delmhorst show in Paradiso in Amsterdam yesterday. Don't really have the words for an extensive review this time, but did want to note that it was most excellent. (3/08, ecto@juima.org)

Recommended first album:

Five Stories or Songs for a Hurricane

Recordings:


Appetite

Release info:

1998

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Kris Delmhorst—vocals, guitar, percussion, cello, viola

Guest artists:

Billy Conway—drums, percussion
Mike Rivard—electric bass, upright bass
Thomas Juliano—electric guitar
Ry Cavanaugh—harmonica, vocals, baritone ukulele
Alan Williams—organ
Sean Staples—mandolin, acoustic guitar, vocals
Jennifer Kimball—acoustic guitar, vocals
Patty Larkin—acoustic guitars, bouzouki
Catie Curtis—acoustic guitar, vocals
Joe Kessler—fiddle
Jake Beyer—harmonica, vocals
Dave Rizzuti—pedal steel guitar

Produced by:

Alan Williams

Comments:

Appetite just came out a few weeks ago, and it features guest appearances by Jennifer Kimball and Catie Curtis. Jim Infantino did the design of the booklet. Any fan of the Jennifer Kimball, Jonatha Brooke,Dar Williams, and Ani DiFranco persuasion won't go wrong with Kris Delmhorst. Woj commented that she's got some Barbara Kessler in her too, and I can see that. She also has a great stage presence: bubbly and funny, and clearly having a lot of fun. She ain't a bad musician, either. The CD, after first listen didn't disappoint—the arrangements are more fleshed out, and I think I'm going to be listening to it a lot. (meth@smoe.org)

I am falling absolutely in love with Kris Delmhorst's album! To me it seems like most of the things that I like about Ani DiFranco, without all the stuff that I *don't* like about Ani DiFranco, if that makes sense. (Sherlyn.Koo)


Five Stories

Release info:

2001—Catalyst Records (PO Box 106/Whately, MA 01093)—CAT-5002

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Kris Delmhorst—vocals, guitar, electric guitar, organ, piano, cello

Guest artists:

Billy Conway—drums, fixator, vibraphone
Andrew Mazzone—bass, drums, 8 string bass, baritone guitar
Sean Staples—banjo, mandolin, octave mandolin, electric mandolin, shaker, 6- & 12-string guitar, vocals
Jabe Beyer—electric guitar, melodica, accordion, vocals
Dana Colley—baritone sax, jew's harp
David Champagne—Martha, the plastic guitar; electric guitar
Dave Rizzuti—pedal steel guitar
Evan Harriman—organ, piano
Tom Halter—flugelhorn
Dave Hill—accordion
Eric Royer—banjo
Tim Kelly—dobro
Nolan McKelvey—bass, vocals
Jennifer Kimball—vocals (3, 11)
Catie Curtis—vocals (5)
Lori McKenna—vocals (8)
Billy Conway, Sean Staples, Jabe Beyer, Jennifer Kimball—drums, percussion, hollerin' in the field (10)

Produced by:

Billy Conway and Kris Delmhorst

Comments:

Five Stories was one of my favorite CDs of 2001. Kris Delmhorst is often called a "musician's musician" by many other artists, and on Five Stories she plays several instruments (cello, both electric and acoustic guitar, organ, and piano) and sometimes she has backing vocals on a few songs, by Catie Curtis, Jennifer Kimball, or Lori McKenna.
     Five Stories shows us a variety of musical styles, from pop to rock to folk to country, and everything in between, and several reviewers have remarked on this CD's "rich sonic texture"... but her alluring voice and great lyrics attract me even more, her voice reflecting many emotions, at times trembling with emotion, but always sliding effortlessly between upper and lower registers...her lyrics can expose us to new insights on the human condition, especially issues of love and intimacy...and although Kris is an artist I have seen perform live many times, she always has something new to say to me, which keeps me coming back to her live shows time after time. (raven@igc.org)

Songs for a Hurricane

Release info:

2003—Signature Sounds Recordings (PO Box 106/Whately, MA 01093)—SIG-1279

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Kris Delmhorst—vocals, acoustic & baritone guitars, fiddle, cello

Guest artists:

Mark Erelli—vocals, acoustic & electric guitars
Julie Wolf—vocals, accordion, melodica, piano, Wurlitzer piano, organ, xylophone
Billy Conway—vocals, drums, percussion, sound effects
Dana Colley—vocals
Kevin Barry—electric & lap steel guitars
Steve Mayone—electric guitar
Andrew Mazzone—baritone guitar, 4 & 8 string bass
Catie Curtis
Jennifer Kimball

Produced by:

Kris Delmhorst, Billy Conway

Comments:

In 2003 Kris released Songs for a Hurricane; I liked this even more than her previous Five Stories CD, which was one of my favorite CDs of 2001... Produced by Morphine's Billy Conway, this album seems to put the singer's voice more "out front" than her earlier CDs...and to my ears, this release is definitely a "concept album," unified by lyrical theme, and even the instrumentation follows this theme, the songs want to be heard in normal "start to finish" progression.
     Songs for a Hurricane opens with the sound of the wind blowing, signaling the approaching storm, and the whole CD is about the turbulence of relationships, about pain and chaos, about relationships in trouble...yet this is not asking for your pity, there is no "woe is me" attitude, simply a matter of fact statement of where the relationship is now...while each song can stand on its own merits, the whole CD is more than the sum of its parts, each song feeding into the next song, until the carefully arranged climax...definitely one of my favorite CDs of 2003. (raven@igc.org)

Strange Conversation

Release info:

2006—Signature Sounds Recordings (PO Box 106/Whately, MA 01093)—SIG-1299

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Group members:

Kris Delmhorst—vocals, acoustic guitar, cello, fiddle, piano, pastry

Guest artists:

Kevin Barry—electric, acoustic & lap steel guitars, dobro, piano, vocals, stature
Paul Kochanski—upright bass, vocals, drama
Lorne Entress—drums, percussion, vocals, ebay
Chris Rival—ears, faders, clandestine organ notes, lumbar trauma
Dave Harris—trombone, tuba
Mike Peipman—trumpet
Mark Chenevert—clarinet, tenor saxophone
Tom West—Hammond organ

Produced by:

Kris Delmhorst

Comments:

Poetry set to contemporary music ranging from folk to honky tonk to New Orleans jazz. Surprising and wonderful. (JoAnn Whetsell)

Shotgun Singer

Release info:

2008—Signature Sounds—SIG-2012

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Kris Delmhorst—vocals, electric guitars, nylon guitar, cellos, piano, octave mandolin, Rhodes, vibraphone, bass, tambourine, water glass, keyboard, organ

Guest artists:

Makaya McCraven—drums (1–3, 5, 6, 10)
Kimon Kirk—bass (1, 3, 8)
Jeffrey Foucault—electric slide guitar, acoustic guitar, banjo (2); acoustic guitar (11)
Sam Kassirer—organ (2); Rhodes (3); piano (4, 6, 8, 10, 11); percussion (4); vibraphone (5, 8); keyboard (8)
Barry Rothman—record samples (2, 5, 6); shortwave radio (6)
Erin McKeown—requinto (3); electric guitar (6)
Peter Mulvey—electric guitar (4)
David Goodrich—electric guitar loops (8)

Produced by:

Sam Kassirer and Kris Delmhorst

Comments:

Having listened to Shotgun Singer one and a half times so far (plus having heard her play most of the songs live yesterday), I think I am incapable of concluding other than that it's a truly excellent album. It doesn't happen often to me that a single song connects right away, but with this album, nearly half the songs have done so already. Totally recommended. (Sander)

Cars

Release info:

2011—Signature Sounds

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Highly recommended

Comments:

I'm really enjoying this appropriately, if not creatively, titled album of covers by The Cars. Energetic and fun, at times somber and lovely ("Drive," "You Wear Those Eyes"). Kris does as good a job with the band's more famous songs as with less well-known ones, the mark of a good covers album. (JoAnn Whetsell)


Thanks to JoAnn Whetsell for work on this entry.

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Artists commented on by
cos @ wbrs.org

17 entries

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Annika Bentley

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Jonatha Brooke

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The Corrs

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Kris Delmhorst

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Trina Hamlin

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Jennifer Kimball

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Knots and Crosses

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Mouth Music

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Moxy Früvous

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The Nields

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Carol Noonan

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Rose Polenzani

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Happy Rhodes

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The Story

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Zap Mama

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Molly Zenobia


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DISCLAIMER: Comments and reviews in the Ectophiles' Guide are excerpted from the ecto mailing list or volunteered by members of the list. They are the opinions of music enthusiasts, not professional music critics.

Entry last updated 2015-05-11 18:04:04.
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