|Blood Test [May 13th, 2014]
Kris Delmhorst — Blood Test
Location: Brooklyn NY
Album release: May 13th, 2014
Record Label: Signature Sounds
01. Blood Test 3:16
02. Homeless 4:45
03. 92Nd St 3:33
04. Saw It All 3:24
05. Bees 3:20
06. We Deliver 3:25
07. Little Frame 3:11
08. Bright Green World 3:15
09. Temporary Sun 1:29
10. Hushabye 3:37
11. My Ohio 4:25
12. Lighthouse 4:00
•≡• Produced by Anders Parker & Kris Delmhorst
•≡• Label: Signature Sounds
•≡• David Byrne
•≡• Bob Dylan
•≡• Chris Hillman
•≡• Joe Ely
•≡• Gene Clark
•≡• Juliana Finch
•≡• Ted Barron Photography
•≡• Joanna Chattman Photography
•≡• Kris Delmhorst Composer, Guitar, Piano, Producer, Vocals
•≡• Alex McCollough Mastering
•≡• Konrad Meissner Drums, Percussion
•≡• Anders Parker 6~String Guitar, Bass, Guitar (12 String Electric), Producer, Vocals
•≡• Don Piper Assistant
•≡• Mark Spencer Bass, Guitar (Electric), Organ, Pedal Steel, Piano, Vibraphone
•≡• Andy Taub Engineer, Mixing
•≡• Adam Tilzer Assistant
•≡• Ben Tousley Design
•≡• “Kris Delmhorst has resided in Massachusetts for most of the past two decades. On the cusp of motherhood, Shotgun Singer (2008), her most recent album of original material, was released. She returned to the fray with Cars (2011), a fan’s 21st Century tribute to the 20th Century Boston~based combo. Kris’s previous studio albums having been recorded in Massachusetts, Maine, and Vermont, but Blood Test found Delmhorst returning to “home turf” and her native Brooklyn. In the Blood Test press release, she recalls, “I was getting coffee at the deli I used to go to in high school, then walking to the studio.”
•≡• Brooklyn Recording was the venue for the sessions, and Kris (vocals, guitars, piano) was joined there by band leader Anders Parker (electric 6 & 12 string guitars, bass, vocals), Mark Spencer (electric guitar, bass, pedal steel, piano, organ, vibraphone), and Konrad Meissner (drums, percussion). A collection of twelve songs, Blood Test was co~produced with Parker (who has also produced for Varnaline, Gob Iron, New Multitudes), and he recruited Messrs. Spencer & Meissner who have worked, variously, with Belinda Carlisle, Lisa Loeb, Lisa Cantrell, and Son Volt.”
•≡• C’est le septieme album de cette artiste, assez méconnue de ce côté~ci de l’Atlantique, mais a découvrir de toute urgence. Un excellent album.
•≡• Kris Delmhorst’s new release BLOOD TEST describes a moment of reckoning and centering in the songwriter’s life, and in society as a whole. In her new collection, Delmhorst acknowledges the weary work of an intentioned life — and the new American dream of presence and perspective in a frenetic time.
•≡• BLOOD TEST is Delmhorst’s first album of original material since 2008’s SHOTGUN SINGER. The intervening years witnessed the birth of her daughter with husband and fellow songwriter Jeffrey Foucault, and an accompanying shift in perspective.
•≡• “It’s not a record about becoming a parent by any stretch…, only a few songs reference it even barely…but it’s an inescapable ingredient of where I’m writing from. Having a child affords a dramatically new view of yourself and your place — in your life, your family, with friends and surroundings. I don’t know how that perspective doesn’t inform any creative person’s work once they have it.”
•≡• The songs Delmhorst has delivered from this new vantage point speak of a deepened empathy, a broader perspective on the continuum of lives. The title track “Blood Test” strives to find authentic experience amidst the noise of modern life. “Saw It All” zooms out until whole universes of experience fit into frame. “Bright Green World” urges perseverance in the face of the impossible. “Little Frame” examines the way seemingly small actions can transform a life.
•≡• The album’s quietest moments cut deep. “Homeless” conveys profound compassion for the human condition, and “My Ohio” offers a devastating eulogy to a departed friend.
•≡• “Bees” holds a mirror to the frayed condition of the 21st century soul:
Well our dreams are full of bees, they’re full of buzzing bees,
When we gonna waken honey?
We’re on our knees, on our bended knees,
When we gonna stand up right?
Fields of poppies send you off to sleep.
Pray your holy road your soul to keep.
All the miles, all the restless miles,
When we gonna stop this running?
It’s been a while, been a long long while,
When we gonna break on through?
And the sky looks down on me and says
What are you doing with your one little chance to be free?
And I look up at the sky and say
What am I doing with my one little chance to be alive?
•≡• BLOOD TEST’s fresh perspective was realized sonically by Delmhorst turning to a totally new collaborator — friend and fellow songwriter Anders Parker (Varnaline, Gob Iron, New Multitudes). Parker brought two band members to Delmhorst: drummer Konrad Meissner (Brandi Carlile, The Silos) and multi~instrumentalist Mark Spencer (Blood Oranges, Lisa Loeb, Laura Cantrell, Son Volt). And together, the four shaped BLOOD TEST’s landscape.
•≡• “I was focused on paring things down to their elements, less flesh, more bone. So it’s just the four of us on BLOOD TEST, with very few overdubs, playing the songs and letting the imperfections be part of the story. We were new to each other as a band, and the songs were new to everyone, many of them even to me. So there’s a freshness and spirit of discovery in the tracks which I think shines through and which gives them a lot of life. It’s a situation that requires intense focus, listening, responsiveness if it’s going to work. Everyone involved brought these things and more.”
•≡• The spareness of the arrangements allows a wide range of dynamics in the songs, from the delicate duet of nylon~string guitar and pedal steel in “My Ohio,” to the glowering Hammond organ and brittle electric guitar of “Saw It All.” “Little Frame” floats the listener on a sonic hammock of easy drums and simple piano riffs, while “Temporary Sun” takes less than a minute and a half for Mark Spencer’s scorched~earth country~rock guitar to lay waste to the place. And Delmhorst is not afraid to take dynamic leaps within a single song, as evidenced by “92nd St,” which travels all the way from a single pulsing note on an acoustic guitar to a churning wall of distortion out of PJ Harvey’s playbook, and all the way back again.
That song, drawn from Delmhorst’s New York upbringing, had particular resonance during the recording, as the sessions were taking place just a few blocks from her childhood home.
•≡• “The studio where we made the record, Brooklyn Recording, turned out to be right in my old stomping grounds… I was getting coffee at the deli I used to go to high school, and then walking to the studio. It was a kind of vertigo feeling to be working there, a little dizzying, but also really satisfying; it somehow completed the circle.”
•≡• Geography aside, “92nd St” may also contain the thematic heart of the album — with its soaring chorus “There ain’t no real mistakes.”
•≡• For all the big questions that BLOOD TEST asks, it offers this conclusion: That everything we have done and seen and been and felt has led to this day. Who we are now. In this moment. That we have arrived. And we are right on time.
•≡• Kris Delmhorst grew up in Brooklyn NY, but her musical home is in Boston MA where she cut her teeth on open mics, bar gigs, and subway busking before embarking on her life as an internationally touring songwriter. She has released six albums on respected indie label Signature Sounds. Delmhorst now lives in the hills of western Massachusetts with her husband, songwriter Jeffrey Foucault, with whom she occasionally performs as part of the collective Redbird.
•≡• On May 13th, Delmhorst will release her seventh album, BLOOD TEST (Signature Sounds) — her first of original music since 2008’s critically acclaimed album SHOTGUN SINGER. A prolific writer and constant collaborator, Delmhorst continues to share her unique perspective in this new work. The album describes a moment of reckoning and centering in the songwriter’s life, and in society as a whole. In a collection of songs which move between triumph and heartbreak, restlessness and responsibility, Delmhorst acknowledges the weary work of an intentioned life — and the new American dream of presence and perspective in a frenetic time.
•≡• “moody, euphoric, and transcendent” — LA Times
•≡• “bold and brilliant” — Boston Globe
•≡• “Delmhorst has become a favorite among music fans who like to be challenged as well as entertained.” — Music Box Online
•≡• “a work of lo~fi beauty… evidence of an artist taking flight” — Boston Herald
•≡• “As seamless and brave as it is brilliantly creative” — Irish Times
•≡• “a gorgeous, tender, evocative voice and a textured and varied musical palette” — Amazon
•≡• “warm and immediately accessible” … “a voice that breathes through the speakers” — All Music
Artist Biography by Charlotte Dillon:
•≡• Appetite for Destruction Singer and songwriter Kris Delmhorst was raised in Brooklyn, NY. She trained in classical cello early on, then used her skills to land work with jazz bands and folk singers in the area. A move to Maine — and a very long winter — gave her time to learn to play the fiddle and guitar. In 1996, she relocated to Boston, MA. By this time she had years of experience at performing and was ready to take a step up in the world of music, so she set to work on a demo tape titled Swim for It. In 1998, Delmhorst finally finished recording her debut album, Appetite. She had some talented help on the first offerings, including producer Alan Williams, fiddler Joe Kessler, drummer Billy Conway, guitarist Thomas Juliano, and bassist Mike Rivard. Delmhorst’s next release was a successful EP, Oddlot. Her third release was another full~length album, Respond. “Marylou,” “Tear My Stillhouse Down,” “Red Herring,” “Garden Rose,” “Moscow Song,” and “Mean Old Wind” are some of the tracks fans can find on her recordings. Kris Delmhorst was nominated for Outstanding Female Singer/Songwriter twice by the Boston Music Awards. She has also toured extensively, appearing at many festivals.
SIMON ANDREW, JUNE 23, 2014
•≡• Blood Test is Kris Delmhorst’s seventh studio release in a recording career that started with her cassette only release back in 1996 and has included numerous collaborations as well as solo material since, this release is Kris’ first album of original material since 2008 and with the birth of a daughter in~between the album ushers in a change in perspective, it’s not an album about motherhood or indeed about being a parent but harnesses experiences borne out of the change in circumstances a child brings to your personal life, the shifting dynamics of relationships (Kris is married to Jeffrey Foucault) and more than a little reflection at the world beyond the everyday, all of which provides a writer of Kris’ ability a bountiful pool of food~for~thought which she’s put to good use creating the songs for Blood Test .
•≡• Album numbers seven was released with the help of people power harnessed through a successful Kickstarter campaign completed earlier this year, the album was recorded with a new collaborator, friend and fellow songwriter Anders Parker (Varnaline, Gob Iron, New Multitudes, Anders & Kendall) who plays guitars and provides backing vocals on the album, alongside this new pairing Ander’s brought two further collaborators to completed the recordings line~up, on drums and percussion Konrad Meissner (The Silos, Brandi Carlile) and multi~instrumentalist Mark Spencer (Blood Oranges, Lisa Loeb, Laura Cantrell, Son Volt) on bass, pedal steel, keys, guitars and vibraphone, together the quartet recorded the album in a Brooklyn studio only a few blocks away from Kris’ childhood home, a scene that provided a juxtaposition of the familiar and the constant that often inhabit ones thoughts when returning to a childhood stomping ground — I’m not sure whether the songs that were taken to the studio were lyrically fully formed or were skeletal and fleshed out during the recording but the album carries a reflective narrative that would suggest the later given the circumstance, whatever the end result a fine collection of songs — highly recommended.
by MIKE DAVIES on 9 JUNE, 2014