In the pristine environment that is the Storey’s Field Centre in Cambridge, Kristin Hersh quietly took to the stage in front of an eager and clearly attentive audience. Being that the space is so clean and devoid of impression, the focus is then duly put back to the artist and her music.

Kristin attracts a certain almost pensive demographic which I think makes her the thinking person’s musician. She is a simple and uncluttered artist that creates a gorgeous energy field around herself through her vocal dexterity and strong musicianship. There is a slight, lovely rasp to her voice that injects an edginess and a hint of pain to her music. She seems to be expressing something akin to suffering through her storytelling in each of her songs. She takes a moment in between each to lighten the mood as some of her subject matter is rooted in some strong, deep feelings. Her lyrical content is verbose and intensive which is all the more impressive when you consider she is alone on stage with just her acoustic guitar and rattling through song after song without much hesitation in between.

The audience watches and listens so intently, almost strangely quiet and composed, transfixed in the presence of this small, artistic powerhouse. With the end of every song, there are huge roars of approval and rightly so as she is technically brilliant and undeniably talented. The lyrics seems to follow a sort of dreamscape that Kristen is lacing and weaving throughout punctuated with the beaty backbone of her guitar. All the time, tempering her voice between a hint of rage with sharp accents to slow, methodical phrasing.

This is music told through the gamut of folk with a fluidity that Kristen makes her own. With her American enunciation, there is a colloquial feel to her music that makes it accessible and perfect to form. It is plain to see why her following is so highly devout, she is a gifted performer.

Photos by Peter Whitehead

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