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Kristin Hersh Live In New York City

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Photo Credit: Sue Anello

(Dave Cantrell reviews Kristin Hersh’s Wyatt At The Coyote Palace)

Kristin Hersh is the kind of artist who paints her life out before you with each and every strum, pluck of a string and raspy holler.

The added treat of her splendidly intimate set at the City Vineyard in New York City was reading from three different books Hersh has written between songs. The stories she told of people she’d met in younger days while on the road touring, motherhood, and crashing in Spain (which also includes a recipe!) were both beautifully poignant and humorous.

At the top of her set, “Mississippi Kite” delivered a complexity of multi-harmonic vocals sharing frequency with the highest guitar strings that rang out together like a delicately thin, yet strong glass bell.  “You get burned, you get cold,” she sang, gradually heating the room up on this cold, rainy night.  On “Deep Wilson,” Hersh’s haunting guitar picking and progressions felt like a cool night breeze gliding against the skin.

“Detox” further echoed sentiments of Spain with it’s dynamic, frenetic, trailing break away–the hook, a questioning refrain, as if holding back release on the verge of a full throttle scream, and the flamenco breakdown implying sonic stomps and claps.

“Your Dirty Answer” which found Hersh declaring, “It’s not my fault you don’t love me when I’m drunk,” was a solid reminder of the power she holds in her fragility as a songwriter.

“Sunray Venus,” a recent Throwing Muses’ number, felt heavy with it’s droning drive and rhythmic funk; the taunting“Static” brought on more flamenco feelings, with an upbeat hook punctuated by a raspy caterwaul-holler, while “Krait” possessed more lyrics illustrating raw, emotional exposure. Hersh sang about “naked shame” and “driving through the dirt” with a desert plains-paced rhythm that never revealed a hint of regret.

In an interview on “Live on KEXP” Hersh described her songwriting process as somewhat otherworldly – explaining how songs come to her, and write themselves.  Treasured Throwing Muses B-Side “Cottonmouth”, of which she described as a song written on “napkins, from the overheard conversation of two drunk women,” further illustrates her talented ability to absorb, recognize and shape her art through the experiences around her.

Excerpts Hersh read from “Crooked” near the end of her set, further drew us into her world of reflection:

“All I know is how it feels to be left behind”

“stories me and the Gone Person lived together”

“we’re alone”

Then she dropped “Flooding” haunted with a Romeo and Juliet tragic yearning.

And then she was gone.

Floating modestly between the tables as if leaving a house party –as if she didn’t just snatch up our hearts and finely slice them with every chord of her steel stringed guitars – Hersh reminded us that she’s always been here and been out there and that night she reached as far as she could and then reached even further.

Cheering, clapping and a few standing ovation gestures occurred and then she graciously returned for an encore with “The Cuckoo” and  “You Cage.”

The intensity of her musical conviction, backed by her effortlessly talented guitar work filled up the room, and the glittering lights of the city bouncing off the Hudson River all around her seemed to move in accompaniment.



(reading from Crooked)

Mississippi Kite

Gazebo Tree

(reading from WATCP)


Sno Cat

Deep Wilson

(reading from WATCP)

Poor Wayfaring Stranger

Your Dirty Answer

(reading from Purgatory/Paradise)

Sunray Venus


(reading from Crooked)




(reading from Crooked)




The Cuckoo

You Cage


Carolyn ” Honeychild ” Coleman is a musician, vocalist and composer who has worked with The Slits, Mad Professor, Hank Shocklee (Public Enemy) and The Veldt (Apollo Heights). She currently lives in Brooklyn, where she plays in bands The 1865 and Bachslider.

Death Comet Crew (with Rammellzee), Gregor Asche AKA DJ Olive and Raz Mesinai’s Badawi. DEM (acronym for her late mother’s name) is Coleman’s electronic project: beats, electrified Bluegrass and folk instruments and her signature melliferous Lover’s Rock vocals. Signed to Manchester UK’s Invisiblegirl Records (by Julia Adamson of The Fall) and subject of documentaries “Afropunk” (USA), “Firelies” & “Getting My Name Up There” (AUSTRIA), Coleman’s music has been featured Sundance award winning film “Pariah”, and she is currently composing music for the animated feature “pOny” (USA).
Instagram: @hccoleman