Kristin Hersh - guitar, vocals
Recorded at the historic Tin Angel in Philadelphia (a tiny club where Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band played many of its earliest dates), this intimate show featuring the co-leader of Throwing Muses, Kristin Hersh, shows a more poetic and introspective side of the popular alternative music singer/songwriter.
When it became hard to keep Throwing Muses together, Hersh decided to hit the road with just her acoustic guitar. Over a period of several years beginning in 1998, Hersh threw her focus into a solo career. This show, recorded in 2000, showcases not only her music, but also her dry humor. After opening the show with "A Loon," she launches into a funny mini-monologue. Explaining to the audience that she had spent five months in the studio doing a new album and that on this night they would hear several of the new songs, she states, "Normally, musicians love playing new songs, and the audience hates it. But I don't even like it... so I don't know why we're here. The new songs are all sad and bitter, just like the old ones..."
As the laughter subsides, Hersh proceeded to play two of her older songs, "Hysterical Bending" (which climaxes with her percussive strumming almost as if she was attacking her acoustic guitar), and "Caffeine." Another highlight, "Spain," is hauntingly beautiful and was inspired by one of her many trips there. "Your Dirty Answer," "William's Cut," and "Hook In Her Head" are other highlights in a set that ends with the simple, but poignant "Faith," all the while interjected with pieces of her charismatic commentary.
The acclaimed singer/songwriter who first burst onto the alternative music scene in the mid-1980s with Throwing Muses had made a strong impact with music fans and critics alike, with metaphor-driven songs that speak to both women and men in a very direct way. Hersh was born in 1966 and raised in Newport, Rhode Island, not far from the legendary Jazz and Folk Festival locale. She came from a progressive family that exposed her to a wide spectrum of music at a very early age, ranging from the rural country sounds of the Carter Family and blues icon Robert Johnson to the pop/funk of Stevie Wonder and the universal rock of the Beatles.
By the time the early NY punk scene hit in the '70s, her parents were exposing her to acts like the Ramones and Patti Smith Group. In 1981, she formed Throwing Muses with her stepsister Tanya Donelly and some high school friends. In 1986, the alternative punk band was signed to 4AD Records in the U.K., which led to a U.S. deal with SIRE/Reprise in 1987. By 1994, she began her solo career while still fronting the Muses. She spent most of the 1990s trying to break gender-role confinements, and in 2004 she formed a third project, a hardcore punk power trio called 50 Foot Wave. She continues to tour and record today.