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New: Kirsten Thien - Two Sides


“Kirsten Thien’s ‘After I Left Home’ channels all the grit and glory of Buddy Guy’s epic
story. Kirsten lives at the crossroads where the blues are as new as they are ancient,
forever fresh, an unstoppable force of impassioned life.” David Ritz
Many an artist has embarked on a journey of duality, to further explore the contrasts between

two concepts, i.e. success and failure, struggle versus hope, and self-doubt versus
empowerment. New York City based singer songwriter Kirsten Thien titled her new album “Two
Sides” after discovering her tunes fitted into this premise. She assembled them akin to the A and
B sides of vinyl ’45-singles’, which further inspired her to release this collection on a vinyl longplaying LP (October 2020). The eight new tracks on her fifth release showcase many sides of the
accomplished performer as she moves easily from rock to blues, gospel to soul, her throaty alto

beautifully in sync with her skills on acoustic and electric guitar.
Well known for her provocative solo shows, the album has Thien firmly placed as a band leader
in front of an ensemble that includes bassist and producer Erik Boyd, drummers Steve Holley and
Alex Alexander, guitarist Arthur Neilson, Tommy Mandel on keys, and some very special guests;
Raul Midón, Doug MacLeod and vocalists Tarriona Tank Ball and Jelly Joseph, aka "Tank and
Jelly," from New Orleans. The sessions and collaborations for the album took place over a few
years, with the final masters completed just as the darkest months of the NYC pandemic
lockdown approached, along with its soundtrack of sirens. The lyrics speak to the current
moment despite having been completed, in most cases, years ago, as is the gift of second sight
given to many an artist willing to be receptive to the muse.
Thien boldly declares her sense of purpose on the acoustic driven roots rock opener ‘Shoulda
Been’, shrugging off any notion of not meeting anyone’s expectations by being the strong woman
she is, punctuating her point with sharp slide guitar stabs (including a rare slide bass solo). Next,
she implores us to embrace the power of positive thinking on the easy swinging ‘Sweet Lost and
Found’, backed by Tank and Jelly in the choir. The bump and grind blues ‘After I Left Home’,
plays out as a mini soundtrack for the memoir “When I Left Home” from Buddy Guy, whom Thien
credits for the inspiration and subsequent dedication to one of her real life mentors and hero,
with Neilson putting his keen familiarity with the Chicago Bluesman to great use on his blazing
and inimitable guitar solo. A playful Bo Diddley beat from Alexander fuels the feel-good anthem
‘Say It Out Loud’ with Tank and Jelly adding New Orleans spirit along-side Raul Midón’s
confidence-inspiring solo. On the gritty blues rocker ‘I Gotta Man’, Thien trades guitar solos with
Neilson as her seductive vocals speak of yearning in her restless heart.
The collaboration with Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter and guitarist, Raul Midón, leads
Thien to push herself further as an artist. She sings in Spanish for the first time on the lovely
Latin Blues-Mambo ‘Montañas’ that features fine piano work from Fabian Almazan and South
American guitars by John Benthal to accompany her enchanting vocals. The legendary Doug
MacLeod sits in on resonator guitar for the Delta blues sermon ‘Better or You're Gonna Get
Burned’, with Nashville ace studio drummer Wes Little dropping in a hill country blues parade
march, propelling the much-needed message forward. Thien and company close with the Leon
Russell’s soul blues classic ‘I'd Rather Be Blind’, first recorded by Freddie King in 1972, proving
yet again that the power of love is a universal theme that knows no boundaries

Publicist & Radio: Betsie Brown, Blind Raccoon, betsie@blindraccoon.com

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