Screen Door Records
Born in Germany, and educated at Georgetown University, Kirsten Thien writes and sings her own songs. She released her debut album “She Really Is” in 2002 and her follow-up “You’ve Got Me” in 2005.
After relocating to New York City Thien released 2012’s “Delicious” with bassist/producer Erik Boyd. On that highly acclaimed studio album Thien sang like a temptress as she wrenched the emotions from within her lyrics. Thien found work touring as a solo artist and in 2013 released, “Live from the Meisenfrei Blues Club”, recorded in Breman Germany.
“Two Sides” once again casts Thien as bandleader and re-unites her with many of the same musicians who appeared on “Delicious”. Returning in support of vocalist/guitarist Thien are the core band of Arthur Neilson, lead, rhythm and slide guitars; Tommy Mandel, piano, organ and Clavinet; Producer Boyd, bass; and Steve Holley, drums. Special guests include the Blues Music Award winning acoustic guitarist Doug MacLeod; the Grammy nominated Latin jazz guitarist Raul Midon; Cuban born jazz pianist Fabian Almazan; Puerto Rican Cuatro guitarist John Benthal; drummer/percussionist Alex Alexander; drummer Wes Little, and New Orleans backing vocalists Tarriona Tank Bell and Anjelika “Jelly” Joseph. Seven of the eight tracks are written or co-written by Thien.
The core band opens with “Shoulda Been” as Thien sings “but I’m not”; she plays acoustic slide guitar and solos before Neilson takes one of his own. On the swinging “Sweet Lost And Found” co-written with Boyd, Thien’s vocal is beautiful as the backing singers, Ball and Joseph, complete the production.
Thien and Boyd team up again on “After I Left Home” a blues inspired by Buddy Guy’s “When I Left Home” recorded by Guy in 1979; Neilson takes an extended Buddy Guy type solo. Thien’s Bo Diddley styled “Say It Out Loud” is a great piece of songwriting with some big beats courtesy of Alexander, a jazzy acoustic solo from Midon, and the backing singers. These great performances are among my favorites.
“I Gotta Man” features the lyric “he’s everything, I could ask for, still I’m always wanting more, well I know I should stay here, so tell me why I’m walkin’ out the door”; Thien takes the first lead guitar solo, while Neilson takes the second. “Montanas” is another original, a Bossa Nova featuring Thien singing in Spanish, with some Latin guitar from Midon and Benthal, and some beautiful piano from Almazan; this is an amazing performance.
“Better or You’re Gonna Get Burned” features MacLeod on a Resonator guitar, and Midon on an acoustic with Wes Little added on drums. The only cover is Thien’s rollicking version of Leon Russell’s “I’d Rather Be Blind, then to see you go”, first recorded by Freddie King in 1972. These are two more fine performances.
This highly recommended album showcases Thien as a seasoned professional as she easily glides from blues, to rock, to soul-jazz. We look forward to more coming from the talented Kirsten Thien.