KRIS DELMHORST KICKSTARTS “BLOOD TEST”

Six years have passed since singer-songwriter Kris Delmhorst put out a record of original songs. In the meantime, she did deliver a terrific record of The Cars covers, which we covered on The Buzz About in 2011: www.thebuzzabout.com/reviews/archives-albums/389-kris-delmhorst-cars, as well as her first child, with husband and wonderful songwriter in his own right, Jeffrey Foucault. 2008’s Shotgun Singer was Delmhorst at the top of her game: an immensely satisfying record to listen to on a loop, composed of songs which somehow manage to be both sonically pleasing and oftentimes somberly written. Songs from that project like “To The Wire” and “Blue Adeline” have not yet lost an ounce of their intrigue, at least not in my listening experience. But as much as Shotgun Singer is still relevant and moving and important today, as much as it still reveals different parts of itself to me as I grow older with it, I think it’s safe to say that many of us Kris Delmhorst fans were and are eager for a new record. And luckily for us, we need not wait too much longer.

    On a recently-launched Kickstarter project (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/388013493/kris-delmhorsts-new-album-blood-test), Delmhorst revealed she had recorded and mastered a new record, Blood Test, which is due out this spring. The Kickstarter campaign offers a variety of opportunities for fans to get involved in funding, at various levels, everything that launching a new record entails. At the ground level, it’s a chance to pre-order the record (and it’ll be on vinyl, y’all!), but highest pledgers can even have Delmhorst perform a house concert in their home should they seek to get further involved in funding Blood Test.

    I feel privileged (and vaguely boastful) to report that I’ve had a chance to listen to Blood Test—and just this week the great opportunity to nervously chat with Kris over the phone while stuck in Austin’s notorious I-35 traffic—and, for my money, Kris Delmhorst has set the bar even higher for herself and for her peers with this record. The songwriting is simply exquisite and accomplished, at all times spare, lush, somber, hopeful, peaceful. It’s rare that a record comes along without one sleeper, usually toward the end of the tracklist, but that is not at all the case here. From start to finish, this is Kris Delmhorst’s best record yet. Songs that stick out for me especially are the heartknotting “My Ohio,” as good a song about yearning as you’ll ever hear, and “92nd Street,” a song with perhaps my favorite (and naughtiest) line on the record: “Lying in your room all day/jasmine tea and dirty movies.” In the chorus to that song, the speaker’s lover promises, “There ain’t no real mistakes,” and you want to believe it more than you possibly can. This is what Delmhorst captures better than any songwriter in the game: the duality of emotion, how we are never just one thing in any given moment. The beauty and comfort in despondency, the inherent fear in joy, the unspoken hesitation in acts or proclamations of confidence—Kris Delmhorst’s songs manage to cover that difficult terrain, putting the microscope on the complexities of human behavior: what we do to one another, what we do to ourselves, and what we do with what we are given.

    I’m sure I couldn’t articulate any of this nearly as well in my conversation with Kris (a thought predicated on the notion that I articulated it well here to begin with!), who spoke so wonderfully about how exciting it is to see and be in contact with her supporters and also how “awkward” the crowdfunding endeavor can sometimes feel. “It’s nice to talk to people,” Kris says. “There’s been so much communication in the last few weeks since I started [the campaign] and it reminds you that, even though it’s been a while, people are still there and still willing to support.”

    And supportive they are. At the time of this writing, the project is approaching full-funding, and there’s still nearly two weeks left to get involved. If you do, I can assure you this: Blood Test is a record worth waiting for, worth being a part of bringing out to the world, and worth listening to over, and over, and over again.

Comments (3)
  Share/Save/Bookmark

+ 116
+ 0