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Kristin Andreassen
Kiss Me Hello

Kristin Andreassen Kiss Me Hello

Review By Steven Stone
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  Although better known as of the popular old-timey band Uncle Earl, Kristin Andreassen is also a more than passable songwriter. On Kiss Me Hello Andreassen explores her more contemporary swinging side, almost devoid of clawhammered banjos and modal mayhem.

Andreassen's performing career began not as a singer but as a clogger. For the uninitiated, clogging is a style of line dancing based on early folk styles and rhythms. Singing and songwriting came later. But her dancer's sense of rhythm is obvious from the very first cut of Kiss Me Hello. "Crayola Doesn't Make a Color For Your Eyes" creates modern music by combining simplistic lyrics with very sophisticated polyrhythms and organically textured orchestration. Andreassen's intentionally artifice-free singing style further deflects attention toward the song's rhythmic power. On "Hello Where Are You?" she takes a page out of hip-hop music by reusing the phrase "Hello, where are you?" so it becomes the main rhythmic motif for the song. The rest of the lyrics manage to effectively convey the way cell phones have wormed their way into modern life.

Producer Mark Schatz, who may be best known as Nickel Creek's bass player, was a savvy choice for the producer's job since he's also the musical director for Footworks, a professional dance group, and often teaches clogging at bluegrass camps. In Andreassen's words, "I knew he'd be game for my crazy clogger's approach." Recorded "in situ" at the funky old house where much of the material was originally written., the arrangements have an informal, just sittin' on the couch pickin' mood that serves the music well. A perhaps unintentional consequence of these simple recording methodologies is that the overall fidelity ranks much higher than I hear on many far more slickly produced CDs. Charming, fresh, and unpretentious, Kiss Me Hello should dance its way into your CD library.

 

 

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