Kirsten Thien – Two Sides

Album Review | Screen Door Records | Review by Allan Wilkinson | Stars: 4/5

New York-based singer and musician Kirsten Thien has taken an unusual route in order to follow her passion, by swapping Wall Street for Beale Street, as the Georgetown University Business School graduate straps on her axe and follows her muse, becoming a credible performer with a natural feel for the Blues.  Her fifth album is released on vinyl, giving us two sides to think about, which opens with the storming powerhouse of “Shoulda Been”, with a confident vocal and some sneering slide guitar.  Conversely, “Sweet Lost and Found” has all the ingredients of a radio friendly pop hit, immediately demonstrating the two sides we find in Thien’s music. 

The Buddy Guy influenced “After I Left Home” references John Lee Hooker and features a scorching guitar solo courtesy of Arthur Neilson and a down and dirty vocal performance from this gutsy songbird.  If “Montañas” sounds a little out of place here, Thien’s Spanish delivery deserves a place all its own, a potential second career perhaps as a convincing fiery Latin songstress, with all the ‘r’s rolled in all the right places.  The album concludes with an overdue reading of Leon Russell’s soulful “I’d Rather Be Blind”, completing a rather complete album, with rather more than merely two sides.

Choice Track: Sweet Lost and Found (NSV 510)