Songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Kristin Andreassen has traveled the world with stringband sensation Uncle Earl, set hearts to flutter as one third of the folk-noir trio Sometymes Why, and invigorated audiences as a featured dancer with the Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble. Along the way, she’s performed and recorded alongside such maverick talents as John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin), Dirk Powell (Joan Baez, Cold Mountain), Sufjan Stevens, Aoife O’Donovan, Black Prairie and New York anti-folk icon Jeffrey Lewis. Her first solo album, Kiss Me Hello, was quietly released but made fast friends with those who stumbled upon it, including Garrison Keillor of NPR’s A Prairie Home Companion. The album kicks off with the John Lennon Song Contest Grand Prize-winning “Crayola Doesn’t Make a Color for Your Eyes,” which has been covered by over 100 diverse artists, including Tyne Daly and more than one high school marching band.
Andreassen’s new release, Gondolier, represents a new direction and focus, including the first time she’ll be touring behind a solo release. It draws upon those varied musical experiences in service of her captivating gifts as a songwriter and vocalist. Existing at the intersection of traditional music and inquisitive indie-folk, Gondolier is a richly evocative, sumptuously arranged collection of songs and performances that find hope in the midst of life’s trials, new meaning in old truths, and inventive uses for timeless sounds and textures. Beds of circular finger-picked figures blur the boundary between organic and mechanical; wood-toned clarinets give the sensation of breath; percussion alternately laps like waves and rolls like thunder. While every element is identifiable, the ensembles are arrayed and arranged in intriguing, counter-intuitive ways that beautifully illuminate Andreassen’s insightful, compelling, and tuneful observations.
Featured musicians and vocalists include Aoife O’Donovan, Ruth Ungar Merenda, Chris Eldridge & Paul Kowert (Punch Brothers), Robin MacMillan, Jacob Silver, Lawson White, Tony Maimone, Jefferson Hamer, Alec Spiegelman, Cassandra Jenkins, Stephanie Coleman and Frank Locrasto.