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Produced by Kirsten Maxwell and Fred Guarino
Joni Mitchell and Gordon Lightfoot had a love child, raised with the help of godmothers Judy Collins and Maria Muldaur. Surely this is how singer/songwriter Kirsten Maxwell got her start. A listen to her voice and turn-of-phrase/lyrics, and these luminaries will be brought to mind. All songs on Crimson are original compositions. The first standout element of this recording is the purity of Kirsten’s voice. Sweet, with a presence and intimacy rarely found in today’s crop of American Idol-type singers trying to best each other within the same narrow singing criteria. Kirsten, on the other hand, seems confident and sure of her own lyrical style which, while reminiscent of some of the greats, is clearly and distinctively her own. Expressive, and beautifully ornamented vocal phrases never sacrifice a melodic line for vocal gymnastics or showmanship for the sake of showmanship. And the melodies are indeed beautiful. Especially noteworthy are “All I Am,” which exquisitely showcases her musicality, “Goodbye”, and the relationship epic/ anthem “We Always Miss.” The very last, titular song “Crimson” holds a tenderness and poetic baring of the soul; a poignancy and universal sadness over the relationship which seems meant to be yet never seems able to be. On it Kirsten relinquishes her excellent backup musicians, and even her sweet soprano for an earthier alto, which, with her own simple guitar accompaniment, accentuates the beautiful, intense and intimate relationship with her audience. Her backup musicians include Mark Newman (Guitar, Dobro, Lap Steel and Mandolin), Shawn Murray (Drums) Don Celenza (Electric Bass), Bill Heller (Piano), Mike Hall (Upright Bass), Mauro Refosco (Percussion) and Sierra Knotts (Violin). A highly recommended, beautiful debut album from an artist to watch!