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Here Comes the Light

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Album Review

Kansas City singer/songwriter Kristie Stremel has bounced around in various kinds of pop bands and worked on reasonably successful acoustic projects, but her second album gives you the definite feeling that rough, muscular country-rock is where she's always wanted to be, and now that she's there, you get the sense that she can barely contain her glee. Because no matter how heartbroken or bitter the lyrics (and frankly, they're not ever really that heartbroken or bitter), there's a completely infectious power and joy to her sound, and even when you wish the melodies would soar just a bit more, there's really no way to resist Stremel's sheer charisma. On her best and hookiest songs, like "Sweet Marie," that charisma feels like an enjoyable punch in the stomach. On her next to best ones, like the slightly more maudlin "Here Comes the Light" and a nice singalong called "Shimmer and Glow," she gets by on energy, strong lyrics, and exceptional accompaniment (check out that lead guitar work on "Here Comes the Light"). And when she covers Paul Westerberg, she infuses his laconic and fatalistic ruminations on romantic disappointment with a thoroughly charming cowpunk intensity. Stremel is one of those artists whose studio albums make you suspect you're missing most of the show by not catching her in a sweaty club somewhere, but this one is still a good place to start getting to know her.


Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s

Singer/songwriter Kristie Stremel hails from the town of Hays, KS, and originally got into music via playing Johnny Cash songs with her father (who played guitar), as well as being inspired after catching a local Joan Jett concert. Shortly thereafter, at the age of 15, Stremel formed her first garage band. After relocating to Kansas City, Stremel began playing solo acoustic sets that consisted of half originals and half covers. She was invited to join alt-rockers Frogpond in the late '90s, contributing...
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Here Comes the Light, Kristie Stremel
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