Murder, Misery And Then Goodnight
By: Eric G.
The new Kristin Hersh album is available only through on-line ordering, partly because it's an album of covers and partly to explore a new method of reaching fans. Hersh also has an on-line subscription available at her site (http://www.throwingmusic.com), which allows the listeners to pay a yearly fee to receive a new mp3 quality recording every month. The purpose is to present songs in their formative stages, so that the listener can be a part of the songwriting process by offering suggestions and comments. Hersh claims that she has always wished she could just mail her music to people who wanted it, and this is the next best thing.
Murder, Misery And Then Goodnight is a collection of traditional folk songs that Hersh learned from her parents in Chattanooga, Tennessee where she spent her early years before being transplanted to the north east. She recorded and compiled these songs as a gift to her two children, but it turned out to be something Hersh felt her fans would appreciate since the material is pretty evil- not exactly the type of stuff to play for children. The people in these songs die horrible deaths, and Hersh revels in the seedy underbelly of it all with a never before heard twang in her voice that she claims only surfaces when she sings these particular songs.
Since the Throwing Muses officially called it quits, Hersh has explored her acoustic side- a direction she dabbled in briefly on her first solo album, Hips And Makers, in 1994. Her second solo album, Strange Angels, showcased the too-close-for-comfort ferocity of Hersh's maniacal voice in a bare bones atmosphere. The result is a lush, yet unnerving collection of emotional snippets that Hersh sings with every demon she can muster. Murder, Misery And Then Goodnight is a pleasant side step between albums (her rendition of "Whole Heap Of Little Horses" is truly beautiful and haunting). The songs are vaguely familiar, and Hersh gives them her own touch with help from her husband and children on back-up vocals.