Hi, I'm Kristin. I’m a songwriter, a dancer, and a community builder.
This year, I released two albums. The Bright Siders: A Mind of Your Own was ten years in the making, and I couldn't be more proud of the music and the message within. Featuring an all-star cast of guest singers (The War & Treaty, Ed Helms, Gaby Moreno, Punch Brothers, Kaia Kater, Oh Pep!, and more...) and released on the Smithsonian Folkways label, this music will hopefully reach every pair of ears that is wisely listening for empowering ways to talk about mental health with their kids and their grownups. I recommend finding the CD or vinyl version for illustrations and liner notes including "Try this at home..." parenting tips from my brilliant co-creator, child psychiatrist Dr. Kari Groff.
My other new release was two days in the making, and I love it just as much in its own way. Jefferson Hamer, Lauren Balthrop, Lawson White and I set up some gear in my neighbors’ garage and when the recordings were done, we called ourselves – and the album – JKLOL.
Over the years, I’ve made two solo albums (Kiss Me Hello and Gondolier), I've toured with several bands (including the old time stringband Uncle Earl and the “folk noir” songwriting trio Sometymes Why) and I've performed traditional dance and created new work with two projects (Maryland's Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble and the Nashville-based music and dance piece Shift).
I’m humbled to have toured, recorded, written and otherwise collaborated with luminous artists such as John Paul Jones, Dirk Powell, Jeffrey Lewis, Caitlin Canty, Noam Pikelny, Julian Lage & Chris Eldridge, Anna Roberts-Gevalt, Becky Hill, Mipso, Dawn Landes, Michaela Anne, Molly Tuttle, and my dear bandmates Aoife O’Donovan, Ruth Ungar, Abigail Washburn, Rayna Gellert and KC Groves. My songs have been heard in TV and film scores, and my dancing feet have been heard in films as well as this collection of Woody Guthrie songs and this Grammy-nominated album of fiddle tunes written my one of my biggest heroes, the late John Hartford. My song "Crayola Doesn't Make a Color for Your Eyes" has turned up in surprising places, from NPR's A Prairie Home Companion to Tyne Daly's wonderful off-Broadway solo cabaret to half-time performances by several high school choirs and marching bands.
I grew up in Portland, Oregon. I took the long road to Nashville, living for some years each in the communities of Montreal, Cape Breton Island, Nunavut, Maryland, and Brooklyn, each of which taught me something I couldn't have learned anywhere else.
As a true believer in the power of music to create human connection and change lives, I gave much of the past ten years to building Miles of Music Camp, an inclusive all-ages creativity retreat which I co-founded with the brilliant fiddler and songwriter Laura Cortese. We're now tentatively planning for a return to a full capacity event in 2022.
I spent my pandemic managing a small construction company in Tennessee, working hard to keep myself and my people safe, and dreaming about teaching a big room full of beginner square dancers how to do a Grand Chain.
HERE'S WHAT SOME [ NICE ] CRITICS HAVE SAID:
– The New Yorker
"Sublime. Like a watercolor painting set to music."
– The Boston Globe
"At once familiar and completely original. Her melodies seem to flow from a primeval stream."
– Dawn Landes
“Heartfelt sensitivity gave way to the most wonderful, brilliantly phrased tap dance solo.”
–The Herald Scotsman (Glasgow)
“Gondolier is a beautiful piece of art.”
– Sirius XM
Thank you! – Kristin