Wyatt at the Coyote Palace is the latest release from solo singer/songwriter Kristin Hersh. Not your typical album, the CD comes with a book that contains essays, lyrics and prose pieces. Kristin is best known as being a member of the seminal rock group Throwing Muses. However, in recent years she has become a celebrated author, releasing two memoirs (Paradoxical Undressing and Don’t Suck, Don’t Die) as well as a previous album/book of essays called Crooked.
Kristin is in Edinburgh this evening to give a special spoken word and musical performance in the Dissection Room of Summerhall. It is an intimate venue and tickets sold out several weeks in advance. With no support, the singer takes to the stage soon after the doors open and is greeted with a loud and emphatic round of applause. After she takes her seat and picks up her guitar, you can almost hear a pin drop. As soon as distinctive hushed, raspy tones escape from her lips, the audience is transfixed and taken into a world of confessional song writing, folk/blues melodies and vivid, brilliant lyrics. Classic songs such as Mississippi Kite, Your Ghost and Sno Cat have a haunting and magical feel and sit perfectly next to new tracks from Wyatt at the Coyote Palace.
It is obvious that this is a special evening and one which the audience will remember. The performer occasionally reads essays from her book/albums and from her memoir Don’t Suck, Don’t Die (which is a tribute to the late musician and her close personal friend Vic Chestnut). The spoken word elements add to the intimacy and tenderness of the performance and the flow between songs and words is seamless and natural. The gig is littered with little gems, whether they are heartfelt spoken pieces or brilliantly crafted songs. The evening is a pleasure to witness.
Tonight’s performance is part of the Nothing Ever Happens Here series of gigs at Summerhall. The strand tends to focuses on local acts, so it is nice to see an international artist take centre stage. With it being November and the year coming to a close, it is obvious that 2016 has been a great twelve months for live music in Edinburgh. Let’s hope that 2017 is just as varied and exciting.