The day I almost talked to Kristin Hersh: A tale of muses and non-courage
In the summer of 1991, I was doing a work experience placement in New Orleans for my Business studies. The city had a great venue for indie bands, the Tipitina's. It is still going strong today.
At the time I was, among others, a fan of the 4AD artists. The Throwing Muses were one of them, and I followed the band from the onset. You can find a quick overview of the Throwing Muses career and their 8 albums from 1986 to 2013 HERE
They happened to be playing at the Tipitina's at that time, touring to promote their album “the real Ramona”. I recommend you listen to it if when you have a chance.
Saving some of my student allowances to buy the ticket, I managed to get there a bit ahead of schedule. As a result, the venue was almost empty.
It was the opportunity to walk around and take everything in: sight, sounds, smells, looking at the few people there. The scene was set, the instruments ready, the balance was done. Almost alone on the floor, a beer in the hand: life was good!
It went even better when I saw that girl in front of the scene, looking at it, with big blue eyes, the look of someone not really believing to be there.
She stayed there for a while and I really wanted to go and say hello. She looked way cooler than I did, and I could not manage to overcome my natural shyness just to say hello. It was difficult for me to break the ice in French, so the confidence was even less that it could be done in English.
She was there for a while looking around. Time (and another beer) did not increase my courage level. Then she walked away while I stayed there waiting for the supporting act (cannot remember their name).
I saw her again in the crowd during the first part of the concert further in the crowd.
When the supporting act finished, after coming back from the bar with a big soda (I was driving and 2 beers were enough), I saw her talking in front of the scene, and she then casually stepped onto it, grabbing one of the guitars and started tuning it. It was Kristin Hersh!
Needless to say, this concert had something special apart from the beautiful music great performance and endearing venue: it was the day I almost talked to Kristin Hersh, one of my favourite artists.
I still cherish this memory to this day and have used it many a time, for myself and others, as an example of a "carpe diem" miss. You never know where and when life lessons come to you. This was one of them.
This and many other things (and people) later helped to curtail a bit the shyness and enjoy the moment better.
Some of the songs played that night:
As for Kristin Hersh, she released 8 solo album so far, the latest one being the beautiful “Wyatt at the Coyote Palace”. All her musical work (solo, Throwing Muses, 50footwave) is nicely detailed on her website https://www.kristinhersh.com
Regarding this latest album, Her son, Wyatt, was fascinated with an abandoned apartment building behind the studio inhabited by coyotes, hence the title. Kristin plays all instruments on this 24-track opus, including guitar, bass, drums, piano, horns, cello and even field recordings. About the songs in the LP she explains:
"The stories are all true. They happened over the last few decades. The songs were written in the last five years. They're true, too, in a much more oblique way, but it's always felt to me that songs were pushing my life around so they could be born: I live the stories and then the song lives. Very much like children. A baby isn't born because you got pregnant, you got pregnant because a baby was going to be born."
While writing this article, I realised that Kristin Hersh will be doing a concert very soon in Dublin ... and that I would not be able to attend, being away. Damn!
Hopefully, another time. I may even get the courage to go and talk to her. I waited 26 years, what are another few!