Grammy winning artist, Carrie Newcomer writes, 'Krista Detor is one of the finest singer/songwriters I’ve run across in years… with a voice that could sing the phone book and make it sound beautiful and compelling'.
Krista Detor began her performing career playing the wedding and cocktail party circuit as a sixteen year old in Los Angeles. While running at breakneck speed from the onset of adulthood – hiding out in Louisiana shotgun shacks, a flat in Seoul, a travel trailer, thirteen different apartments and one haunted house – she’s managed to live and perform all over the U.S. and parts of Asia. Around the turn of the century, she inexplicably found herself in the Midwest and fell in love with the rolling green hills of Southern Indiana. Beautiful Bloomington, Indiana, to be precise, where she now lives and records.
With the release of Mudshow her second CD Krista began to reach new levels of critical acclaim in the U.S. and Europe where Mudshow had reached the number one position in the Euro Americana chart.
Musical styles and influences abound in her writing and she displays a versatility that is hard to categorize. A poetic and sought-after lyricist, Krista’s songs are vignettes, telling stories of time and experience. Her quiet musical intensity has been compared to that of Leonard Cohen and Laura Nyro. She’s more than humbled by the comparisons – but Krista tends to shy away from discussion of inspiration and influence: We’re all constantly absorbing the physical and social landscapes. We process mountains of information every day… how could anyone single out one inspiration, one influence? There isn’t ever just one. My biggest influence is every word I’ve ever read, every melody I’ve ever heard… and Leonard Cohen.
Mudshow, like her first album ' A Dream in a Cornfield', was a collaboration with producer/recording engineer & musician David Weber. “We wrote a little bit together too, which is a slower process, but a very rewarding one. When someone else comes along with a different way of looking at a piece, the possibilities are limitless if the collaboration works its different right down to the very basics. He writes on guitar, I write on piano, and guitarists and keyboard players write in completely different ways. So I always see it as an opportunity for expansion”.
Like many musicians Detor is puzzled about how to describe her music to those who want or need the musical shorthand. It’s almost a lose-lose situation. Sometimes people want to say ‘Americana’ but as soon as you say that, you’re pigeonholed. She explains, ‘singer-songwriter is so ambiguous. I have been called everything from straight-up rock to straight-up country, to new folk, new country, and finally alternative country. ‘Leonard Cohen meets Joni Mitchell’, she laughs, I kind of like that one’.
How to describe her work then? Perhaps Crossroads Gold Star award winner, Slats Klug, says it best: “Like a voyeur peeking into our homes, relationships, myths and the dark night of our souls, Detor has left the truth bundled at our doorstep and rung the bell. “
Krista's album ‘Cover Their Eyes’ spans an era and style, incorporating the musical influence of some of the places in which Krista has lived and travelled – South America, the Midwest and Europe. All distinct in their own way, these regional and cultural influences are woven together in a continuous pattern of sound and story.
In 2007, she completed the collaborative CD and stage show ‘Wilderness Plots’ with Grammy-winning songwriter Carrie Newcomer, as well as Tim Grimm and a small group of talented Indiana based songwriters. This limited release album and the stage show itself received rave reviews. A song from this show ‘More Than I Dare Say’ is included in the CoraZong compilation album ‘The Fine Art of Music’. The work itself is based upon the book by noted author Scott Russell Sanders.
In March 2009 Krista was chosen to be a part of the Darwin Songhouse a group of writers challenged with creating new songs that had a ‘resonance and relevance to Darwin’. For seven days in a farmhouse in Darwin’s hometown of Shrewsbury in Shropshire, Krista, with songwriters Chris Wood, Karine Polwart, Jez Lowe, Mark Erelli, Emily Smith, Rachael McShane and Stu Hanna worked intensely to create songs to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin.
Krista Detor’s CD ‘Chocolate Paper Suites’ is a beautiful album presented via a series of music suites. Each suite is connected by theme and imagery inspired by the works of Federico Garcia Lorca, Dylan Thomas & Charles Darwin among other thinkers, artists and experiences.
The Suites: 1. Oranges Fall Like Rain 2. Night Light 3. Madness of Love 4. By Any Other Name 5. Darwin Songhouse Suite
Guest artists contributing to ‘Chocolate Paper Suites’ include Colin Linden, Moira Smiley, Mark Erelli, Malcolm Dalglish, Jason Wilbur, David Weber, Dena Al-Safaar, Karine Polwart, Chris Wood, and a host of other talented players.
FLAT EARTH DIARY is Krista Detor’s 5th solo release and her first album in 4 years, featuring none other than genius bassist, Victor Wooten.
FLAT EARTH DIARY was born in the North Channel of Lake Huron, on a chance trip Krista took with some friends and several bottles of red wine. She’d had a handful of songs that were album-worthy, but in four years, couldn’t manage to find the unifying thread, or the pieces that would fill in the blanks – missing continents on a map, if you will. As she sat on the water, with no land in sight, it occurred her that we humans are unbelievably adaptable:
“Not long ago, we were certain that the Earth was flat and that the oceans poured off the edge into the abyss of dark space. Now, we accept as readily the notion that the Earth is round. We’ve all seen the photos, haven’t we? So the question for me became, in that moment, ‘is perception reality?’
There, looking at the endless horizon of water, memories of my childhood began bubbling up - of warm ginger ale in a can; the hand-painted wedding portrait of my parents with the too-pink lips and bright blue eyes; sneaking out in the middle of the night to drive fast; my uncle’s tapestry of the dogs playing poker; my grandmother’s hat with the black feather pIumes… and the most personal album of my career opened its eyes.”
Finally, out on the boat, so far from technology and civilization, came the name and title track, as Krista chose to believe that that her favourite author, Terry Pratchett, more than likely has it right: The Earth is a disc and the water pours off into pools of stars; that things are never as bad as we imagine they are, and that in the beginning, there was nothing. Which exploded!
The album includes the return of some amazing musicians and brand new ones – Jason Wilber of the John Prine band, Dena El-Saffar and Tim Moore of Salaam, and David Weber returns as producer and collaborator, with guest production by Rod Taylor. “I could call this album the ‘bass album’,” says Detor, “because strangely enough, including Rod, I’ve brought on board an array of great bass players - Steve Mascari, Mike Lindauer, Frank Smith, and one of the finest bass players and musicians that will ever walk planet Earth - Victor Wooten.” Krista introduces Ariel Horowitz, who’s studying with Itzhak Perlman at Juilliard, and is a “17-year-old bad ass,” as well as the brilliant vocalist Amanda Biggs - along with Joe Crookston and countless wonderful singers, players and contributors.
So what has she been doing for the past four years, you ask? She’s been to Stanford University several times, as part of the Writing and Rhetoric program and as a panel member in a symposium on Arts & Sustainability. She’s produced benefit events for education, animal welfare, sustainability, and this year, for Volunteers in Medicine. In four years, She’s traveled across the world and written roughly 50 compositions, including travel to India to collaborate with students at the American Embassy School on the musical theatre piece, If You Ever Leave; and collaboration on the musical theatre piece, The Breeze Bends the Grass - celebrating the lives of four women artists at the turn of the 20th century.
Flat Earth Diary Tightrope 255113 January 14, 2014
Chocolate Paper Suites Tightrope 255102 March 15, 2010
Cover Their Eyes Corazong 255102 October 12, 2007
The Silver Wood Tightrope TR1107 November 1, 2007
Mudshow Corazong 255087 May 5, 2006
A Dream In A Cornfield Tightrope KD0130 March 14, 2003
The Darwin Project - Shrewsbury Folk Festival SFFCD 001 August 31 2008