I had the good fortune to find out about Krystle Warren’s under-the-radar performance in Kansas City last week. Though a Kansas City native, Warren moved to New York, then Paris, and has been touring the world, making her hometown appearances far too few and far between. The last time I saw her perform was at the RecordBar about three years ago and the place was packed with family, friends and admirers. Her next performance (finding out too late, I arrived during the final applause) was at a house party of friends, an intimate affair in the packed living room of one of KC’s typical craftsman-style Midtown houses.
Warren took the intimacy a step further with another packed performance – roughly twenty attendees/friends jammed into Birdie’s Panties, a lingerie and swimwear boutique located in the funky little block of 18th and Wyandotte in the Crossroads district. Co-owners Peregrine Honig and Danielle Meister expanded their retail space a few years ago, cutting into the empty shop next door and building two dressing rooms. Done up in an elegantly Moorish feminine style, the dressing room curtains pull back to reveal a small stage about three by five feet. About a year ago, this space became the Bee Stage and the owners have hosted roughly 6 or 7 incredibly moving performances from flamenco dancers to opera singers to jazz saxophonists to classical guitarists.
Amongst friends, Warren performed primarily solo with a borrowed guitar, accompanied on a few tunes by (evil-for-good musical mastermind) Brad Cox on accordion. She sang many of her standard tunes, along with some new ones that were recorded last February for her new album “A Time to Keep – Love Songs.” The EP will be released online August 8th, with the new album – actually, an ambitious double album – coming out later in the fall. Cox was the arranger for the project, which was recorded live in New York and produced by Warren.
Here’s a video:
As you can tell from the snippets in the video, Warren has a unique voice, both physically and in the music she’s making. She draws from sources as varied as the Beatles and Bob Dorough of “Schoolhouse Rock.” Her lyrics twist and her melodic lines are carefully nuanced; her music is at once timelessly familiar and startlingly arresting. Seeing her perform live is a gift, as she draws out new takes on old tunes. She’s funny, humble, quirky and immensely talented. I am, I’ll admit, a little bit in love.