Skip to Content Skip to Navigation

Maren Christensen: Press

Maren Christensen: Finally Red

This album provides an interesting story about a reclaimed life. The entire album speaks to self-discovery and an appreciation of a renewed sense of purpose. It’s clear that this album  is not a big production, but the songs are well played and the lyrics are sincere. There is a tongue in cheek sense of reality you get from reading the lyrics and listening to the “really big small band” that accompanies Maren Christensen on the tracks.

There are definitely some toe tappers here, but the majority of the songs are wistful and reflective on the life and loves we all live and die for.

Maren Christensen started playing guitar at age 10 and set out across her native Seattle as an old-school folk troubadour. After studying law for a spell, she surrendered to her love for music and relocated to Missoula, Mont.—a hotbed for independent music and the arts—where she has released third album “Finally Red,” which the singer/songwriter brands as “21st Century folk with a world groove.” Joined by The Really Big Small Band, comprising accordionist Laura Hibbs, percussionist Caleb Van Gelder and Pete Hand on double bass and electric bass, the 14-track collection is a vital showcase for the enduring genre, with a collaborative spirit between the ensemble that meshes as organically as the sky and clouds. Album opener “Who Knew” is representative of the disc, with a calming, regenerative bent. “You Took Me Down Hard” is among the best of the bunch, an anthemic tome of anguish, as Christensen sings, “Whole world is spinning I can’t find solid ground, Send me an angel to help me steady myself.” The bouncy “Live in the World” is a grand display of the act’s musicality, with an adept guitar solo and nicely blended harmonies; while “Sweet In My Body” adds a funk vibe, sounding like a live jam session where you can see the group nodding in unison—and the audience doing the same. “The Mindfulness of the Kiss” is an effective expression of sensuality, as she slowly, deliberately emanates the lyric: “Nourish me with your breath against my skin, I take you in/I give myself to this kiss.” Christensen is fortunate to know her strengths and with the Really Big Small Band, she delivers a delicate—but impressionable—performance throughout “Finally Red.” Fans of Mary Chapin Carpenter and Natalie Merchant will be particularly enthralled, as folkies of all types will commend the spirit within Christensen.

Cortney Harding - Billboard Discoveries (Jul, 2010)

WOW! What a feat. Your music, voice, band and the entire CD packet is over the top-top notch, beautifully done, quite impressive. Are you ready for lots of national acclaim? Here is to your success....May they fall at your feet. Love: #1, #2, #9, # 10, #13, #14 >The dogs, especially Tubman >The cover, the paper and photos >The cute guy with you >All the musicians

Catriona McHardy - Vermont Folk Music Critic (Mar 19, 2010)

Thanks for the great show Saturday night! That was great to hear you live, finally for me. I am so proud of what you accomplished and really was moved by some of your lyrics. Congratulations on such a successful release! Thanks again for a special evening! Fondly, Gary B

Gary Bowman, Morgenroth Music, Missoula, MT - From a Fan (Mar 17, 2010)