“Kristi Jean’s badass Western swing pays homage to the feminist pioneers who paved the way. And charm? Kristi Jean has tons of it.”
— Rachel Cholst (Adobe and Teardrops)
“Kristi Jean transports yet another crowd back to the smoky, sweaty dance halls of the Lone Star State many moons ago..”
— Serge Bielanko, the band “Marah”
Greyson County Texas is bordered by the Red River to the north, just a stone’s throw from Oklahoma. Along the southern border of Greyson, among the tallgrass prairie and clay soil, is the small town of Howe. When Kristi was raised in Howe, there were more churches than stoplights, families gathered on the porch to watch tornados form and dissipate in the east, and country music was the social currency. Like it or not (and Kristi did), country music permeated the radio, the TV and the table-side jukeboxes in the town’s only diner. As much as Kristi would musically reach towards rock and roll music, her roots were firmly planted in the traditional country music of her North Texas home.
Kristi’s songwriting reflects the long highways, lonely drives, love of family and landing at home that she learned from both small-town living and traveling the west singing in barrooms, honky-tonks and bowling alleys. Along with her songwriting partner, Steve Branstetter, Kristi sticks to telling true (or mostly true) stories while letting inspiration, rather than genre, take the lead. Thus, Kristi’s music touches on elements of Bob Wills’ Texas Swing , Jerry Reed’s truck driving rockabilly/county, and Lucinda William’s blend of gritty country and blues.
Naturally shy, Kristi long struggled to gain the confidence to let her voice as a songwriter emerge, being far more comfortable to let her singing voice take center stage. For many years, Kristi and her bands performed only cover songs, keeping her original music largely to herself. But with her forthcoming album, with the working title “West End of Pearl,” Kristi and Steve open a trove of new original musical stories. The songs range from cheeky stories of traveling bands, and truck-driving ladies, to heartfelt stories of friendship emerging from lonely places and the regret of saying words that should never have been said.
Beyond the songwriting and stories, “West End of Pearl” will feature Kristi’s loyal band, her Ne’er-Do-Wells, in addition to exciting special guests who will be named publicly SOON (pending permission from their record labels). Kristi has also partnered with recording engineer, producer, and Haggard-loving Roy Long of RAL Productions for the recoding of the album.
With a late fall 2022 release, Kristi is currently working on finalizing the album, shooting videos to support the first two singles, and will be playing acoustic shows and shows with the full band – featuring the new material and her stylized covers of Patsy Cline, Hank Williams, and a range of Kristi’s favorite artists and writers.