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Her Crooked Heart opens Dryden Cabaret Series

Her Crooked Heart presents a debut record unique in form, made up of cyclical narratives and intertwining histories, each informing the next. The result is a transformative song cycle, led by a charismatic personality, wholly indifferent to expectations of genre and instrumentation.

Her Crooked Heart
Her Crroken Heart consisting of Siri Undllin (left), Rachel Ries, Adelyn Strei and Hilary James will perform Nov. 7 at Central Lakes College in Brainerd. Submitted Photo

Fueled by a lifetime of love, loss and leaving it all behind, Minneapolis singer/songwriter Rachel Ries will perform with her music group Her Crooked Heart Nov. 7 at Central Lakes College in Brainerd.

The 7:30 p.m. show debuts the Dryden Theatre Cabaret Series of events, a subset of the Central Lakes Community Performing Arts Center’s Cultural Arts Series.

Her Crooked Heart is the culmination of a journey Ries experienced and survived, according to a news release. In 2013, after two and a half years of marriage, Ries found herself touring a record around the world, accompanied by a stack of divorce papers in a pocket of her suitcase. She had left her marriage and a good man in New York City and leapt into the untethered unknown. What transpired was in turns euphoria and despondence; old lessons learned in new ways. The tangible result was an album, “To Love To Leave To Live.” Ries, the writer, multi-instrumentalist and producer behind Her Crooked Heart, demonstrates immense vulnerability and multifaceted musical craftsmanship in delivering personal and profound musical soliloquies on love, leaving and the life that follows after burning it all down, the news release stated.

Her Crooked Heart presents a debut record unique in form, made up of cyclical narratives and intertwining histories, each informing the next. The result is a transformative song cycle, led by a charismatic personality, wholly indifferent to expectations of genre and instrumentation.

The songs on “To Love To Leave To Live” are a compassionate and at times wry catalogue of those tumultuous years.

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With co-producer Shane Leonard, Ries enlisted several collaborators whom she’d met on the road; some while touring with Anaïs Mitchell: Brian Joseph, who worked with Sufjan Stevens, Paul Simon; Rob Moose, working with yMusic, Alabama Shakes; Mike Lewis, working with Bon Iver; Alec Spiegelman, working with Cuddle Magic; and Pat Keen, John DeHaven, Ben Lester and Rachel’s own siblings, it stated on the music group’s website.

To bring these songs and this record to the stage, Ries has enlisted a powerful group of women; women who can, in their way, take on the feminine, humanist mantle of Her Crooked Heart and make it their own: Siri Undlin, who has worked with Humbird; Adelyn Streiwho has worked with Adro; Hilary James, who has worked with We are the Willows and Bathtub Cig. The quartet blends classical and electric guitar; piano and vintage synths; cello, woodwinds and drum triggers. This merging of acoustic and synthetic sounds is all in service of the voice: four-part vocal harmonies that shift from ethereal to an elemental wail, always telling a story of transformation.

“I’m really pleased to bring Rachel and her group to the community,” Patrick Spradlin, series producer, stated. “They are traveling under a Minnesota State Arts Board Tour Grant, which means they’ll be in residence in Brainerd for the entire week prior to the show. They’ll be conducting outreach activities in local schools, the Center, long-term care facilities, and on our campus. Their impact will be much more lasting than a single concert.”

Spradlin also noted the beginnings of the Dryden Cabaret series.

“We recently remodeled the Dryden Theatre, with an eye toward presenting artists in a smaller scale, more intimate surrounding,” he stated. “The Dryden will be perfect for artists like Her Crooked Heart, where the audience will be very close and more interactive with the music.”

Tickets for Her Crooked Heart are available from the CLC Theatre Box Office at 218-855-8199 or online at www.clcperformingarts.com

The show, and the entire season, is sponsored by a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board as part of a legislative appropriation through the legacy amendment.

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