This month, I’m all giddy and excited about interviewing the incredibly talented musician Kristie Stremel! She is from Hays, Kan., and she now lives in Lawrence. Stremel will be playing Saturday, June 15, in the Girls With Guitars show at the Uptown Theater in Kansas City, Mo. Though she is now recording her latest CD, she kindly sat down and answered a few questions for me.
1. The first thing I’d like to ask about is the show Girls With Guitars, which features Jen Foster, Jennifer Corday, Summer Osborne, and of course, you! How did you get involved with this exciting show?
I’ve played with all three of these amazing women before. I met Jen Foster on a cruise ship we played together. I met Summer at a show in St. Louis, and I met Corday at a festival we played together. So when the opportunity came up, I jumped at the chance. A huge music lover by the name of Chynsia Hinesley started a production company called DYCON and wanted to feature female songwriters. I’m excited! It’s gonna be a great show!
2. Are there any other shows in the making for this summer?
I am recording right now, but I hope to hit the road hard this fall.
3. Some of our readers may not be familiar with your music. How would you describe it?
One writer said, “If Tom Petty and Joan Jett had a musical love child, it would be Kristie Stremel.” I’ve always identified with that quote. However, I’m just a roots /rock, singer/songwriter. But as I grow as a songwriter, I tend to want to leave the genre out of the mix. I like to write a song and arrange parts that serve the song. So whatever genre each song falls into is really up to the listener.
4. How long have you been playing guitar, and when did you start performing professionally?
I’ve been playing guitar since I was 12 years old. My dad taught me how to play. I’ve played in bands since I was 16. When I turned 21, I auditioned for an all-girl alternative rock band called Frogpond. I played with them a few years, and then started my own band, Exit 159, and in early 2000 I went solo. I’ve just always made music.
5. Who are some of your favorite composers, musicians and bands from the past and present?
So many! I still love classic rock, old country, and a lot of ’80s pop. I’m really inspired by a lot of local singer/songwriters and musicians I share the stage with. It’s not so much about who the composer or musician is. … What really inspires me are people who play their songs and you can just feel how aligned they are with music! I love people who are in alignment with who they really are. You can feel when a song is genuine. Like “Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman. … THAT is an honest song!
6. So, you have been back in the recording studio. How is that going, and when can we expect to see the new CD?
I am still in the studio, and it is going better than I expected. Ten brand spankin’ new songs! I hope to have the CD wrapped up by the end of May. However, I’m shooting for a July release. You can check out my website for updates:
7. What musical influences will we be seeing in the upcoming album?
The only concept I had for this record was to play parts that served each song. In order to do that, I had to round up the right crew! I was blessed enough to get Lance Gilchrist (drums), Jason Hammond (bass), Ryan McCall (keys), John Hobson (guitar) and Christopher Meck (guitar). When I first sat down to write a list of players to contact, it really came down to who would leave their ego at the door and play what serves the song. AND who would be joyful to play with. … I’ve played with these guys over the years, and they are so super-talented and fun to be around. We had a blast recording together. Many times we laughed so hard we cried. As a result, they also left a smell of vintage guitar tones on the songs and just an overall stink of Rolling Stones on the recording.
8. Who were you -- or would you -- be nervous to meet?
I’m never nervous to meet anybody. My experience on hanging out with stars has been, “the bigger they are, the nicer they are.” I love meeting new people and making connections.
9. How would you describe your perfect day?
The perfect day is hanging out on the deck with family, friends, dogs, and guitars.
10. If you could blink your eyes and be in a favorite place right now, where would that place be?
Right here, right now.

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