Kristen Hall

Thumbprint: Bootleg Demos

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Thumbprint: Bootleg Demos is just that - a collection of original songs Kristen Hall gathered up, recorded any which way she could, and released independently. Comprised of mostly bare bones, acoustic renditions, this is an effort targeted at die-hard fans and students of the songwriting craft. It is a far cry from the more intentional and conventional Be Careful What You Wish For, lacking the same stylistic cohesiveness and smooth presentation of that 1994 release. Instead, this offering explores Kristen Hall's many genre-crossing voices. Armed with little more than her acoustic guitar, she demonstrates that she can deftly create a hook for any occasion. The catchy pop melody of "So Hard" segues into "Million Years," a sweet ballad that could easily be produced and spruced up for LeAnn Rhimes or Kelly Willis. Keep listening and you hit "Memory #1," which sparkles with the feel of old-school R&B and the country-tinged rockers "Thru Cryin'" and "You Don't Know" cause even the laziest of toes to start tapping. Though an engaging and talented performer in her own right, Kristen Hall's strength, as evidenced here, lies in her versatile songwriting and, to her credit as an artist, she never gets in the way, letting the songs take center stage.