Karen Mansfield • Thistle + Boon
Considered one of the top songwriters and mainstay of the legendary Asbury Park music scene, Karen Mansfield’s songwriting is honest, non fiction, at times dark and moody. It will take you to places of deep aching but it never leaves you there. She doesn’t wallow. She tells you what went down then gets straight to talking about where she’s going, which always turns out to be a place of hope where the warm sun is shining and dreams are coming true.
Her vocals are hauntingly reminiscent of Mazzy Star, rough and edgy as Marianne Faithful, at times warm and sweet as LuLu.
She teams up with producer Steve Greenwell (Joss Stone, James Maddock, Steve Forbert) for her sophomore effort, her first full length album, Thistle + Boon. Thistle represents the struggle, Boon is a long awaited blessing.
Karen Mansfield / music, lyrics, vocals, backing vocals
Aaron Comess / drums
Jack Daley / bass
Jay Shepard / guitars
Jimmy Farkas / guitars
Emily Grove / backing vocals (all except track 9)
Billy Siegel / keys, piano (tracks 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8)
Michael Sullivan / guitars (track 3)
Steve Greenwell / percussion, programming
1. Lover For the Ride 4:12
2. The West Side 3:31
3. There Was a Girl 3:52
4. Break Away 3:56
5. Gone 5:18
6. Me and Leslie 3:55
7. Aint ½ Bad 3:36
8. New Favorite Thing 2:58
9. Don’t Do 2:47
10. You Make Me Happy 2:47
“It comes as no shock at all to find out that Karen Mansfield comes from Asbury Park, after all that small boardwalk town on the Jersey Shore has a track record of being a stepping stone for artists from Springsteen and Bon Jovi to The Gaslight Anthem and Patti Smith on their way to bigger things. And even with that heady mix of music passing through its scene, Karen Mansfield sounds like none of them.
Hers is a wonderful mix of muscular pop, chilled punk swagger and rootsy vibes, in fact I recall her being summed up as a Hippy-beach-punk-folkie and to be honest as sound bites go, I can’t really improve on that. And if There Was A Girl is one of those songs that is difficult to tie down generically, it also seems not to follow trend or fashion and so can’t be placed easily on a time line. It feels at home in a 60’s Greenwich Village coffee shop, a late 70’s Lower East Side punk club, as a 90’s indie single and as the modern slice of gorgeousness that it actually is. I guess that is what they call timeless?” –AnR Factory
“On her first full-length album release, the Shore-based singer/songwriter who once fronted a fun punk band called The Bleeding Knees continues her evolution into a writer of plain-spoke sophistication and a vocalist of genuine depth — crafting a set of originals that begins in a moodier, almost ghostly vein (“Lover for the Ride,” “Gone”), and accelerates to its destination with upbeat sixties-style poppers “New Favorite Thing” and “You Make Me Happy.” From chilly to chipper; in other words, kind of like springtime itself.” – Tom Chesek, The Coaster