Equal parts songwriter, performer, storyteller, and musical historian, on her new record, the songstress (whose last release made it to the first round of Grammy nominees) weaves together threads of traditional jazz and blues, Dixieland, Western swing, and classic country into a melodic tapestry that fits squarely into the canon of distinctly American music while still sounding undeniably fresh and modern.
While living in Los Angeles, Krüger released her first album, Bachelor of Apathy. Upon graduation, her life on the road began, as she set off on what would become an epic solo fifteen-year journey of touring. In 2000, she returned home to Texas to record her second solo album, The Noise I Make. During her travels, she met up with producer Andrew Gilchrist (Ani DiFranco). The two collaborated on Krüger’s third release, An Unauthorized Guide to the Human Anatomy. The album features Dave Pirner (Soul Asylum) and was mastered by John Fischbach (Stevie Wonder, Songs in the Key of Life).
After seven years of touring the country alone, Krüger released her fourth album, Songs from a Dead Man’s Couch, which received two first-round nominations for the “Best Female Pop Vocal Performance” and “Best Pop Vocal Album” Grammy awards, and won the 2007 Independent Music Award for “Best Americana Album of the Year.”
In November of 2006, Krüger received the tragic news that her brother, Lieutenant Colonel Eric Kruger, was killed by a roadside bomb in Baghdad, Iraq, after only one day in the country. On the fourth day of waiting for his body to return, Krüger wrote the moving spiritual “Goodbye Brother,” which she performed at his ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. Looking to honor his legacy, she embarked on a series of memorial concerts throughout the country, raising over $20,000 for the Fisher House, an organization which cares for wounded veterans and their families.
“My brother was a history buff,” explains Krüger. “I filled the time driving between these benefit shows by really digging into the history of traditional American music as a way to connect with him and honor his memory.” What started casually soon became something more as the miles and notes streamed by. Feeding herself a steady diet of early Ella Fitzgerald with the Chick Webb Orchestra, Bessie Smith, and Kitty Wells, among many more, Krüger decided that the best way she had of paying tribute to her sibling was by using his love of history to guide the journey of creating Fever of Unknown Origin (once again in collaboration with Andrew Gilchrist).
Singer, songwriter, storyteller (and now historical preservationist), with a deft hand and delicate touch, Kristy Krüger has succeeded in crafting a modern Americana sound that will continue to resonate through the ages. She attributes her unique jazz-influenced brand of Americana to many years spent exploring the nightclubs of New Orleans. Fever is already receiving glowing reviews. Texas Music Magazine says some songs sound as if they “could have easily come from the soul of Bessie Smith herself… Krüger’s skill with both melody and lyrics is utterly astonishing..[.]”
In addition to her first-round Grammy nominations, Krüger was named “Best Female Vocalist” by the Dallas Observer in 2006. Her previous release, Songs from a Dead Man’s Couch, was named one of the Top Five DIY Picks by Performing Songwriter Magazine. The Dallas Morning News said, “She has grown into one of the most eclectic singers in the area. Imagine a female Tom Waits, produced by Daniel Lanois.” She recently received three nominations for Fever in the 2019 Independent Music Awards in NYC. In the fall of 2013, Krüger was chosen by Patty Griffin to open four shows for her fall tour of American Kid. Griffin was highly impressed by Krüger, saying from the stage that she was a “solid gold songwriter.” Krüger is a multi-instrumentalist and plays piano, guitar, banjo, mandolin, harmonica and pedal steel guitar. And although she was unable to tour at the time, she was even called upon by Jack White to perform pedal steel in his all-female band, “The Peacocks.” With a wealth of life experiences from her solo journeys, Krüger is also an engaging storyteller and essayist. She has contributed to Public Radio International’s “This American Life,” and even made a fan out of the show’s host Ira Glass.