clip from amazingly gifted songstress, who recently released her debut album.
By Blurt Staff
Considered by those who know her to be the lost daughter of
Leonard Cohen and Cat Power, Wolf Larsen has finally released her stunning
debut album Quiet at the Kitchen Door – a piece of work spun and incanted by a voice that will envelope you totally
and send a shiver down your spine. We’ve got a terrific live video of Larsen
performing recently at the Swedish American Hall in San Francisco – check it out:
The story behind the album is in itself worth exploring in
detail, too. Larsen has privately been living with a devastating illness for
almost ten years. After a surgical
accident in 2003 Larsen became seriously ill with a
constellation of autoimmune-like disorders and pain syndromes. Despite excellent care and an exhaustive
search for a clear diagnosis and cure, none was ever found. At twenty-one, Wolf found herself dealing
with a very mysterious and nearly disabling condition. Ten years later, this is still the case.
The nature of the illness requires an almost monkish
solitude to deal with the extraordinary pain and dysfunction. This has led to long periods of isolation,
and frankly, despair – but Wolf has a funny quality about her. The worse it gets, the deeper she digs to
pull something meaningful out of her hat.
Her biography is not the biography of a sick person at all: she has an
MFA from Columbia University, she served as the personal blogger for Barack
Obama during the 2008 presidential campaign, and when her health truly began to
collapse, she moved to San Francisco for alternative treatment and began her
own search for diagnosis and a cure, writing a book called The Lady’s Handbook for Her Mysterious Illness, which will come out
with Doubleday in 2013.
But when alternative treatments were not enough, the real
transfiguration began. Confronted with
something she could not change, Wolf began to turn back to music – a lifelong
source of personal alchemy, which had fallen by the wayside. She pulled a long-dormant guitar out of the
closet, and began to teach herself the songs of Leonard Cohen. Venturing out once a week to practice San Francisco famed open
mic at The Hotel Utah, she began to find a style, an ease in performance, and a
community of friends and musicians.
Soon, channeling a deep well of emotion, she began to write her own
music. Songs about hope, prayer, love,
death, God – and Jedi princess warriors.
In very short order, she found herself with a following and a reputation
for bringing any noisy barroom to a standstill.
Faintly plucking her nylon strings, she would begin to sing, and the
room would fall silent.
With the assistance of a fleet of dedicated friends and
fellow musicians, the record was made mostly in Larsen’s bedroom over the course
of a year and a half. The result is a piece of art that preserves the
vulnerability of a girl singing at the edge of her bed – and at the same time
calls in the grand orchestrations that lift the songs into the realm of the
Incidentally, 15% of all proceeds are invested in the
education and business development of girls around the world.