Well over two decades into his musical career, Ken Stringfellow is showing no signs of slowing down. At 44 years old, The Posies frontman, REM collaborator, Big Star player, and accomplished solo musician is perhaps more in tune with his art than ever. Last year, Stringfellow released Danzig in the Moonlight, his fifth studio album and first since 2004’s Soft Command. As we’ve come to expect, the album includes a vivacious and dynamic mix of quirky, hook-driven pop jams (“Shittalkers,” “Superwise”), but in between, Stringfellow gives us hints of country twang (“You’re the Gold”), avant pop grandeur (“Drop Your Pride”), and one call-and-response-style folk ballad (“Doesn’t It Remind You of Something”). It’s the kind of album that few could pull off, yet Stringfellow seems to navigate these divergent modes with a naturalistic ease.
“There are always, more and more on my albums, themes of transformation and growth, as that’s what I’m interested in,” the singer explained via email last week. Among those transformations, Stringfellow says, is his increasing ability to tap into his creativity. “As a younger man, I was plagued by insecurity. … I second-guessed myself a lot. I was instinctual then, as now, but, with more black thoughts and unhappy feelings throwing me from just being focused.”
Today, Stringfellow is as focused as ever. Prior to launching a full-scale solo tour of the States (which sees him to SOhO on Friday, January 25) he’s spending time in Mexico for a string of festival dates with The Posies. At home in France, he keeps busy producing and mixing records, as well as composing for film and television. It’s a lifestyle that makes for busy schedules, lots of traveling, and a degree of worldliness that Stringfellow admittedly thrives off of.
As for the live show, his aim is simple: “It’s an exercise in intimacy,” he explained. “[The audience] may not know why or how they were affected, but they will be moved. That’s the whole point.”
Stringfellow plays SOhO Restaurant & Music Club (1221 State St.) on Friday, January 25, at 8 p.m. Call (805) 962-7776 or visit newnoisesb.org for tickets.