Kari Arnett
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Kari Arnett

St Paul, MN 55113, USA | Established. Jan 01, 2010 | SELF

St Paul, MN 55113, USA | SELF
Established on Jan, 2010
Solo Americana Singer/Songwriter


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Daily Discovery"

HOMETOWN: Madison, Wisconsin

CURRENT LOCATION: St. Paul, Minnesota

AMBITIONS: To deliver the best version of myself every day through life and songwriting, bringing out deeper truths and hopefully reaching people through emotions that come through that process.

TURN-OFFS: People who make excuses and lack authenticity.

TURN-ONS: Intelligence, honesty, a sense of humor, listening to pedal steel guitar, and good taste in music.

DREAM GIG: Opening for Jason Isbell or Lucinda Williams.

FAVORITE LYRIC: “Chimney falls and lovers blaze/Thought that I was young/Now I’ve freezing hands & bloodless veins/As numb as I’ve become/I’m so tired/I wish I was the moon tonight…” – Neko Case

SONG I WISH I WROTE: “A Case Of You” – Joni Mitchell and “Eyes To The Wind” – The War On Drugs

5 PEOPLE I’D MOST LIKE TO HAVE DINNER WITH: Dolly Parton, Jimmy Fallon, Anthony Bourdain, Stevie Nicks, and Jenny Lewis.

MY FAVORITE CONCERT EXPERIENCE: Seeing Jason Isbell and his band tear it up at the Barrymore Theatre in Madison, Wisconsin. When you can connect to an audience like that, you’re golden.

I WROTE THIS SONG BECAUSE…I was caught between a life moment and things were getting kind of heavy. I was trying to decide whether to let things stay the same or move forward with a choice. I got out my guitar and the lyrics poured out on paper and the melody followed.15 minutes later, “Heavy Heart” was completely written. The message within the song is you are good enough and to get back up when life knocks you down. - American Songwriter

"Local Sounds Magazine"

Until recently Kari Arnett was based in Madison. Currently located in the Twin Cities, relocating is not the only change she’s been through. Arnett got married and now goes by Kari Schmidt. It’s unclear if she’ll continue to use Kari Arnett as a stage name but whatever name she goes by, you may want to keep an eye out for her. And you definitely should check out this album.

Fans of Jason Isbell, Lucinda Williams and Emmylou Harris – and probably a host of others including Neko Case and Jenny Lewis – will find lots to like on Midwestern Skyline. Think an Americana version of Mazzy Star.

Arnett’s music is rooted in Loretta Lynn country but there’s much more to it than that. The emotional depth of her storytelling is matched by the elegance of the melodies and the power of her voice, a sound full of mournfulness and life experience that will speak to your soul. Arnett purportedly didn’t pick up a guitar until her twenties but the songs here speak of an innate ability to communicate, a trait that takes most artists much longer to develop.

Midwestern Skyline was produced by Chris Mittlesteadt, an ambitious guitarist, engineer, producer and entrepreneur operating in Reedsburg. The arrangements are exquisite, enhancing an already charged atmosphere. Instrumentation is sparse but highly effective. Arnett’s band is the same lineup that works with Shawndell Marks: keyboardist Paul Issacs, bassist Joe McCloskey and drummer Al Buttner (read more about them here). Mittlesteadt adds harmony vocals and guitar but it’s his pedal steel and fiddle that provide extra breath to Arnett’s songs. His electric slide guitar, particularly the delay Mittlesteadt employs, is especially effective on “When We Were Young,” a song bursting with longing and nostalgia. Guitar and fiddle are the only instrumentation on the gorgeous “Lake Michigan,” a song of parting with a powerful vocal performance which also benefits from Mittlesteadt’s backing vocals. The pedal steel features prominently on “Concrete and Honey,” where he also contributes a tasty electric guitar solo.

“Heavy Heart” kicks the album off, setting the tone. This one is a band arrangement with keys and electric guitars providing a ghostly backdrop. A song of redemption and a memorable chorus (with backup vocals by Shawndell Marks) make this a highlight. American Songwriter recently featured this on their site as a Daily Discovery and that is some high praise. Isaac’s piano graces “Love Someone,” another winner with picked violin by Mittelsteadt, another exquisite touch. “Casualties” is as close to rock as the album gets, a song that wouldn’t be too far out of place for Tom Petty to pick up.
Midwestern Skyline is an enormously satisfying album that bears frequent, repeated listenings. Arnett’s authenticity is rare. She may be in St. Paul now, but let’s hope she makes frequent forays back to the Madison area. - Rick Tvedt

"Chick Singer Night"


A singer since she was 2, Madison-based
singer and songwriter Arnett taught herself
to play piano at age 6, picked up a guitar
when she was 13, and started writing her
own songs as a teenager. Since then, she’s
brought her acoustic, soul-infused sounds
to fans throughout Wisconsin. Arnett,
known for her provocative lyrics and catchy
melodies, captures crowds with her striking
voice and mixed pop and folk-rock musical
styling. - Brava Magazine

"A Peek At The 'Skyline'"

When fans hold Kari Arnett’s new album, they’ll be touching a piece of her heart.

The singer and songwriter recently released her debut album with help from supporters in the Baraboo music scene. “Midwestern Skyline” is a collection of Arnett’s sentimental, soulful songs. It’s a roots album with a country feel.

“There’s a lot of heartbreak on the album,” she said. “I pulled from a lot of dark places in my life, and I feel that adds richness to the words in my songs.”

Arnett explored her pain while recording the album, but felt only joy upon receiving the finished product. “Holding that piece in my hand was such a magic moment,” she said.

Arnett grew up outside Cambria and lived in Baraboo for several years. She’s now in Stillwater, Minnesota, where she works for a stationery designer. While music remains a sideline, she hopes to one day devote herself to it full time.

“I just thought this would be a really great start,” she said of recording “Midwestern Skyline.” She was nudged by local musician Chris Mittlesteadt, who encouraged her to record and put together a backup band.

Mittelsteadt had heard Arnett sing with his wife, Shawndell Marks, and was impressed. “I thought she had a unique gift,” he said.

They recorded the CD over the winter and released it in July. Running counter to the trend of overproduced, Auto-Tuned recordings, “Midwestern Skyline” is unadorned and pure.

“Chris really made it easy,” Arnett said. “By the end of the recording process, I felt I had a whole world of knowledge I didn’t have before.”

The album is available at her website, at her live shows around Minnesota and Wisconsin, and from third-party sellers such as iTunes and amazon.com. Fans can buy CDs or digital versions of her music. Arnett has enjoyed hearing her music on popular streaming websites such as Pandora and Spotify.

“I really believe in the album and I believe in the work they did,” Arnett said. “I can’t wait for people to hear it.”

“I think she ended up with a product that’s very authentically representative of her skills and her talents,” Mittlesteadt said.

Her sound has evolved from pop to incorporate southern rock and country influences. Arnett’s brand of Americana music draws comparisons to Emmylou Harris, Stevie Nicks and Joni Mitchell, artists Arnett admires.

“All of those women are huge heroes to me,” Arnett said. “It’s a great feeling, knowing people are appreciating the work I’ve been putting in.”

Part of that work included a trip to Nashville with Marks and another local musician, Derek Ramnarace, where they performed at the Bluebird Café.

Ramnarace said he has enjoyed seeing Arnett’s music career blossom. “With this album she continues to grow and learn more about other aspects of this career path,” Ramnarace said.

He praised Mittlesteadt and the band for expertly building and layering tracks around Arnett’s compositions, and said “the result is one of my favorite albums that I’ve heard in a long time.” - Baraboo News Republick


Midwestern Skyline (2015)



Nominated for MAMA Awards 2016 (Madison, WI)
- Female Vocalist
- Americana/Folk Album - Midwestern Skyline
- Americana/Folk Song - Heavy Heart

American Songwriter's Daily Discovery in October 2015 - Song, "Heavy Heart"

Recently featured on 89.3 The Current's (Twin Cities) United States of Americana show, WORT-FM 89.9 FM (Madison) At The Stacks Live in-studio performance, and has also been featured on many radio stations.

Kari Arnett is an Americana artist originally from rural Wisconsin, but now residing in the Twin Cities. Her country tinged music will showcase her affinity for lonesome melodies, passionate vocals and honest, narrative songwriting. Fans who’ve fallen head over heels for her material can expect that signature alt-country, roots-rock sound to deliver and grow.

Gathering material from her life experiences and travels across the Midwest , Arnett conceived the aptly named Midwestern Skyline, her debut,
full-length album and subsequent travel diary. Recorded with her heart on
her sleeve and a collection of autobiographical tunes in her pocket, the
album exhibits the raw vocals and heartfelt lyricism that have situated
her among fans of Brandi Carlile, Emmylou Harris, and The Civil Wars.

Arnett caught the attention of American Songwriter in 2015 who premiered the
single, "Heavy Heart" as their Daily Discovery.  Winning crowds wherever she goes with her guitar as her companion, Arnett proves that she is not one to be missed. 

Band Members