Maren Christensen
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Maren Christensen

Missoula, Montana, United States | SELF

Missoula, Montana, United States | SELF
Band Folk Singer/Songwriter


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Billboard Discoveries Reviews Finally Red"

Maren Christensen started playing guitar at age 10 and set out across her native
Seattle as an old-school folk troubadour. After studying law for a spell, she
surrendered to her love for music and relocated to Missoula, Mont.—a hotbed for
independent music and the arts—where she has released third album “Finally Red,”
which the singer/songwriter brands as “21st Century folk with a world groove.”
Joined by The Really Big Small Band, comprising accordionist Laura Hibbs,
percussionist Caleb Van Gelder and Pete Hand on double bass and electric bass, the
14-track collection is a vital showcase for the enduring genre, with a collaborative
spirit between the ensemble that meshes as organically as the sky and clouds. Album
opener “Who Knew” is representative of the disc, with a calming, regenerative bent.
“You Took Me Down Hard” is among the best of the bunch, an anthemic tome of anguish,
as Christensen sings, “Whole world is spinning I can’t find solid ground, Send me an
angel to help me steady myself.” The bouncy “Live in the World” is a grand display
of the act’s musicality, with an adept guitar solo and nicely blended harmonies;
while “Sweet In My Body” adds a funk vibe, sounding like a live jam session where
you can see the group nodding in unison—and the audience doing the same. “The
Mindfulness of the Kiss” is an effective expression of sensuality, as she slowly,
deliberately emanates the lyric: “Nourish me with your breath against my skin, I
take you in/I give myself to this kiss.” Christensen is fortunate to know her
strengths and with the Really Big Small Band, she delivers a delicate—but
impressionable—performance throughout “Finally Red.” Fans of Mary Chapin Carpenter
and Natalie Merchant will be particularly enthralled, as folkies of all types will
commend the spirit within Christensen. - Cortney Harding, Billboard Discoveries


Maren Christensen knows herself. And through her music, it’s easy to know her, too. “My songs are very personal,” she says. “I really just try to be honest and be willing to reveal myself in a way that people can relate to if they want to.”
Over the course of three albums, listeners have heard Christensen evolve through themes of weariness of frustration (2004’s “Resilient Child”) and hope (2006’s “Ready for You Now”) to the Christensen of today, and of her new album, “Finally Red:” ensconced in a community of friends, believing in the dreams that once seemed far-fetched.
“I came home one day and I realized / I didn’t recognize my life,” Christensen sings on the album’s centerpiece, “Finally In Red.” “I’d made the safe choice too many times – in too many ways / It was time to stir it up and set it right.”
Stirring it up seems to be the order of the day here. While Christensen hasn’t abandoned her fundamentally straightforward folk songwriting approach – sonorous harmonies, lovely melodies, soul-baring lyrics – she’s mixed up the arrangements considerably, with help from her so-named Really Big Small Band – a who’s who of local folk musicians including Caleb Van Gelder, Laura Hibbs, Pete Hand, Jenn Adams, Matthew Marsolek, Lawrence Duncan, Janet Haarvig, Leslie Burgess, Mindy Mason, Beh Youngblood, Melody Anderson and Steve Kalling.
Despite that long list of contributors, the album still remains rightly centered around Christensen’s voice and words – and the sunny spirit at the heart of the songs.
Christensen and her Really Big Small Band will celebrate its release with a performance at the Elks Club this Saturday, March 13. Tickets are $10; the show starts at 8 p.m. - Local newspaper, The Missoulian


2004 - LP - Resilient Child
2006 - LP - Ready For You Now
2010 - LP - Finally Red



Maren grew up in Seattle, Washington and got her first guitar when she was ten. She taught herself how to play by listening to records and figuring out chords from charts. She played her guitar all over Seattle, the epicenter of Folk Music and Rock and Roll. Within the first year of having her guitar she wrote her first song and she has been writing ever since. Her music reflects the experiences of living in a complicated world. It has heart with a dynamic groove that will touch your soul. It is both personal and universal. Her lyrics are direct, poetic and clever. The lyrical intimacies in her songwriting speaks to all of us as if we were speaking to ourselves. Her songs captivate us with delicate intrigue and charm while reminding us that our own dreams and hearts desires can be real regardless of how complex the world may seem around us.

Her most recent work, Finally Red, incorporates her love for percussion, her sense of rhythm and with the sensibility and sincerity of Folk Music.

Maren currently resides in Missoula, Montana with her life partner and two dogs.