Growing up in rural south central Wisconsin, Kari Arnett was experimenting with writing, playing, and singing music from a young age, including teaching herself to play piano. It wasn't until her early 20s that Arnett taught herself guitar and began performing as a traveling musician. Soon her inspirations led her to draw rich sounds from older country/folk styles of music and brought her into the Americana scene. Surfacing lyrics from love and loss, Arnett's lush, imaginative, storyteller approach to narrative songwriting may appeal to fans of The Civil Wars, Gillian Welch or Neko Case. While more old-school folk/country lovers, who enjoy Patty Griffin, Lucinda Williams or Emmylou Harris, may appreciate Arnett's use of music as the universal outlet to convey emotion in the spaces between the silence and the sound.
Arnett released her first EP Midwestern Skyline in July of 2015 and has garnered praise from American Songwriter (Nashville,TN), as well as critical acclaim from local and national music critics.
Kari has performed at many prestigious stages such as: The Bluebird Cafe (Nashville, TN), The Dakota Jazz Club (Minneapolis, MN), Aster Cafe (Minneapolis, MN), Alpine Valley VIP Club (East Troy, WI), High Noon Saloon (Madison, WI) and many more. With her fans support and enthusiastic responses from the press, Arnett took her songs on the road to promote her EP. Her newest full length album was released September 20, 2018:
When The Dust Settles.
When The Dust Settles has been featured in Rolling Stone, No Depression, Wide Open Country, The Daily Country, The Bluegrass Situation, and more!
Kari Arnett has performed with many amazing artists such as: Tyler Gilbert (CA), Michael McDermott, The Wind and The Wave, Kaleo, Laney Jones and The Spirits, Frazey Ford (The Be Good Tanyas), Mary Bragg, Emily Keener (The Voice), Chastity Brown, Paul Thorn, Erin Rae.
Kari Arnett is currently splitting her time between Madison, WI and Nashville, TN.
Only a Woman has been mentioned by Americana Highways for Song of the Year!
This American Life has been featured by Rolling Stone!
New reviews are out from (No Depression, Americana Highways, and Wide Open Country) on When The Dust Settles. Please check the PRESS section for more info.
When The Dust Settles to be released digitally and physically Thursday, September 20, 2018. Album release party will be held at The Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis with special guests, Mary Bue & Becky Kapell. 7pm. All ages. Tickets: https://www.thecedar.org/listing-2/2018/9/20/kari-arnett-album-release-with-mary-bue-and-becky-kapell
Wisconsin Public Radio
The album is a collection of personal reflections on her life at the time she wrote the songs, Arnett said, balancing hope and challenge.
"It's filled with a lot of hopefulness, I guess, wading through the darkness — what happens to you after the dust settles in your life," she said.
Arnett’s band shows off a warm but tight Americana sound on songs that portray the balance in life, from the title track, "When the Dust Settles," to the tone-setting "Dark Water" that leads off the disc.
10 Best Country and Americana Songs of the Week - “This American Life - Kari Arnett” - Rolling Stone
“Perhaps no one song better defined 2018 than Kari Arnett’s “Only a Woman” and that’s why it’s my choice for Song of The Year. The Wisconsin-born Arnett assembled a group of Minneapolis musicians to record her debut album. When The Dust Settles is a remarkable set of personal songs that rise to a moral referendum on the state of the country and its soul and character.” - Steve Wosahla
Farce the Music
DEC 27, 2018
Farce the Music's Top Songs of 2018 (#11-30) - Kari Arnett - Once More Chance
The Alternate Root
“Waking up from a dream, our #1 track this week looks out over a land of broken promises wondering who will save us in “The American Life”. Kari Arnett is singing the song and though there is no solution, Kari answers the question by admitting she is still on board with her beliefs in the Land of the Free and is ready to fight for our freedom.” - Danny McCloskey
#1 track - This American Life week of October 17, 2018 - http://www.thealternateroot.com/topten101718.html
Press from Highway Queens
“Her debut album When The Dust Settles is full of quality songwriting and has a rich roots sound which suggests her spirit is already haunting the hallowed streets of Music City. There’s also real resilience and grit in the wise heart of this album.” -Michelle Lindsey
The Bluegrass Situation 5+5
Interview with The Daily Country
“Singer-songwriter Kari Arnett's new album, When The Dust Settles, showcases her affinity for lonesome melodies, a vulnerable grit, and an authentic lyricism, that articulates the love, pain, and the struggle of the American Life. Together with her full band they created a raw sound, from warm, vintage acoustics to a retro, cinematic feel making When The Dust Settles a collection of deeply personal songs with universal appeal. Here, Arnett answers her Essential 8 and talks about the album, songwriting, Netflix, The Ryman, and much more!” https://thedailycountry.com/interviewsessential-8/essential-8-kari-arnett
Press from City Pages (Minneapolis)
“When the Dust Settles is an album that wraps a warm but worried pair of arms around your thoughts. Arnett writes about relationships—with others, but also with herself. “ - Youa Vang
Album Review from Americana Highways
"Arnett has a beautiful and powerful voice that fills a room one moment and then sounds like she’s having an intimate conversation with you in another. The musicality of the band accentuates Arnett’s diversity of emotions." - Steve Wosahla
Song Premiere for 'Only a Woman' from Wide Open Country
"Arnett rails against society’s double standards and the music industry’s condescension to women." - Rachel Cholst
Album Review from No Depression
"there’s no question her songwriting is fueled with a Middle America spirit – there’s no dross or added fat on these songs and the laser focus Arnett brings to her art sets her apart from many peers and contemporaries."
Bill DeVille - DJ & Host of The United States of Americana 89.3 FM The Current (Minneapolis, MN)
“Kari Arnett is one of the hardest working Americana artists in the Twin Cities scene. There is some sharp songwriting on this touching batch of songs. When the Dust Settles is her best yet!”
Rift Magazine - (Minneapolis, MN)
"Kari Arnett has moved here all the way from rural south central Wisconsin to pursue a career in music and has done a good job acclimating herself to that scene.
Her fans came through and got her into the top five of Rift Magazine’s 100 Days of Local music. I can see why they like her and her sound. It’s smooth and easy to listen to, with stories and hooks. Closer to the country side of “Alt” country, Arnett has honed her craft." - Rich Horton
La Crosse Tribune - (La Crosse, WI)
"She has that kind of voice, with the range and command it takes to summon deep, sometimes dark emotions." - Randy Erickson
Twin Cities Media - (Minneapolis, MN)
"Out of Arnett flows some of the most chillingly beautiful vocals. Watching Arnett last night I was reminded of early Stevie Nicks mixed with a twinge of Dolly Parton. Arnett’s heartfelt lyrics are ones that stop you in your tracks; she sings with a presence that commands attention." - Jessica Boldt
The Alternate Root - (Palm Springs, CA)
"Melancholy is an ever-present force in the voice of Kari Arnett. Backed with the ethereal melodies of Americana, Kari Arnett uses the space in between the notes as a secret ingredient in the songs she collects as Midwestern Skyline, her recent E.P. release." - Danny McCloskey
The Next Gig - (Netherlands, EU)
" The skyrocketing talent is already making serious headway and is increasingly appreciated in the United States. Whoever listens to 'Midwestern Skyline' will certainly hear the potential of this singer. " - Richard Wagenaar
DEZ MUSIC BLOG - (Minneapolis, MN)
" Her soft vocals and the light tone of her guitar that makes the listener able to immerse themselves into the album fully and take it all in. It’s a classic story of love, loss, heartbreak and trying to fill the spaces in-between that is so relatable, and that makes the listener want more..." - Desney Cody Rift Magazine
Revival Music Magazine - (Los Angeles, CA)
" It’s exciting when a new voice emerges that feels like it is meant to soon become one of your standards. Even more so when that voice sits on a foundation of strong songwriting and storytelling." - Shana RMM
Roots Revival - (Belgium, EU )
" For us, for sure, Kari Arnett is a new face on the Americana music scene. Midwestern Skyline is a perfect 7 song album which gives you a great feeling about what Americana music should sound like. 10/10" - Raymond Swennen
Minnexplore: Minnesota Culture and Stories (MN)
"Her voice is the star attraction here. Flexible and expressive, it’s somehow ethereal and robust at the same time. Listen to “Concrete and Honey” and you’ll see what I mean. (If you’re looking for specific comparisons: Deanna Carter might have sounded like this had she chosen folk over country.)" - Christi Mastley
Local Sounds Magazine (Madison, WI)
"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." - Rick Tvedt
Baraboo News Republic (Baraboo, WI)
"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." - Ben Bromley
American Songwriter Magazine (Nashville, TN)
Kari Arnett has been featured by American Songwriter as a Daily Discovery. (2015)
Daytrotter (Rock Island, IL)
Sean Moeller's Picks from Daytrotter mentioning Kari Arnett as a Discovery.
Brava Magazine (Madison, WI)
"Arnett known for her provocative lyrics and catchy melodies, capture crowds with her striking voice and mixed pop and folk-rock musical stylings."
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