If there’s one thing that stands out about Kirstie Kraus, it’s her energetic, unbridled energy. It’s reflected in her big, dynamic voice; in her performance, which bursts with passion and levity; and by her simple presence, which can dissolve you in laughter and make you grin from ear to ear. Not every day does an artist come around able to so effortlessly meld a freewheeling spirit with poignant, inspirational songs and an irrepressible drive, but Kraus is one of them. Because she knows as well as anyone how easily music can inspire a smile. “A lot of my material is about my personal experiences,” Kirstie says. “I am inspired every day by everything around me. Life is wonderful, and why not sing about it?” She certainly lives that ethos: Kirstie has been following her dream since she was a small child, singing songs for her large extended family in their Wisconsin living room. Mrs. Swishow, her first grade music teacher, was the first person to really encourage Kirstie. Her teacher took Kirstie’s mother aside and told her “You know your daughter can sing right?” Kirstie recalls, laughing. “This is when I started getting up on stages and my mom worked hard to find every musical outlet there was for a 6 year old including community theater, choir, and professional theater It completely opened up my world.” It was this love of country music and songcraft that pushed her to go to Nashville – she began traveling back and forth to Tennessee while in high school, and now finds herself in Nashville for four months out of the year. Immediately from her first visit, she started getting to know writers and spending time in writing rooms, composing songs like “Ride to Remember” (written with Marc-Alan Barnette) which dropped as a single July of 2015 and was a featured anthem song for various bike nights. This single helped launch her rockin’ country band Thirsty Jones a forefront musical group in the Midwest.