Kate has switched her attention from country standards to the blues domain on this release. And it works much more effectively.
There is something about blues that makes it more amenable to adopting a consistent sound and ‘building’ a feel. I guess the answer lies in that last word – feel. Blues is all about being a bit miserable and downtrodden, and the catharsis of expressing said despondency in song.
Campbell has a beautiful voice, full of feeling and empathy. Thus she walks into the blues arena with a clear competitive edge. She can render traditional tunes and her own as slow, mournful yet beautiful paeans.
Unlike the preceding country effort, this album doesn’t wheel out any big-time standards. Nevertheless, the themes, sounds and stories are all pretty familiar. Mining’s hard, dangerous work. Poor folk eat simple. The Lord will save all. And makes folks do strange things. Guitar is king. But a bit of mournful horns helps.
Campbell avoids the dirty, grungy blues most loved on this blog. But she serves as an appropriate antidote to overt happiness.
File under: Blues that enthuse