TOO LONG FROM THE SEA Kate Wallace
This great artist is such a close personal friend that I waited a long time to review this record. After all, how could I just write a few paragraphs about a given recording without digressing into how much I've learned from her about life, love, friendship, integrity, strength, songwriting, and a trunkful of smaller subjects? I won't even try.
Kate's a very strong woman, and speaks her mind. Very smart, extremely funny. These qualities all abound in her songwriting, which despite her keen intelligence, is a very emotional matter.
She's gifted with a remarkable vocal range, and can do things with her voice that stand her out immediately as a special singer: dynamics, breaks, fluid movement between full and chest voice, inspired phrasing, unerring intonation, and a recognizable sound that is all her own.
The liner notes describe the breadthy style of this record as Amereclectic. It's Contemporary Folk and more with many influences, many colors. I especially like the dark cowrite with Joseph Brunelle, "You Cross My Mind," but conversely the very bright song written with Sally Barris, "I Carry It Inside." I'm a big fan of the song that also appears on co-writer Michael Lille's record (reviewed in this issue), "Wherever You Walk."
The disc was recorded and mixed at Samurai Studios in Nashville by Sam Weedman, who played mandolin and cowrote the signature opening number, "Brave New World." Bassist extraordinaire Mark Prentice appears again as co-producer with a host of Nashville session heavies. Along with Kate's strong rhythm playing, Michael Lille and the always sharp Steven Sheehan add great acoustic guitar tracks. Andrea Zonn on fiddle and husband John Gardner on drums and percussion bring deep musicality to any record, and certainly here. Dana Cooper blows some soulful harmonica, and nine really good singers appear throughout.
Kate Wallace moved away from Nashville after a decade there, back to the West Coast. She plays many dates and festivals nationally, and is a fixture in the growing house concert movement. Find out more about Kate and pick up on the three records she has out at her website. FG