Oh, boy what a stunning title track! Not only do we have Curtis partnered by good ol’ gal, Mary Gauthier on the A.P Carter classic but the two ladies create a sound akin to Hazel (Dickens) and Alice (Gerrard) and who recorded the song back in the 1970s on Rounder. Praise does not come much higher than this and it is not the only cover singer-songwriter Curtis gives a notable airing, for she also covers Richard Thompson’s ‘Walking On A Wire’; and what a beautiful, hand-crafted version she does of the classic. Likewise is the case with Cat Stevens’ ‘Tuesday’s Dead’ —that has Curtis blossom as a vocalist and, how about the wonderful banjo, guitar, fiddle and bass support she is given.
Also an import we have Curtis with the aid of splendid fiddle and banjo tackle the late John Martyn’s ‘Don’t Want To Know (No Evil)’ (that contains some modal-style claw-hammer banjo to give it strong hints of mountain music), Don White’s excellent mid-tempo piece and the low-key love ballad ‘I Wish I Knew How’ (B. Taylor, D. Dallas). As for her own compositions that she shine the brightest, the back woods-ish ‘Passing Through’ written with Mark Erelli and previously on her Long Night Moon album possesses a familiar sentiment it enjoys the benefit of Stuart Duncan’s fabulous fiddle work and the distinctive harmony vocals of Darrell Scott this time around. Plus, George Marinelli (mandolin, acoustic, resophonic guitar) also figures heavily on the track, and like with Duncan who, also donates claw-hammer banjo and mandolin on the album their talent dovetail perfectly alongside Curtis’ well-pitched tones.
With a surfeit of riches accompanying her and co-label boss, Garry West produce the record Curtis comes of age so to speak on this her tenth album. Such is her work on her own song ‘Dad’s Back Yard’, her friend Mary Gauthier would be proud to have written it she has to a degree edged away from simply being a singer-songwriter to that of a recording artiste. That is not to say she wasn’t already but with the likes of Kenny Malone (drums, percussion), Todd Phillips (acoustic bass) and Alison Brown (banjo, guitar) and others in tow Catie has a more rounded and accessible sound.
Other songs of note include the impassioned claw-hammer plied ‘Deliver Me’ and of a rambling, gospel-ish feel ‘Saint Lucy’ has Curtis punch her weight —as Duncan and Marinelli stoke the fire and help Catie kick up a ruckus as her music embraces a pure Americana feel. Is it country, is it folk? We shall call it both since it has the force and verve of something good ol’ country boy Billy Joe Shaver could have written (and been rightly proud of). What fine imagery is pained by Curtis as she throws of the shackles and goes for it.
Heres a Track from Katys last album and here upcoming dates
Here she is in action recently Catie Curtis with Alana Arean & Natalia Zukerman, Hello Stranger, Joe's Pub NY Sept 09
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