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Monday, December 22, 2008

Review: Rebecca Katz - Spendin On Today

Rebecca Katz – Spendin’ On Today
2007, RKatz Music

Boston’s Rebecca Katz is something of an anomaly as a songwriter. Rather than adhering strictly to a folk or pop tradition, Katz has chosen a much more difficult and rewarding path. Harkening back to the age-old troubadour tradition, Katz blends stories, anecdotes and music into a blend of entertainment that is both glorious song craft and something that is greater than the sum of its integral parts. Katz lights up the room as a performer and can draw out the music fan in even the curmudgeonliest of listeners. Her debut album, Spendin’ On Today shows off the songwriter/storyteller side of Katz in phenomenal fashion. You need to hear this.

Rebecca Katz makes you feel at home right from the opening notes of Spendin' On Today. Her warm, rich alto voice is a tonic for all that ails you. Opening with If You See The One, Katz mixes heartfelt angst and humor to convey that sometimes the right person can come along at the wrong time. (If you see the one that I could love / just give him a push in the wrong direction / 'cause I've been waiting so long / I just spent the last of my affection.) The Real Thing is perhaps the perfect wedding song. So many wedding songs get picked because of a chorus or a verse that rings true and often other parts of the song run very much counter to the occasion. The Real Thing is the sort of song you could use as a first dance song without question or pause. It's incredibly well written, heart-felt and touching.

Katz moves on to This Story (The Maid & The Sailor). This Story is an epic story song in the tradition of the great folk troubadours. The acoustic guitar here serves as more of a meter to Katz' story than anything else. Her voice shapes the words as smoothly as a Vegas dealer laying cards on the table. To Donnie is a little more dynamic, reflecting distinct affection for the protagonist. Kiss Me Goodnight is another potential signature song. Katz memorializes in less than four-and-a-half minutes all that is important about a loving relationship. It's almost the anecdote to Sheryl Crow's Strong Enough. Rather than challenging, Katz simply asks for what she needs in one of the sweetest realistic love songs you'll hear in 2008. Spendin' On Today closes with Home Again, an a cappella tune that would work wonderfully well with a gospel choir. It's a great song, but is just a little too bare when done a cappella.

Rebecca Katz comes out of nowhere with what is undeniably one of the best folk albums I've heard this year. If there is any complaint one can make its that at six songs it’s just too short. Spendin' On Today is warm and rich, with a heart-on-the-sleeve tendency that smacks of Nanci Griffith or Dar Williams. Katz' voice is glorious and her delivery is spot-on. Great songs and a primo performance make Spendin' On Today a must have. It's a Wildy's World Certified Desert Island Disc. You don't want to let this one get by you.

Rating: 5 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about Rebecca Katz at, where you can purchase a copy of Spendin’ On Today.

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