All it takes is 3 chords and a dream!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Kathy Muir - Far From Entirely

Kathy Muir - Far From Entirely
2012, Kathy Muir
Kathy Muir grew up in Edinburgh, Scotland, and like so many other singers cut her teeth on first hymns, and later folk music from her church.  Over time she has garnered significant jazz and blues influences.  These days she writes on the edge of acoustic folk and rock, with a quiet energy that runs throughout her songs.  Those jazz, blues, and occasionally even country influences break through at unexpected times however, meaning you never really know what Kathy Muir might do next.  This unpredictability is highly evident on Muir’s debut album, Far From Entirely.

Muir opens up with the restrained and polished country/pop of Jezebel. This song feels like it should have more weight than it does. Muir's voice is solid, as she stays within a compact, comfortable range. "Heaven In Your Eyes" is a low key, mid- tempo song of love and longing. Intense emotion is conveyed in a diffuse and non-committal arrangement without any real spark.  There's a bit more life to "Sweet And Easy" in spite of the mellow arrangement. Muir is fully engaged here, singing with a quiet passion of the discoveries of new love. Things get a bit funky on "Come Undone", with Muir swinging her way through another love song. The slinky feel is a wake up of sorts, and one of the better musical moments encountered here.

"One Step Away" has a melody that's instantly familiar, but becomes a victim of its own low energy. Things pick up significantly on "Ties Of Love", which has a quietly vibrant chorus and a sense o urgency you can't shake. "Fairytale Lies" has the same urgent energy, as Muir swears off fairy tales as a relationship archetype in a compact country rocker.  Synth rock is the prime directive on "You Surround Me", a pyramidal musical structure based on one simple piano line. Muir builds the sounds through layers, but true crescendo and decrescendo would make this more vital. Muir stumbles through the meandering landscape of "The Piano Plays A Melody". Listeners may feel lost amidst the nearly free- form rhyme structure ad disjointed lyrical constructs used here. Muir closes on a positive note with "Dream Of The Night", a passionate and swarthy rocker that moves with its own inner life.

Kathy Muir lives through some musical highs and lows on Far From Entirely. In her best moments she engages listeners with a solid, comfortable voice and an easy going vocal style. The songwriting is generally well thought out and executed, and any sins noted above are forgivable in the context of the album as a whole. All in all, consider Far From Entirely to be a very cordial introduction to Kathy Muir.
Rating: 3 Stars (Out of 5)
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