In this week’s column I review the excellent new album- out this coming Tuesday- from Yukon-based singer-songwriter Kim Beggs. It’s a corker; spend some money on a singer who is well deserving of the support. Albums only occassionally impact me the way this one did; from first listen, I knew Beggs was a singer I want to hear more from. Thanks for visiting Fervor Coulee. Donald
Roots music column, originally published July 16, 2010 in the Red Deer Advocate
Kim Beggs Blue Bones Black Hen Music
Based in Whitehorse, Kim Beggs has lived across our country and her music captures the influences that have contributed to her development as a singer and writer.
Apparent from the opening track, the organ-fueled road warrior lament “Honey and Crumbs”, is that Beggs has more homespun charm in her voice than many Appalachian-born singers. Not only does her voice contain attractive, easy warmth, but it has strength and depth lending Beggs the power to authentically convey intense emotions.
Based in folk traditions, Beggs’ third release defies easy categorization. The instrumentation is roots rock with country overtones. Lyrically, lively wordplay reminiscent of Loretta Lynn is customary. Has anyone attempted the following in a country song, as Beggs does within “Terrible Valentine”?: “Huck-tuu to you for making me blue, I wanna spit in your shoe!”
Beggs and producer Steve Dawson have structured this collection wisely. The original songs blast out of the gate, establishing Beggs’ voice and perspective. It is only midway that covers are sprinkled in, beginning with Dylan’s “I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight”; it is difficult to imagine a finer interpretation of the John Wesley Harding classic.
There is a spry loneliness filling these songs. The bitterness, however, doesn’t overwhelm either Beggs or the listener; in the finest country tradition, she sounds plum pleased to be singing these occasionally mournful tales. She hits the mark throughout the collection, perhaps never more accurately as when singing of her lost brother in “Firewater Bones.”
Available Tuesday, Blue Bones maintains the new standard for western Canadian folk music established by John Wort Hannam, Maria Dunn, and Rae Spoon.
Also in rotation: Jimmy Webb- Just Across the River; The Wilderness of Manitoba- When You Left the Fire; Mississippi Live- Mississippi Live ; Various Artists- Putumayo Presents Tribute to a Reggae Legend; Great American Taxi- Reckless Habits