Kat Danser- Baptized By the Mud review

Danser2013_CDCover-300x300Kat Danser Baptized by the Mud Self-Released; Distributed by Outside Music

It would be nigh impossible to follow the Alberta roots music scene without having heard Kat Danser, a modern practitioner of the bluesiest of the southern tradition. She is a formidable presence on non-commercial radio throughout the area; Baptized By the Mud is Danser’s fourth album and the first to make its way into my hands

Produced by Steve Dawson, this album benefits from his and Danser’s combined understanding of and appreciation for traditional blues and spiritual music. This is a multi-dimensional and spiritual blues excursion, one that is often uplifting, frequently contemplative, and occasionally dark.

Throughout, the guitar playing of Danser and Dawson- both playing slide, Danser also contributing electric reso and Dawson his typical smorg of stringed instruments- stands out. Their evocative performances create a vibrant tapestry of expressive, powerful images and moods within an atmosphere that is simultaneously radiant and smoky- the church of the roadhouse, perhaps.

Danser’s voice is incredible, deep and lusty without a trace of avarice or affectation. There is a little Tracy Nelson here, a bit of Lucinda there, Sweet Honey in the Rock’s spirit abounds- bluesier that Irma Thomas, but no less soulful. Danser isn’t a belter, nor shrinking violet: her singing is controlled and yet spirited. A listen to her gentle rendition of “O’ Mary, Don’t You Weep” provides compelling evidence of the power gained through restraint.

“Sun Goes Down,” the album’s lead track and one of eight songs written by Danser, captures the celebratory spirit of New Orleans. The sensational title track is darker, with lyrics that could be taken in at least a couple different ways: “I am the blessed child that dirt and water made.” “Winsome, Losesome” and “Sweet Baybay” are more playful, the former even boastful in its self-deprecation, within the Delta tradition, while “Notes From the Other Side” calls on the spirit of Ma Rainey to sing “these blues all day and all night.”

Among the non-originals are Rainey’s “Prove It On Me Blues,” Mississippi Fred McDowell’s “You Gotta Move,” and a moving churchblues rendition of “None of Us Are Free.”

Indeed, a joyful blues noise abounds.

Beautiful packaging design by A Man Called Wrycraft makes the CD the way to go…if you care about such.

Visit www.KatDanser.com for a listen.

Thanks for visiting Fervor Coulee. @FervorCoulee on the Tweeter

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