Archive for the ‘Kat Danser’ Tag

Favourite Blues Albums of 2018   1 comment


I don’t listen to a lot of blues, and almost all that does come my way is via a small handful of supportive PR houses. To their credit, they are discriminating. Still, a lot of the (mostly) electric blues that I encounter leaves me cold. My preferred style of blues is (usually) of the acoustic-based, singer-songwriter type. That and blues that comes with a heavy dose of rhythm ‘n’ soul. These are the finest of the forty or fifty blues (and blues-ish) albums that came my way during 2018.

Take it for what it is:

1. Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar- Run To Me reviewed here

2. Rory Block- A Woman’s Soul: A Tribute to Bessie Smith reviewed here

3. Sue Foley- The Ice Queen reviewed here

4. Joyann Parker- Hard to Love reviewed here

 5. John Akapo- Paradise Blues reviewed here

6. Brandon Isaak- Rise ‘n’ Shine Gritty and groovy folk-blues with just a touch of grease. Atmospheric and engaging, Brandon Isaak is a terrific songwriter and performer. Enjoyed this one immensely.

7. Emily Burgess- Are We In Love? reviewed here

8. Trudy Lynn- Blues Keep Knockin’ reviewed here

9. Kat Danser- Goin’ Gone reviewed here

10. Suzie Vinnick- Shake The Love Around reviewed here

Ed. Note: I only purchased Shemekia Copeland’s America’s Child in the final days of 2018, and couldn’t include it on this list which was prepared at the beginning of December. A lot of good things have been said about the album, and I will add to it: smart, blistering takes of the country to our south- Copeland goes deeper than most blues artists, and not just one a select song or two. I need to listen to her more, and to this album, of course, but Copeland reminds me of Rosanne Cash- unafraid to take on the world that is darkening around her. God, can she sing! Of course, produced by Will Kimbrough, further strengthening my argument that he is involved in just about every album worth listening to- he is also all over Mary Gauthier’s Rifles and Rosary Beads. Had I listened earlier, Copeland’s album would easily be in my Blues top 5, and likely in my Singer-Songwriter/Roots Top 20. Brilliant album.

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Kat Danser- Goin’ Gone review   1 comment

KatKat Danser Goin’ Gone Black Hen Music KatDanser.com

“Jumpin’ on the IV and II, hanging on the voodoo groove,” Dr. Kat Danser sings just a few moments into Goin’ Gone, her fifth album and second in a row in partnership with Steve Dawson—and first for his Black Hen label.

With the declaration made within “Voodoo Groove,” Alberta’s undisputed Swamp Blues Queen puts forth her road hewn CV: she is grindin’ it smooth and castin’ a juju spell…whatever that exactly means. To me, it is an assurance of razor-sharp, unabashed southern-influenced blues.

Individual credits are not provided, but between Danser and Dawson, the pair float their guitars over and through deep grooves established by Jeremy Holmes (bass and mandolin) and Gary Craig (drums and percussion) with substantial accoutrement from Jim Hoke (saxophone and harmonica) and Matt Combs (fiddle and mandolin). One can lose oneself in this meaty gumbo, overcome with the variety of aural flavours spicing their collaborative concoction.

Mississippi Fred McDowell’s “Train I Ride” is transformed, with Hoke’s brass notes playing off extended slide phrases and Danser’s sultry, yearning vocal. “Memphis, Tennessee” is a challenge, the city defending itself despite troubled history: “I made the blues on Beale Street when cowards covered their heads in sheets, and I do as I please because I am Memphis, Tennessee.”

I can’t figure out what the hell “Kansas City Blues” is about—a city ill-prepared for a snowstorm? Hattie McDaniel? A lover crushed by heartbreak? No matter, Danser’s voice is in top form on this crooning blues, as she is on the more straightforward title track and the light yet feisty “Chevrolet Car.”

Nothing is left to interpretation within “Hol’ Up Baby;” Danser ain’t done with her lover quite yet: “Maybe I ain’t always been true, but I ain’t over you.” Danser comes home on “My Town,” capturing the dichotomy of knowing (and loving) a place so well that it hurts to see its truths.

Reflecting the current political and social climate, “Light the Flame” is as close to rock ‘n’ roll as I think Danser comfortably ventures, and it is a compelling call to action —neither myopic nor ham-fisted. A coda of sorts, “Time For Me To Go” eases her listeners into the night, a farewell until we next hear from this northern master of the natch’l blues.

With Baptized By The Mud of 2013 establishing her bone fides to a more prominent degree, Kat Danser had a high mark to achieve with its follow-up recording. She has met and exceeded any expectations with Goin’ Gone, a testament to her maturity as a vocalist, songwriter, and guitarist. Teaming with the likes of Steve Dawson is seldom a regretful decision; together they have created a unified and convincing argument that further elevates Danser within the crowded blues field.

 

Kat Danser- Baptized By the Mud review   1 comment

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.

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