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Katie Kern has a passion for the blues. Judging by the songs here, her interest is wide. The accent is on the country side of the blues, but she also goes into other terrain. Traversing this wide an area can work if the singer can communicate, otherwise you may well be left with just a bad case of the blues.
Kern comes off par for the course. She picks on Blind Blake for a “Bad Feeling,” and while her vocal styles itself nicely enough to the emotion of the song, it is her guitar picking that stands out. She cuts to the nitty-gritty on Willie Nelson’s “Rainy Day Blues,” her voice worn and weary as she eschews any country manifestations. This stands in contrast to her take on Johnny Cash’s “Hey Porter.” She chugs and flits along, more country than blues; and when it comes to her choice of “Restless”... why, this here song is pure rockabilly! Unfortunately she would have done the right thing in leaving “Cherokee” alone. It misses the mark coming off dull and uninspired.
Kern wrote the title track, an honest-to-goodness close-up look at life and all of its travesties. Sadness permeates the tune, and her slide and bent notes add to the atmospherics. She collaborated on “Last Waltz,” a country tune. This one grabs attention right from the get-go. She sings with a deep commitment here, and it would have been real nice if this trait was manifest in the other songs.