Thursday, January 23, 2014

Susan Cattaneo "Haunted Heart" album review

Mainstream popular country is not my a matter of fact it is pretty much the furthest thing from what I aspire to be as a musician. But when a friend asks you to review a record, you do I suppose. After listening, I have to say that I am completely and totally proven to be wrong with Susan Cattaneo's new release. Sure, there are hints of popular country in her style, swagger and writing...but this isn't no Taylor Swift garbage. These are some well written and contemplative songs.

There is a vast tapestry of sound going on here curated by a line up of star session players. A bit darker than Cattaneo's previous work in sound and content, which I am a fan of. There are still some stereo-typcical country tunes and context, like barroom stomper "Worth the Whiskey" and the steel driven "How A Cowboy Says Goodbye", but a lot of this material seems to come from a very genuine, haunting and emotional place.

'Barn Burning' is a track with a killer groove. A heavy drum thumbing, gravely guitar and that "theres a baaaaaarn burning" turnaround that completes the phrasing perfect. An artfully simple arranged song that just plain works.

There’s an orange haze to the sky
Looks just like the night is on fire
Wind carries the smoke for miles
Raise the alarm
There’s a barn burning 

'Done Better' is another stand out track to my ear. I love a good piano tune. This is the kind of thing that I could see in a movie when the protagonist is understanding that they screwed stuff up and is going to get his lady back, or make amends with his buddy, or something. Commercial global appeal is something that I think Susan strives for and she nailed it right on the head with this particular song.

The one major objection I could say, is a personal choice, and that's the length of the record coming in at 15 songs. Personally I really enjoy tight, concise records. 10 is my ideal, I can deal with 12. That being said, I think that Susan had a plan and she stuck with it filling the 15 tracks with the best music possible played extremely well by her band. Maybe that's just my own gripe that I have to deal with!

I think this is a very strong showing from this lady. Unlike so many artists in the world today, Susan has a clear vision and knows what she is aiming for and does so very well. She is a confident songwriter and knows where she shines while capitalizing on those strengths, a smart lady! Folk, country, Americana, whatever you want to call it, it doesn't really matter when the songs are crafted thoughtfully and the band plays the tunes so damn well.

Check Susan Cattaneo out online at:

No comments:

Post a Comment