Kat & CO – Blues Is The New Cool
12 tracks,40 minutes
London based outfit Kat & Co, consist of lead singer and front person Kathleen Pearson. She is a chanteuse with charisma and style who has a fantastic vocal range to say nothing of her awesome stage presence. She is joined by an international band that includes Francesco Accurso on guitar and various other instruments including dobro , piano and cigar box guitar. He also wrote most of the songs. On keyboards and harmonica is Federico Parodi. Mix this together with drumming by Nicholas Owsianka and bass by Marco Marzola and this has the ingredients of a very talented and professional band who certainly bring a new slant to the blues genre.
There are also jazzy tones, funk rock and sassy ballads in their repertoire so something for all tastes. Their previous release I Kat The Blues got a lot of plaudits and recognition. This release of twelve tracks, including two covers, raises the standards in places and mixes raw and cool similarly. It is very uplifting and takes a fresh approach to traditional tunes.
The opener, Albert King’s ” Born Under A Bad Sign” is a case in point. It blasts a heavy drum beat introduction and includes piercing guitar solo and interspersed with newsflashes underpinning the sultry grinding vocals of the confident lead singer. A brave cover as it has been done countless times but not like this , you do get a feel for the City scene on this one.
“Calling Your Name” has a heady mix of Hammond organ throughout with laid back sultry vocals. Tempo is increased on the powerfully angst ridden slide guitar play on the story of a suicide on the ” Bedroom Floor” , this track is full of raw emotion.” Selfish Blues ” puts the listener into the atmosphere of a steamy nightclub with great piano licks underscoring the lyrics. The slow piano introduction on ” Prelude To City Burn” is very short and bursts into a funky groove on ” City Burn” with a catchy chorus and some fine harmonica licks.
Paul Lamb guests on harmonica on the outstanding lament ” Nobody Dies For Love”. It just drips with heartache and pain though in a bizarre way could also double as a James Bond film theme.
We can all get on our knees and testify to the smouldering blues on the organ heavy track ” Whiskey” with the interesting line ” Jesus coming to save the day” .”Shake It All Away” is a hopeful tune with slinky tones. The band’s interpretation to Roosevelt Sykes’ tune “Night Time Is The Right Time” hits a jazzy tone with melodic guitar work matching direct vocals. The penultimate track is a “Piano Interlude” that is short and sweet. The final track ” Low Down”is pure modern blues with a twist in narration and full of passion showcasing a very tight band.
Overall a wonderful release. Well produced and full of different styles and approaches to musical interpretation. Lead singer Kathleen Pearson has a distinct powerful approach to the lyrics and a booming vocal range that is a joy to listen to. This is a band at the top of their game with a sublime mix of talent.
Reviewer Colin Campbell