KATHY KALLICK: Cut To The Chase (Live Oak Records)
KATHY KALLICK BAND:
Between the Hollow & the High-Rise (Live Oak Records)
“Between the Hollow & the High-Rise” must rank among the finest of [Kallick’s albums]. Focused more than most bluegrass recordings on strong melodies, it attests eloquently to Kallick’s strengths as a vocalist, songwriter, and picker of others’ material. The covers are generally recognizable to those who’ve put in a lot of bluegrass listening — for example, Josh Graves’ wistfully romantic “Come Walk with Me,” the Louvin Brothers’ energetic gospel “There’s a Higher Power,” the playful folk song “Cindy” (curiously, rarer in the bluegrass repertoire than one might suppose) — but they’re none of them exhausted and unwelcome. Besides, the band’s impeccably restrained picking and heart-catching harmonies are not there to be resisted. Kallick’s compositional skills are on glad display in six outstanding cuts, my personal favorite being “My House,” a sort of secular treatment of the metaphor Stuart Hamblen employed in the gospel standard “This Old House.” The overall effect is a sweet, California-flavored music that is neither too sweet nor too California.
Kathy Kallick is one of the best songwriters in bluegrass and acoustic music, always coming up with interesting, sometimes playful, always sure-handed songs [featuring] conversational yet evocative lyrics and solid bluegrass sensibilities. But this is primarily a band album, and the Kathy Kallick Band is a wonderful combination of youth and experience. It feels like they¹re very comfortable playing together and with playing to the song. All are strong musicians and they create a distinctive band sound.