Kat Danser – Baptized By The Mud | Album Review

katdansercdKat Danser – Baptized By The Mud

Self-Release – 2013


12 tracks; 48 minutes

Canadian Kat Danser sings in a gospel style and plays slide and resonator guitar, accompanied by Steve Dawson on all manner of guitars, Darryl Havers on keys, Geoffrey Hicks on drums, Jeremy Holmes on bass and Dawn Pemberton and Marcus Mosely on backing vocals. The album was recorded in Vancouver, BC and produced by Steve Dawson. Kat wrote most of the material here with four covers.

The material is mainly acoustic and a little one-paced. One of the most upbeat tracks is opener “Sun Goes Down” which moves along nicely in a lively gospel style. Kat sings in a deep, clear voice which suits this song well but tends to wear a little across some of the other songs here, especially the dirge-like title track and “Sweet Baybay”. Another slow song which works better is “Notes From The Other Side”, a particularly strong song, dealing sympathetically with our mortality, in which Kat also name checks Ma Rainey who we can assume is something of a heroine to Kat as she also covers Ma’s risqué “Prove It On Me Blues” in a very clear departure from the generally spiritual feel of the music here; the song is one of the highlights of this set with the 20’s feel re-created by the band and Kat’s vocals spot-on. The traditional “O’ Mary Don’t You Weep” is played at a funereal pace and was disappointing compared with some of the inspired versions of the song we have heard. Another gospel cover is Mississippi Fred McDowell’s “You Gotta Move” which closes the album and rather summarises what Kat is saying here about her faith: “When the call comes for you, you gotta move”. The fourth cover is a strong version of Barry Mann, Cynthia Weil and Brenda Russell’s “None Of Us Are Free” which works well with good backing vocals supporting Kat.

Of the remaining originals “Nothin’ At All” is a gentle song which seeks to demonstrate that without love we are nothing which works fine. “Crazy For You” finds Kat in more secular mode but here her attempt to sing in a lighter voice does not fare well. “Winsome, Losesome” works better in terms of her vocal range and adds some humour to the menu as well: “I need someone who will paddle and feed me Fiddle-Faddle, cuz’ I’m a winsome, losesome kind gal looking for a winsome, losesome kinda pal.”

Overall this album has some good moments. It will probably appeal to those who are keen on predominantly acoustic, roots music with a strong touch of gospel.

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