CD REVIEW: Kathleen Haskard - Where The Land Meets The Sky
by: Cyrus Rhodes
Artist: Kathleen Haskard
CD: Where The Land Meets The Sky
Label: Independent Artist
Genre: Alternative Folk/Rock, Pop, Singer-Songwriter, Contemporary Christian
Sounds Like: Rosanne Cash, Johnny Cash, Janis Ian, Indigo Girls, CocoRosie, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Sharon Van Etten
Technical Grade: 8/10
Weakness: A Few short sided songs, a few winded songs, more solo segments, Cover Art concept
Kathleen is a native Angeleno. a Californian singer/ songwriter and political activist who divides her time between the rooftops of southeast London and a MoHo (motorhome) in a canyon in the Santa Monica Mountains above Ventura County Line. Where The Land Meets The Sky (to be released August 2013) is Kathleen's 3rd album and is her best collection of songs yet. "We built the record around what Kat does naturally & ended up with a vibey, resonant, cinematic sound" With Chuck Prophet back in the producer's chair this record is a kind of coming home for Kathleen. Recorded in North Hollywood, mastered in Echo Park and featuring the likes of Greg Leisz, Tom Freund (Ben Harper), Aidan Hawken, Dan Navarro (Lowen & Navarro), Julie Christensen (Leonard Cohen), Derek Brown (Eels), Don Teschner (Rod Stewart), Lorenzo Martinez (Los Texmaniacs) and of course Chuck himself.
The CD gently takes flight with “I’ll be Your Fool” a smooth intro groove that serves up an inviting vocal groove against impressive Americana fretwork, smooth as silk rhythm section and mesmerizing vocal delivery from Haskard. Track 2 “Untangle This Thing” presents a hypnotic, rock steady moving anthem that serves up a methodical musical build, well placed slide guitar with a passionate melody and delivery with heartfelt vocals from Haskard that flows and ebbs its way through to emotional fruition. Track 3 “Drama in the Dark” delivers a melancholy melody with thought provoking lyrical content against well placed vocal harmonies and gripping music and lyrical content. I would classify this music as classic Americana Folk, with powerful traces of Singer/Songwriter. The production quality runs the gamut and the musicianship of everyone involved is above the bar. Along the way you will notice an array of instrumentation (besides the 4 piece standard) with things like impressive drum/percussive accents, Slide Guitar, mesmerizing solos, solo guitar, well placed keyboard and organ accents, violin, lap steel, piano, sporadic percussion, lush harmonies all built upon a unique sounding rhythm section foundation. Song for song the combination of Haskard’s emotional voice and earthy fretwork is impressive. Now turning our attention over to Haskard - as for her vocal abilities - she is quite impressive. Her musical and vocal style is cut from the cloth of Rosanne Cash, Johnny Cash, Janis Ian, Indigo Girls, CocoRosie, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Sharon Van Etten. Every now and then she reminds me of K.D. Lang. Her voice definitely works well within the confines of this folksy musical catalog. She showcases a bold yet confident Mezzo Soprano vocal ability. I especially like her vocal power when it's called for and also how her voice just sort of flows and ebbs melodically with the music. This is an amazing quality that not many artists can execute. All engineering aspects check out, with crystal clear high end clarity and solid low end frequencies. This mix is amazing! This CD from Haskard delivers 10 compelling tracks all providing an interesting snapshot of a clairvoyant artist with thought provoking lyrical wisdom with gripping messages of truth and passion with rays of hope shining through. From hypnotic “All Your Glory” to the melodic title track, to heartfelt “Flyin’ Blind”to grooving (Where ‘m Gone) and Mother of Earth. this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with track 10 “Please Delete Me” to grooving “”Where I’m) Gone, he perfect wrap for a catalogue like this.
Track 2 feels like an incomplete musical statement to me. All songs over 4 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line. I do wish there were more solo segments throughout. I'm not crazy about the cover art.
I like everything about Kathleen Haskard. She's truly an infectious Folk/Americana artist that possess a rock solid look, sound, appeal, talent and vocal presence. She also is an impressive songwriter, guitarist, songwriter and vocalist. Besides the scrapheap, all songs are sung straight from the heart. Make no bones about it - it took a lot or courage to write and perform some of these these songs. Where The Land Meets The Sky is an impressive catalogue of music. The music is warm, boldly honest and earthy, melancholy, highly passionate. Note for note, song for song this catalogue is extremely consistent and fills the space with what I would describe as powerful musical exuberance.