CD REVIEW: Katie Ainge - Then Sings My Soul
by: Cyrus Rhodes
Label: Tate Music Group
Genre: Alternative Rock, Pop, Singer-Songwriter, Contemporary Christian
Sounds Like: Jewel, Lisa Loeb, Alanis Morissette, Heather Nova, Jann Arden
Technical Grade: 7/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 7/10
Weakness: Winded Songs, Short Sided CD, Erratic Mix, Repetitive Catalogue, Cryptic Liner Notes, CD Manufacturing
Utah based Singer/Songwriter Katie Ainge (previously known as Arienette) just released her latest CD entitled Then Signs My Soul (2013) Stone Vista Media.
The CD gently takes flight with “He Taught Me” a smooth intro groove that serves up an inviting vocal groove against impressive fretwork, smooth as silk rhythm section and mesmerizing vocal delivery from Ainge. Track 2 “All I Need” presents a hypnotic, slow moving piece that serves up a methodical musical build with a passionate melodic delivery with heartfelt vocals from Ainge that flows and ebbs its way through to emotional fruition. Track 3 “Giving You Control” delivers an upbeat melody with impressive percussion, thought provoking lyrical content and hypnotic vocal delivery. 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 percussive accents, Xylophone, Piano, Strings, mesmerizing solos, solo guitar, lush harmonies all built upon a solid rhythm section foundation. Song for song the combination of Ainge’s emotional voice and poppy fretwork is impressive. Now turning our attention over to Ainge - as for her vocal abilities - she is quite impressive. Her vocal style is cut from the cloth of Jewel, Lisa Loeb, Alanis Morissette, Heather Nova, Jann Arden and a dash of Bjork and Florence and the Machine. It definitely works well within the confines of this Contemporary Christian catalogue. Ainge’s impressive vibrato, falsetto and overall vocal passion clearly showcases a strong and confident Mezzo Soprano vocal ability. I especially like how her voice just sort of flows and ebbs melodically with the music. This is an amazing quality that not many artists can execute. This CD from Ainge delivers 8 compelling tracks all providing an interesting snapshot of a clairvoyant artist with thought provoking lyrical wisdom with messages of hope and praise that are positive and passionate. From heartfelt “Designed” to melodic “He is Here” The CD ends with track 8 “Life up My Ears” the perfect wrap for a catalogue like this.
All Songs over 4 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line. The CD is a bit shot with it’s 8 song line-up. The 3 Panel Interleave foldout is made of low quality paper and materials. There is no detailed information within the liner notes on who the Production Engineers were (Recording, Mixing, Mastering). Also missing are any indication who the Producers and Session Players were. This is a bit unorthodox. The mix, though adequate is not the best most polished sounding mix I’ve ever heard. As a result it’s a bit off kilter especially when played on high end stereo systems. I detected some minor timing errors on Track 2. It’s fair to say this CD is a bit repetitive overall. Some of the aforementioned issues are not typical of Gold Stands CD releases in 2013.
I like everything about Katie Ainge. She's truly an infectious artist that possess a "Gold Standard" - look, sound, appeal, talent and vocal presence. She also is an impressive songwriter, guitarist and vocalist. From start to finish Then Sings My Soul is an impressive catalogue of music. The music is warm and earthy, highly passionate, uplifting and very passionate. The pin drop moments are amazing, and her falsetto is to die for. The songwriting is an interesting snapshot of music from a clairvoyant artist that has quite a lot to offer. All songs are consistent musical experiences. Note for note, song for song this catalogue is extremely consistent and fills the space with what I would describe as peaceful musical exuberance...