KATE LYNNE LOGAN
If you twisted my arm, I’d admit that Echoes is an unusual choice for my album of the month, but it’s hard to resist a voice as gorgeous as that of Seattle-based Kate Lynne Logan. Echoes is an album of quiet power from a singer who instantly puts one in mind of both Patty Griffin and Ruth Moody (Wailin’ Jennys). The opening track*, “Whiskey Sea,” sets the tone. It’s a song about the calm after the storm within a tempestuous relationship: Silent in the upstairs/dark in the rooms/long neck bottles on the floor/rain on the roof/I know I shouldn’t stay inside another night/but I’ve got you on my mind. Ms. Logan sings it with piano accompaniment and a complete lack of pretense, and when you’ve got a voice like hers, why drown it in studio production or diva diversions? “River and theRain” is equally vulnerable” and it too is deliberately paced. Ditto the remaining eight tracks. So if you told me that every track on the album is down tempo and that Echoes could use some changes of pace, I’d agree. Sort of.
I’d admonish, however, to listen for the subtle distinctions—the lonely fiddle in “Afterlife,” the slides and elides in “Embers,” the sweetness of “Calling on Angels,” and the contrasting desperation embedded in a line such as: I can’t stand here watching everything around me die from “Echoes.” “Walkin’ in theWorld” reminds me of a non-trad material from Josienne Clarke and Ben Walker, with the added twist of the contrasting interplay between dark guitar cadences and brighter keyboard notes. The album’s nine tracks are a combination of reworked material from earlier Logan projects, plus new material. She has shared stages with Shawn Colvin and Brandi Carlile, company you don’t keep unless you have the voice worthy of the billing. She’s also fronted a pop-rock band (Back Bar Angel), so instead of calling this a down-tempo album, let’s say that Logan decided to strip away some glitter and keep things simple. Label this one a small gem—a beautiful mix of folk and alt.country that’s nighttime music for grownups.
* This is the first track on the download edition. Oddly, it's the last track on the CD.