Kat Danser – One Eye Open: Album Review

This collection of blues styles from Kat Danser won’t get you down but provide a much-needed lift with polished music and poignant lyrics at the beginning of the year. 

Release date:  19th February 2021

Label:  Black Hen Music

Format:  CD / DL and stream

The stylish swinging blues opener Way I Like It Done shows you exactly how it should be done. Simple but effective, a slight fuzziness to the guitar solo adds a  new twist amidst the excellent brass, rhythm section and vocals puts us in that smoky atmosphere ideal for listening to the blues.

The rhythm may be slow and plodding in Lonely And The Dragon but the swampy heat of the Mississippi delta comes through strong in the hands of  Kat’s support band gleaned from the finest of roots musicians.

New Orleans blues meets Afro- Cuban jazz throughout,  the only exception being Kat’s growling punk protest in One Eye Open. Patti Smith sings the Blues? The mood is lightened when we shuffle through Trainwreck before Kat displays how adept she is at performing a wide range of vocal style with a Patsy Cline type ballad, with wailing country violin and pedal steel guitar for Please Don’t Cry.  There seems no end to her vocal talents. Christine Mc Vie comes to mind in End Of Days enhanced by a brief churchy organ solo, which erupts from the accompaniment.

A  Latin rhythm and vocal in Mi Corazan complete an album on which Kat adds her own blends to serve up on this platter of glorious traditional blues tunes mostly penned by herself.

It’s hard to believe that due to obvious restrictions these artists weren’t recording together but thousands of miles apart across continents and sea. They seem to be responding to each other as though it’s a live gig. The main nucleus of the group guitarist/producer Steve Dawson, Gary Craig on drums and bass provided by Jeremy Holmes were joined on most of the tracks by a horn section comprising of Dominic Conway, Jeremy Cook and Malcolm Aiken. The meticulous keyboards were provided by Kevin McKendree. 

Kat is just at home with her own material as she is with a cover version of Gus Cannon’s  Bring  It With You When You Come and her passionate rendition of Get Right, Church by Jessie Mae Hemphill.

Using the blues medium Kat makes a poignant comment  in her lyrics as she admits: “the blues gives us a place to bring all our hope and sorrow.”

It has been said of Kat that:“her swampy roots and blues style is a fine-tuned reflection of life lessons from the road.”  She “doesn’t just play the blues – she studies it, lives it, breathes it.”

This album is full testament to that. 

Kat Danser online: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Youtube

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