Various Artists – Loving Takes This Course: A Tribute to the Songs of Kath Bloom

January 01, 1970

(Chapter Music)


Kath Bloom, who has been recording off and on with little
national attention since the early 1980s, may just be the purest, most natural
heir to the literate confessional songwriting of Joni Mitchell’s Blue that America
has. At the same time, the ever-present mournfulness of her songs, full of
minor-key melancholy and a raw folksiness, strongly connects her to Appalachian
and British traditional balladry. (She’s actually the daughter of an
accomplished oboist and a trained cellist, so she’s hardly a backwoods gal.) As
she begins to try for a higher profile – she released a new album last year and
has started to tour – she’s a perfect candidate for a tribute album.


While she probably deserves to get the kind of big stars a
Mitchell tribute would garner (where’s Diana Krall, for instance?), she does
get some freak-folkers and post-rock balladeers well-suited for her material.
Mark Kozelek gently, solemnly probes into the darkness of “Finally” while
Marianne Dissard’s whispery voice hauntingly meshes sublimely with the guitar
and banjo of Calexico’s Joey Burns on “It’s So Hard to Come Home.” Overall, the
album has too many female singers using quietly conversational, halting voices
with stark accompaniment. But it keeps managing to evade monotony with a gem
like clear-voiced Mia Doi Todd’s “Ready or Not,” Devendra Banhart’s
multi-tracked, good-spirited Motownish take on “Forget About Him,” and Bill
Callahan’s stunning interpretation of one of Bloom’s scariest and most personal
songs, “The Breeze/My Baby Cries.”


The second disc of this two-disc set has Bloom’s original
versions, which deserve to be heard by a far larger audience than presently
knows them.


Standout Tracks: “Come
Here,” “The Breeze/My Baby Cries” STEVEN ROSEN


Leave a Reply