Old Fashioned Gal
Siskiyou Music Project closes it’s Fall/Winter Series with a performance by New York based singer-songwriter Kat Edmonson on Friday, February 28 at the Artistic Piano Gallery in Medford. Her latest recording is called Old Fashioned Gal, an album that really couldn’t be called anything else.
Rich in affection for the past but bracingly alive in the present, the 11 original songs on Old Fashioned Gal tell a story––actually, a classic Hollywood “movie” that took shape in Edmonson’s imagination as she began to write them. These songs have all the feeling and the craft, even the entertaining bounce, of the Great American Songbook, from Irving Berlin to Joni Mitchell but they are unmistakably Kat Edmonson’s songs, taking the full measure of her own voice, literally and figuratively. The inimitable voice in which she sings is a musical prism, crystalline and precise, refracting and transforming what shines through it. The voice in which she writes is clear, intensely aware and to the point––an “old fashioned gal” in the here and now.
Edmonson describes her process, “The main ingredients I used to make this record were piano, bass, guitar, and drums; however, there is a 13-piece string orchestra on the album as well as background vocals, horns, woodwind instruments, vibes and other percussion, organ, celesta, harp, ukulele…even a saw! I was trying to achieve the lushness of an MGM musical. In “Canoe,” my lyrics talk about mosquitos and katydids around a lake so, for that song, I went outside one evening and recorded the ambient sounds of insects and frogs. THAT was really fun!”
In little more than a decade, Kat Edmonson has emerged as one of the most distinctive performers in contemporary American music. The Texas native forged her sound performing in small rooms and clubs, then touring worldwide and performing with the likes of Lyle Lovett, Chris Isaak, Jamie Cullum and Gary Clark Jr. Her three previous albums revealed a singer discovering, in her own songs, a repertoire only she could imagine. A critic for the Boston Globe called Way Down Low, her second album, “one of the greatest vocal albums I’ve ever heard.” Her third, The Big Picture, took greater advantage of her songwriting abilities. The Austin Chronicle’s critic noted she “employs lessons gleaned from the Great American Songbook while creating an aura unmistakably her own,” adding that the songs emerge “fresh and dewy … Edmonson’s voice swells and dips and weaves with effortless precision, arresting without belting.