Since her debut album Sunrise (2005), Kathleen Grace has mixed jazz, blues, folk, country, pop and show tunes, drawing on such diverse artists as George and Ira Gershwin, Johnny Mercer, Michel Legrand and Randy Newman to supplement her own compositions. Drawing comparisons to artists such as Jo Stafford, Jane Monheit, Nancy Wilson and Joni Mitchell, her subsequent releases Songbird (2007), Mirror (2008) and No Place To Fall (2013) combined intelligent selections with new directions and varied musicians.
Grace’s recent emergence from a long-term relationship resulted in a programme of pared-down songs conveying her sense of loss and rediscovery, and she invited Grammy-nominated pianist Larry Goldings to help produce her fifth offering, Tie Me To You. The pair recorded for a year at the Carriage House studio in Silver Lake, Los Angeles, founded in 2003 by Sheldon Gomberg who helmed No Place To Fall.
Of three originals here, the sombre Grace-and-Goldings title track starts on establishing piano chords and Gabe Witcher’s high violin harmonies before giving way to fragile, repeating vocals, plaintive keyboard runs and David Piltch’s playful bass lines, while the singer’s Everywhere showcases more sublime violin accompaniment, ushering in a pop/country mood. Embarcardero, co-written by Grace and Darek Oleszkiewicz (who plays bass here), sets violin and tinkling glockenspiel against Goldings’ understated piano.
Covers highlights include a fabulous, upbeat take on the Rodgers & Hart standard Where Or When, with its relaxed vocal delivery, buoyant keyboards and improvisational piano section; a sparse reading of the traditional John The Revelator; the wistful Berceuse, popularised by French chanteuse Francoise Hardy in the 1970s, delivered here with charm and sensitivity; and a bright, introspective take on the Beatles’ I’ll Follow The Sun.
This solid if pensive album could have included more “up” tunes, but the originals are well composed, the covers solidly rearranged and the musicianship and singing of the highest standard.
Tie Me To You; Where Or When; Everywhere; John The Revelator; Berceuse (Valsa Para Uma Menininha); The Thrill Is Gone; Embarcardero; Love For Sale; What’ll I Do; I’ll Follow The Sun (39.59)
Grace (v, g); Goldings (p, kyb, org, pckt p, gl); David Piltch (b); Gabe Witcher (vn); Darek Oleszkiewicz (b, 7). Los Angeles, 2019.