When I received this album to review, the first thing that I noted on the PR notes that accompanied the CD was this quote from Ralph McTell. "Katie's guitar playing has echoes of my dear friend the late great Bert Jansch. Like a musical weaver she threads her poetic lyrics through the guitar's strings and produces little tapestries of song." The older I get it seems the more cynical I get so I thought "Oh Yeah." But Ralph is spot on! Katie is a superb guitarist with a subtle and sensitive voice to match her skilful playing.
Described as a progressive folk singer songwriter, Katie like me lives in Yorkshire and gets her inspiration from this stunningly beautiful county. All but one of the songs on "Weather Beaten" have been written by Katie and all are delivered with an uncomplicated but skilful guitar accompaniment. I am a fan of the instrument anyway and Katie's playing hits the spot on each and every track.
The opening track's intro got me hooked immediately. Thirty seconds of guitar magic before Katie's voice takes over. It truly is a great opener.
Music is very much a personal thing and it is rare that two people will agree on the quality of certain songs. Once again referring to the PR notes that came with the album, it recommends three tracks in particular. The first of these "Hello Sun" is, for me, not in the top 3 although having seen and heard Katie song it on YouTube, I do like it. It features some great guitar playing and a vocal that sees Katie using a story telling style as much as singing. The second recommended track "Helsa" is a delightful instrumental showing off Katie's guitar playing to perfection. The third is the fabulous "Too High Alone" which includes a wonderful bit of clarinet played by Martin Winning.
"Weather Beaten" closes with "The Hunter" which rather surprisingly takes the beat level up a notch or two and will definitely leave the listener wanting more from this very accomplished lady. If you like quality folk guitar playing and singing, all interwoven with thoughtful and clever lyrics, you will love this album and, like me, be blown away by Katie Spencer.
For the record, I know, that's a terrible pun, my favourite three tracks are "Incense Skin," the title track "Weather Beaten" and "the aforementioned "Too High Alone." All the tracks on here however are an absolute joy to listen to. Katie is currently on an extensive UK tour ending in May, performing both as the headline act and as support for other acts. I have no doubt that she will end the tour with a whole new group of fans. She certainly has a very mature stage presence which belies her age if the clip on YouTube is anything to go by.
|Michael Mcdermott: Orphans||Tristan Mackay: Invisible Light|
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