CD review: Karin Blaine – Modern Day Living
Consider yourself fortunate if you catch Karin Blaine live. Well, actually, that will be an automatic response. This woman is not only a good song writer and player; she is a very good entertainer. She plays, sings, and will make you laugh between songs, songs she writes that concern her and the world she finds herself living in. A modern day woman writing and singing about Modern Day Living, which is the title of her new CD.
As a nominee of Best New Folk Artist in 1990 by the Northwest Area Musician Association, Karin writes and sings with clarity and a sense of the poetic. She knows how to craft her music well, and delivers it clearly. A reminder of the folk queens: Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, Judy Collins, and yet a little Grace Slick, Tracy Chapman, and Don McLean, with a jazz edge thrown in. She isn’t imitating anyone, nor has she lost her edge since her nomination. Oh contraire.
This new CD is a snapshot of her life over the last eight years, and in these songs there is plenty of variation. Straight Line has a wonderful tension/release aspect to it, so appropriate for a song about relationship. A bit of a bluesy funk rhythm is the foundation of Wha Da Ya Got?, the blues remains in Greed, and a song about Julian Assange, makes at least three songs with a cultural message. Folkies old and new will love that! Then she can turn around and evoke the sadness and tears of a breakup with Wild Red Roses, What Was I Thinking? and, Box of Letters. A jazzy feel accompanies a delightful To the Moon, the song foil of Wild Red Roses. That same jazz tinge, with a little bit of the Beatles construction, is what comes out in Deepest End. And in the end, she can have fun, as she demonstrates in her comically poignant title track, Modern Day Living.
This CD is her third, following her 2003 release of Dirty Money, a CD of covers except for the title track, which she wrote, and that CD was preceded by her 1989 self titled cassette, where she wrote 9 of the 11 songs.
You will find that there is a seamless integrity between what she records and what she plays live, and that is what makes Karin Blaine worth seeing, and her CDs worth owning. Her personality is genuine, as a live performance will demonstrate. Karin Blaine is relevant in Modern Day Living.