Polly O’Keary and the Rhythm Method – Compass
Veteran Northwest musician and multiple WBS “BB” award winner Polly O’Keary returns to form with her third studio album Compass, featuring guitar ace Seattle Slim and several stellar guests including The Seattle Horns, piano man Arthur Migliazza and IBC winner Kevin Sutton. The disc of eleven new tunes is a mixture of fresh ideas and classic sounds recorded and co-produced by the legendary Conrad Uno at his Egg Studio in Seattle.
At the center is the full force gale of O’Keary’s full throated alto, who clearly pushed herself into new emotional territory as a singer songwriter.
The opening track “Fools Gold,” jumps out with raggedy clavinet funk as O’keary lambastes the bravado of a home wrecker. The soaring trumpet fanfare from Greg Lyons opens the furious spaghetti western blues “Nothing Left To Say.”
The easy swinging 6/8 “Your Honor,” hides the deep blues as O’Keary channels Etta James ,then the trio crank up the shuffle on “Harder Than It Has to Be,” a dance floor filler for certain. Slim leads the way with a gritty riff for “Stop, Train,” then trades barbs with O’Keary’s heavy duty bass playing while drummer Tommy Cook keeps the groove rollin’ on.
The slinky “I’ve Got None,” is a bittersweet nod to Cab Calloway, featuring another great solo from Slim. The semi autobiographical “How The Mighty Fall,” may feel like sour grapes at first but delivers some valuable life lessons. O’Keary allows herself to get intimate during the bedroom confessional “Losing You Again.”
The album closes with an eight minute gospel opus “Let Me Be Kind,” co written by Seattle Slim that builds to a soaring crescendo of wailing horns ,guitars, and Hammond B3 with Lady A adding her vocal testimony to the benediction. Glorious.
Rick J Bowen