22-year-old Scottish singer-songwriter Katee kross is an artist we’ve featured twice on Belles and Gals in the past. With intelligent and stimulating lyrics and a sound that mixes several genres including traditional country, Americana and blues, he’s definitely someone whose music ticks a lot of boxes as far as I’m concerned.
Having released three albums independently already, a pretty prolific production I’m sure you will agree, she is back in the studio and her latest collection “Show Your Hand” which was partially funded by Creative Scotland is due out on February 22nd. . She gave us a taste of what’s to come via the album’s lead single, the title track, a few weeks ago, a really energetic song, on guitar and banjo that also showcases her vocals. strong with its impressive range. Sonically, it reminded me of the wonderful California-based Eve Selis, a Bob Harris favorite, which can’t be a bad comparison!
The ten songs on the album were all written by Katie o’neil (it’s Katee Kross!), Ross barron and Peter O’Neil, the trio under the writing name OBO. Ross is Katee’s Extremely accomplished guitarist, whose solos definitely stand out on several tracks. She uses session musicians in other capacities and I love the flexibility and variety that this setup allows when it comes to arrangements on her albums, this one being no exception. I particularly appreciated the choice of instrumentation throughout this release which often leans towards the traditional country sound that I love.
Katee seems to be the kind of artist whose tracks on the album are thematically related in some way or another, and listening to this latest collection the idea I got was that these write the genre around a relationship, viewed from different angles and during its different stages. It remains to be seen if my thoughts align with Katee’s description but hey, the songs can be open to interpretation and that’s what helps make them interesting for me!
I have to say that the album was definitely a “grower” for me, several tracks sprang up and resonated immediately but the more I listened the more I appreciated it in its entirety. And generally that’s a good sign, hearing different things is something I really enjoy when it comes to music, whether it’s new or familiar.
So, assuming my theory of “relation” is at least in part what Katee had in mind when creating this album, these are the tracks that focus on the breaking phase that were among my immediate favorites and remain so, I’m a sad song fan and think the ballads here are fine Katee’s singing particularly well. The reflection “Dancing With My Past” immediately resonated, one of the slowest songs with painfully beautiful steel among the instrumentation in which Katee sings with such sincere emotion about “lying with my broken heart on the floor”And being unable to move on, a pretty relevant topic for many I guess.
And “Never Meant To Be Forever” really pulled my heart chords too, although a relatively fast-paced song whose underlying message cleverly belies its cheerful vibe.
Among the more uplifting songs, I love how the sequencing of the album sees it ending on a high note with its last two tracks. If “What Will Be” has a little air of resignation, it also conveys a message of acceptance… yes, things stop but it’s time to move on and look to the future. Then a brilliantly funky guitar riff brings the album up close, the blues / rock infused “Keep on Keepin ‘On” as the opening, it is sung with a fantastic attack and its message to go away. heads up can refer not only to a split but also to ignoring those who criticize you … a topic that “Two Outlaws” and “Still The People Talk” each tackle in their own way, the former dreamy and atmospheric while the latter is comes with a lot more attitude and venom.
Bang in the middle of the album, “Bumblebee” also delivers a positive message, portraying a happy image of chasing the clouds and taking the time to enjoy the simple things in life … really sweet for sure! Credited as being written “for Caiden”, this is, I guess, one of the more personal pieces.
One last cry has to go to “Please Stay”, such a melancholy and pleading song and its Texas Two – Step beat is perfect, it really transported me across the pond to a honky tonk bar or club such as Austin’s iconic “Broken Spoke”. .
Yes, this album release will undoubtedly appeal to Katee’s substantial fan base and hopefully with a series of shows on the horizon, it will help ensure that her music reaches new ears. The album launch show is at the Webster Theater in Glasgow on February 22 (tickets available here https://townkrossmedia.com/product/382982) and a few days later Katee is going to London for “Nashville Meets London” where I am delighted to see her perform for the first time. Other dates already confirmed are a set at this year’s Buckle and Boots Festival… other dates as well as more information about the artist can be found at www.kateekross.com
Show Your Hand Track List
Show your hand
Diamonds in the dust
Dancing with my past
People are still talking
Never meant to be forever
What will be
Keep on keeping ‘on
Review written by Lesley Hastings (twitter.com/lesleyhastings)