Kathy Kallick

A Warmer Kind of Blue

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When it comes to bluegrass, old-timey, and folk, there are many variations and cross pollinations that are only appreciated by insiders. The Kathy Kallick Band's A Warmer Kind of Blue will probably be filed in the bluegrass section at the local record mart, but the album is too expansive and creative to be seen as just another bluegrass album. Sure, "That's How I Can Count On You" will probably remind listeners of a number of other bluegrass songs featuring a female lead. But even here, at the album's most typical moment, Kallick never sounds as though she's trying to position herself as another Alison Krauss or Rhonda Vincent. Instead, her vocal style could be described as natural. Kallick adds lots of soul to a song like "God Gave Noah the Rainbow Sign" without feeling that she needs to add more "country" to her voice than it already has. The band -- Kallick on guitar, Tom Bekeny on mandolin, Avram Siegel on banjo, Amy Stenberg on bass, and Brian Wicklund on fiddle -- plays in a similar down-to-earth style, backing Kallick's lead with a rich acoustic mesh and lovely harmony. The songs, from Hank Williams' "Honky Tonk Blues" to fresh originals like the sparkling title cut, are first-rate, making A Warmer Kind of Blue an artistic success from start to finish.

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