Dayna Kurtz

Another Black Feather

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Dayna Kurtz is the kind of artist who inspires wild-eyed zealotry among her fans, and there are three reasons for it: One, she's an artist's artist, one whose whiskeyed, determined alto often earns her comparisons with Nina Simone; two, while Europeans adore her, she's obscenely underappreciated in her own country; and three, her songs, which straddle a difficult space between jazz, rock, and folk, are pure poetry. Another Black Feather, her third full-length, merits still more whipping up of the faithful. Each of these 11 tracks arrives swathed in soul-derived, deeply held meaning, and each follows lyrical twists that deliver a listener to places in her own heart she might not have had occasion to visit otherwise. There is sadness ("It's the Day of Atonement, 2001"), regret ("Venezuela," "Nola"), and tenderness ("All Over Again"), but most of all there is beauty; a common thread. Kurtz chooses her backing players as carefully as her words, and here they display an audible knowingness of her character -- when her mood shifts, they match it with idiosyncratic mastery. Another Black Feather owes its artist instant stardom. If that's unattainable, it should at least earn her the one descriptor all serious artists strive for: important.

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