Kim Barlow

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Gingerbread Review

by Frank Eisenhuth

After her impressive debut Humminah from 1999, Kim Barlow managed to top expectations with the follow-up, Gingerbread, released in 2001. She continues to pursue her very unique and focused style, which always avoids sounding as uniform as other "folksie" tunes and bands. The title track, a quite philosophical reworking of the known Brothers Grimm fairy tale of Hansel and Gretel, could easily be an alternative dance hit. "Bicker Fable," a mythical tale on how Barlow's favorite instrument, the cello, came into being, gets quite a treatment by a simple but effective cello riff and an unusual accompanying line-up of two basses (five-string fretless and slide bass), drums and harmonica. And "Waterfall," performed only with Barlow's voice, her banjo, and the kora of Daniel Janke (perhaps the only non-African kora player), radiates such a haunting beauty that it is really difficult not to spin this album again and again. With Gingerbread, Kim Barlow firmly establishes herself as one of the most promising Canadian talents of the first decade of this new millennium. There is not one moment boredom on this album.

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