Kate Markowitz

Map of the World

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Kate Markowitz's arrival as a solo artist is supported by loads of experience singing background vocals for James Taylor, Randy Newman, and scores of others. Map of the World gives her a chance to step out in front of the band and showcase her own vocals and songwriting skills. Markowitz will probably be classified as yet another singer/songwriter, a description that's technically accurate but misleading. Like Rose Smith's Dawn Raiding and Sarah Harmer's You Were Here, she combines literary lyrics with pop production, a marriage that makes the music itself less predictable than the average singer/songwriter effort. "Pride and Vanity" and "Luckier Girls" include a nice mix of guitars, synthesizers/keyboards, strings, and multi-tracked vocals. In many ways this approach points back to the early 1970s when singer/songwriters like Laura Nyro and Newman seemed a bit more adventurous. This connection to the '70s is strengthened with a good cover of "Can We Still Be Friends," a Top 30 hit for Todd Rundgren in 1978. Markowitz brings a light, airy quality to the vocal that matches the emotion of the original without copying its style. There are also neat little touches on Map of the World, like Dan Dugmore's steel work on "These Wheels." Markowitz's debut is yet more evidence that the singer/songwriter genre still has some pizzazz left in it.

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