Albums of revisited songs can be a tricky and unfortunate business, usually ending up either bland or overdone and almost always aimed at the uber-fans, the ones who must have the complete collection.
Catie Curtis’ latest record, Hello, Stranger, is one of the rare exceptions, filled with a handful of re-imagined gems from her catalog and some well-picked covers, making it a delight for listeners, new and old.
Catie’s honeyed voice is accented perfectly by the cast of Americana’s greatest including Stuart Duncan (fiddle, mandolin), Alison Brown (banjo), Todd Phillips (bass), George Marinelli (guitar, mandolin, dobro) and Kenny Malone (percussion), layering her singer-songwriter sensibilities with an alt-country edge.
Rootsy and soulful are the two words that describe the best tracks. There’s her own 100 Miles and My Dad’s Yard alongside Richard Thompson’s Walking On A Wire, Cat Stevens’ Tuesday’s Dead and the civil-rights anthem I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to be Free, originally recorded by Nina Simone. The title track, an old Carter Family tune, finds Catie teaming up with friend and musical compatriot Mary Gauthier. A dash of good-natured fun is added with Don White’s Be Sixteen With Me and the whole record is capped with a stripped-down version of Saint Lucy from 2004’s Dreaming in Romance Languages.
Catie will be on tour for the rest of the year, check tour dates and get more info at CatieCurtis.com.