Kate Barclay,
Sunshine From Mars
(Solstice Records, 1999)

When you think about musicians from Vermont, Phish usually comes to mind find. Vermont's Kate Barclay spent time hanging around with the guys from Phish while starting her own musical career.

Her debut CD, Sunshine From Mars, is a blend of folk, rock and jazz. The CD's 12 original songs deal mostly with relationships and social issues. Her voice and musical style could be compared to Jewel.

While Sunshine From Mars has several good songs, there are none that really stand out. The best tracks are the ones that have a more folky approach. "All I Want" features simple romantic lyrics accompanied by Kate's guitar. A similar track, "Hold On," is a song about empowerment and features some of the CD's best melodies and lyrics. "How About You and Me," which describes a troubled relationship, features a nice folk-rock melody. Phish's Trey Anastasio lends his guitar to the track "Stop The Violence," an anti-violence anthem with a somewhat forgettable melody and uninspiring lyrics. The CD's opening track "Tuna Town" features a nice funky blues melody, but is plagued with corny lyrics.

Sunshine From Mars' best qualities are Kate's voice and 12-string guitar playing. I think she still has to find her niche as a songwriter. While her songs aren't bad, there are a bunch of singer-songwriters out there who are making music that is more interesting.

[ by Dave Townsend ]

Buy Sunshine From Mars from Amazon.com.