Katie Evans,
A Passing Afternoon
(QV, 2009)

Katie Evans is a young singer/songwriter who moved to Austin, Texas (by way of Ohio and Alaska) several years ago to give the love of her life -- a career in music -- a chance. Her debut CD, A Passing Afternoon is the culmination of years striving to reach her goals. Katie has rather soft vocals and sometimes sounds like Lisa Loeb, another folk-rock singer with a Texas background. (Besides guitar and piano, Katie's MySpace page mentions that she can handle the drums and bass as well.)

My favorite track on the album is "This Hope." The music is led by a simple guitar melody that is occasionally punctuated by some melancholic piano playing. "I don't think you know / what it's like to know someone like you / If the whole world's all one song we'll find each other by the tune / maybe you just needed to get away / from all this anyhow." This song showcases Katie's vocals at their best. She reaches some very pretty highs during the chorus. (I might have misquoted the lyrics, but that is what I hear.)

"Seeing Love" has three backing vocalists -- Vickie Tinker, Jay Smith and Melissa Glaves. Their vocals overshadow Katie's voice, which is unfortunate. This reminds me of Madonna's song "Like a Prayer" when the backing choir upstaged the primary singer at the end of the song. (Otherwise, these two songs are totally unrelated. Katie and Madonna don't sound even remotely alike.)

"Dead Ends" could have been sung by the Sundays back in the early '90s. The music is subdued, yet upbeat. Like the Sundays' slower tracks, most of Katie's vocals are very lowkey, but at times she hits some high notes, breathing some life in to the piece. There are times when Katie backs her own vocals. It is very pretty to listen to -- especially on the simple "la la las" in the chorus.

There is only one song I do not care for on this CD and it is a religious song, "Your Call," that Katie threw on the end of the CD. I do listen to several Christian artists (Jars of Clay, Caedmon's Call and Julie Owens, among others), so my issue is not with the topic. I think "Your Call" is fine until Katie repeats "Help me answer your call ... Jesus" a few too many times. The first several times I heard this song, I found it very grating. I can only guess she hits a note I don't like. After multiple listens, I've found it more bearable, but I still do not care for the song.

For a solo CD, Katie gets a lot of help in the background. She is supported by producer Scot Q. Merry on guitars, bass, mandolin and percussion. Diana Marlowe plays piano. Shannon Bren and Bill Zumwalt can be found on different tracks playing electric guitar. Both Sue Biggs and Jack Will play the violin. Besides the backing vocalists I mentioned earlier, you can also hear the voices of Erika Smith, Alecia Smith, Sydney Smith and Shelby Smith.

Overall, I give Katie Evans first CD, A Passing Afternoon, a passing grade. She is growing in to her voice. It isn't always perfect, but when she hits her notes, you know she has something special. I hope her sophomore album improves even more. If you like folk-rock, Katie Evans is worth checking out.

[ visit the artist online ]

review by
Wil Owen

20 February 2010

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