Kate MacLeod & the Pancakes,
(Waterbug, 2005)

Kate MacLeod is one of those musicians so skilled her performance seems effortless.

Of course this belies the fact that she is one practiced and accomplished artist. Her background includes experience in classical, traditional, bluegrass and Celtic music. She's released several albums, guest fiddled with the Chieftains and played numerous folk festivals. A native of Baltimore, she has lived and worked out of Salt Lake City for many years.

In addition to fiddle, she plays guitar and harmonica and is a songwriter and teacher. You may not know her by name but you've most likely heard some of her songs on NPR and performed by other artists such as folk singer Molly O'Brian and the bluegrass band Loose Ties.

She writes original, contemporary songs of life and struggle that have a distinct folk flavor. Her pure alto voice and traditional Celtic-style fiddling seem natural with these haunting melodies. This album recorded with her band, the Pancakes, offers five of MacLeod's original songs: "Thirst Quencher," "Potter's Wheel," "Autumn," "Love is Gone" and "Balmy Song."

In addition, there are six traditional songs and one each by Jack Hardy and Bob Dylan. Of these I particularly liked Kate's version of "Handsome Molly" and the band's renditions of "No More Cane" and "Whole World Round," particularly the latter where singer-guitarist Mark Hazel teams up with Kate on the vocals. Other members of the band are bassist Barry Carter and drummer/percussionist Cliff Smith.

Breakfast is such a delightful mix of folk-rock and pop that I can hardly wait for Lunch to be served.

by John R. Lindermuth
17 September 2005

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