Kathryn Smith,
With Every Breath I Take
(Kat, 2010)

Kathryn Smith interprets 11 standards here in a refined manner. There is not a lot of overt emotion in her singing, but with her understated style she manages to put a lot of subtle interpretation into the lyrics of her songs.

Her choices are fairly mainstream, including "I Get Along Without You Very Well" and "So Many Stars," but there is nothing that has been done to death. There are a few unusual choices for vocalists that perform standards, like Joni Mitchell's "Urge for Going" and "With Every Breath I Take" by David Joel Zippel and Cy Coleman. Smith's approach is a bit formal, but she adapts her style successfully to all her choices.

Unusually for this type of singing there are no keyboards. Brian Conigliaro fills the spot with acoustic and seven-string guitar, and a bit of mandolin and harmonica. His soft playing meshes well with Smith's singing. He wrote the track "Nothing Beats the Memories," which more than holds its own with the other songs (actually the CD has 10 standards, but this sounds like one).

Michael Goetz plays upright bass, and there are also some vibes, percussion and saxophone.

This CD has a traditional approach, but the excellent production gives it a modern sound that should appeal to listeners of the Great American Songbook.

music review by
Dave Howell

30 October 2010

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