Katharine Whalen,
Dirty Little Secret
(M.C., 2006)

Singer Katharine Whalen has a Dirty Little Secret; the North Carolina native has never written any of the songs she sang -- until now. On her new CD, released this year -- her 17th, by the way -- she co-wrote seven of the 12 songs.

Much of the album was recorded in the "music barn" on Whalen's farm in Efland, North Carolina. Dirty Little Secret is a collaboration with songwriter, performer and producer David Sale. While the album credits state all of the instruments, many of them along with the various sound effects were done by Sale using a computer. Whalen, who doesn't even own a computer, admits to being amazed at the process.

Dirty Little Secret opens with "The Funnest Game," a song very much reminiscent of Whalen's days with the Squirrel Nut Zippers, a band Whalen formed with her then-husband Jon Mathus. The Squirrel Nut Zippers were popular during the resurgence of swing music in the 1990s. But it doesn't take long for Whalen to depart from those days. While each of the songs on this album have a bit of a different sound, they all fall into the realm of pop jazz -- an area well suited to Whalen's voice.

Overall, Dirty Little Secret is a nice distraction from the hassles of the day.

by Sherrill Fulghum
16 December 2006

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