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Kathleen Grace with Larry Goldings: Tie Me to You (Monsoon)

A review of the singer's album with the pianist/organist

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Kathleen Grace with Larry Goldings: Tie Me to You
The cover of Tie Me to You by Kathleen Grace with Larry Goldings

For singer Kathleen Grace, vulnerability is a crucial virtue. Exploring themes of loss, discovery, love’s impermanence, and the need for personal reconstitution, she brings spare elegance to the fore during these highly affecting performances.

Working closely with pianist/organist Larry Goldings, Grace often strips pieces down to their essence. In many cases, all that remains is the naked heart of a woman in a state of becoming—and the primary supports required for her journey. During the intimate title track, co-written by Grace and Goldings, those supports basically amount to some harpsichord-esque tack piano and string atmospherics. For the country-folk of the singer’s “Everywhere,” it’s her guitar and Gabe Witcher’s now-prominent violin. And on Darek Oleszkiewicz’s alluring “Embarcadero” (with lyrics from Grace), it’s the composer’s Argentine bass lines, with some light coloring around the edges.      

The remaining songs are mostly familiar, but few appear in expected form. Rodgers & Hart’s “Where or When” delivers a vertiginous high, with Goldings creating live, looping backgrounds on his glimmering pocket piano. The traditional boots-on-the-floor blues “John the Revelator” gets an added touch of swagger and sway. Cole Porter’s “Love for Sale,” anchored by bassist David Piltch’s wide beat and recast in three, markets yearning smartly from its new metric perch. And Lennon & McCartney’s “I’ll Follow the Sun” takes on a different light while serving as a sign of redemption at the end of this hard road. With a defining trait spelled out ever so clearly in her surname, Kathleen Grace offers personal truths with sensitivity and integrity. Her openness breeds absolute respect.   

Preview or download Tie Me to You on Amazon!

Dan Bilawsky

Dan Bilawsky has been involved in jazz journalism for 15 years. His work has appeared in JazzTimes, JAZZed, and All About Jazz, among other outlets. In addition, he’s penned liner notes for artists on Red, Capri, HighNote/Savant, Ropeadope, and other respected imprints. A band director with 20 years of teaching experience, he holds degrees in music from Indiana University, the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College, and Five Towns College.