Kate Mann

Kate Mann

Kate Mann

Things Look Different When the Sun Goes Down

Orange Dress Records

Kate Mann is like a slightly more polished Lucinda Williams. Mann’s sound is a little softer and her voice is not as raspy, although it definitely conveys a world-weary tone. On her latest Things Look Different When the Sun Goes Down, Mann takes on Americana/folk music and carves out her little niche right between Williams and Gillian Welch.

The devilishly clever “Bird in My House” comes complete with handclaps, whistling, and a violin, but just when you think that it’s just a light and fluffy track about a bird, Mann delivers the lines “The mirror broke into a million pieces, maybe more/ I could see my reflection scattered all across the floor/ So I swept up the pieces/ I will not shed any tears/ My luck’s been bad forever/ What’s another seven years?”

That’s what Mann does best. She disguises songs, making them sound very simple and then dropping a lyrical bomb like that.

Mann may be a folk singer with a rootsy Americana sound, but she gets her sombrero on on “La Llorona,” a track that would be perfect in any sit-down Mexican restaurant. Add in the dreamy “Loki’s Lullaby,” a song for her dog and the bluesy “Robert Johnson Knew” (and its chorus “I haven’t sold my soul to the devil yet/ But I think that I just might”) and you have the core of one of the best folk albums of the year thus far.

Things Look Different When the Sun Goes Down has Mann revisiting her roots back in New Mexico and the results are well worth the listen. With three albums in four years, the former high school teacher writes almost at a Ryan Adams pace, but unlike Adams, her albums keep getting better.

Kate Mann: www.katemann.com

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