CD Review – Kathryn Williams (Covers album)
One Little Indian Records
Kathryn Williams has a voice that can make lyrics like “I wish I was like you/ Easily abused” (from Nirvana’s “All Apologies”) sound cute and adorable. On tracks like Jackson Browne’s “These Days” and Bee Gees’ “I Started a Joke,” she has the airy quality of Regina Spektor while delivering much heavier lines like “I guess the joke is on me.” That’s what makes this collection of covers so special. Williams takes 14 tracks and makes each one a lullaby on the outside. Once you realize what song it is, or what she is actually singing about, that’s when the deceptive heaviness of the lyrics sets in. Leonard Cohen’s masterpiece “Hallelujah” and Neil Young’s “Birds” are covered with effervescence, while “Spit on a Stranger” by Pavement sounds an awful lot like Nickel Creek’s version with the plucky mandolin and vocal strains to reach the higher notes. Once you get through it all, however, Kathryn Williams has taken you through a musical journey led by her whisper-quiet vocals and even softer folk music. And it is a journey worth frequenting.