New Hope Chateau
On her new CD, New Hope Chateau former schoolteacher Katherine Rondeau gives a listener a lot to like, from old-timey folk to rip-roaring blues, and she sounds completely natural at all of it. The opening cut, “Raise Up Your Hand” is a bluesy anthem with some strong guitar work from Ron Jennings. She follows it up with “Broken Bird”, a quiet commentary fueled by the fiddling of Gary Oleyar.
She wrote the majority of the album, but found a few good covers- a roof-raising take on Janis Joplin’s “Turtle Blues”, a welcome (and extremely funky) version of Odetta’s “Hit or Miss” and “Long Ago, Far Away” from Bob Dylan that sounds as if it was recorded at the turn of the century by the Carter Family, so good.
But it’s her material that really shines, in an understated manner that showcases her compelling voice and subtle arrangements on numbers such as “What Would You Do” or the old-time folkie stomp of “The Tide Has Turned”. The record was produced by Glenn Barratt, who also played guitar and banjo, who keeps the focus on the lovely voice and natural songwriting of Rondeau. Well done, teacher!