Unfortunate Point of View
Katherine Rondeau has subtly added to her sound on her third release, Unfortunate Point of View, adding an old-time, bluegrass touch with mandolin and banjo, but like her last release, New Hope Chateau from 2016, it’s her songwriting and strong voice that carries the day.
Starting with a call to arms for those struggling with “Coming Soon (If Not Today)”, Rondeau is joined by fellow songwriter Joe Jencks on vocals, and with the mandolin of Eric Lee, her song of hope rallies. “Natchez Trace” is a slow burner of love reflection, anchored by Lee’s fiddle. The title cut shows Katherine at her finest, pairing both cello and banjo – (trust me, it’s sublime), on a cut about looking back at love – “I’ll answer any question you ask me to/You’ll learn as much from the lies as the things that are true”, in a sound that harkens back to the ’70s work of Joni Mitchell, among others.
Rondeau peppers her releases with well-chosen cover songs, and her newest continues with Phil Ochs’ “What’s That I Hear”, a charming “Tonight I’ll Staying Here With You” from Dylan, and a somewhat surprising take on Wilbert Harrison’s “Let’s Work Together”, previously by both Canned Heat and Bryan Ferry. It’s a groove that allows Rondeau to channel folks such as Maria Muldaur or Tracy Nelson. But it’s her original songs that most captivate, such as “Orphan Boy” or the rousing “Why Don’t You Love Me”, a bluesy romp fueled by Eric Lambert’s dobro, and it’s those moments that keep you coming back. Unfortunate Point of View continues Katherine Rondeau’s winning streak of independent releases, and one hopes she keeps them coming.