Mid-America can still turn out great musicianship and exciting new artists. Take Kim Conlee as an example. She’s got a clear yet seductive vocal style, and her choice of music explores the heart and art and love and being. Behind her we have a discrete and highly competent background sound. No drum solos here; these are thoughtful tunes exploring a woman’s relation with the wider world around her.
Romance seems in the air as we start with a short flute driven item “Introduction.” Then Ms. Conlee’s voice joins us with a darker and more rhythm based “Convictions.” It’s romance with an edge, and that edge is always lurking in all these tracks. “Just the Same” carried the same foreboding; it’s an acoustic guitar with minimal drum, just enough to suggest a melody. Beats switch around, the exact placement of the instruments wanders, but the mood is a constant: a slightly misplaced romance that may or may not be worth keeping. Arrangements make statements, most of which come down to “Are you serious about us?” If the answer is “no” I sense no anger, no resignation, just the melancholy of one more failed attempt at life and love. Maybe she should just burn it all down, that’s what the upbeat and slightly county tune “Gasoline” suggests. Ms. Conlee mopes “…but at least I tried…” This is her lament, but the lament only points her to a better path. No matter what type of music you prefer, it can always be folded into a sad failed romance. That’s the power of music.