Review: Kat Edmonson truly sings like an 'Old Fashioned Gal'

Updated 4/25/2018 12:39 PM
  • This cover image released by Spinnerette Records shows "Old Fashioned Gal" by Kat Edmonson. (Spinnerette Records via AP)

    This cover image released by Spinnerette Records shows "Old Fashioned Gal" by Kat Edmonson. (Spinnerette Records via AP) Associated Press

Kat Edmonson, "Old Fashioned Gal" (Spinnerette Records)

Kat Edmonson's "Old Fashioned Gal" sounds like an alternate soundtrack to an Audrey Hepburn film, 11 self-penned songs of gentle romance and vulnerability in a decades-old style sparkling with modern sensibilities.

And then there's her voice. Part bashful debutante, part starry-eyed fiancee, part world-wise seductress, it possesses a singular expressiveness that puts her at the curious intersection of Karen Dalton, Blossom Dearie and Eartha Kitt.

Coming off a successful album with producer Mitchell Froom - "The Big Picture" from 2014 - Edmonson takes charge here with songs she wrote in the winter of 2016 while battling a bad cold and watching 1930s movies. She then framed her tunes like the screenplay of a musical and they became her fourth disc.

Edmonson's compositions are top notch, filtering the Great American Songbook through a very feminine perspective influenced by more recent singer-songwriters like Carole King or Joni Mitchell.

Highlights include the title track, in which she offers traditional alternatives to pop-up ads, dating sites and other entrapments of contemporary relations. "Please Consider Me" is more self-promotion but with Parisian locations, while "Goodbye Bruce" is a minimalist but deeply felt farewell to her mentor, "such a lovely guy." ''Canoe" recounts how a couple's date on a lake affects its insect population.

"What freedom it would bring/If I could sing," she declares on "A Voice," lyrically musing about her personal and artistic qualms. With her voice front and center whether accompanied by an orchestra or just a piano, Edmonson's doubts seem quelled by the strength and confidence of her performances, each a highly-enjoyable chapter of self-healing.

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