Since her 1996 debut with Truth From Lies on the Guardian Records label, Catie Curtis has been capturing hearts and minds with her inimitable falsetto, personal, poetic lyrics and engaging live performances. She is one of the few artists who can make the personal political, and the political personal by tapping into the simple human emotions and circumstances of everyday life. She also has the uncanny ability to touch us with the kind, gentle and thoughtful nature that shines through all of her music.
Long Night Moon is her newest release, out on Nashville's Compass Records. It is produced by Lorne Entress, who is responsible for some of the best efforts by Mark Erelli and Lori McKenna. He succeeds here as well by surrounding Curtis with some of the finest working musicians on the acoustic scene - guitarist Kevin Barry (who tours with Mary Chapin Carpenter and Paula Cole), Mark Erelli, Kris Delmhorst and John Sands (of Aimee Mann fame). And he serves Curtis well by providing hushed, personal arrangements that lend a quiet intimacy and tone to the recording.
Find You Now is the opening cut, a dreamy search for a lover just out of reach - where flowers float on a river, church bells ring, and kisses are blown into the air.
Water and Stone is quintessential Curtis — lovely, touching and beautifully written, with a vocal that goes straight to the heart. Water images abound, and one gets the feeling that it's about the slippery nature of love. Mary Chapin Carpenter lends her voice to the mix with a perfect backing vocal. It's one of the recording's standout cuts.
Most human of all is the loss of life and livelihood in the cd's centerpiece — People Look Around. Co-written with ace singer/songwriter and guitarist Mark Erelli, the song is filled with images of the water and destruction which rained down on the lives of the citizens of New Orleans. It won a well-deserved grand prize in the 2006 International Songwriting Competition.
The simple and simply elegant, touching Innocent shines with the pairing of Kris Delmhorst's cello and Elizabeth Steen's piano in support of Curtis's hushed vocal and guitar.
New Flowers is so true and moving and beautiful - Curtis's most personal song to date. It's about the love she feels for her two kids, her "two reasons more." Chris Trapper, lead singer of the PushStars, provides sweet backing vocals here.
The title cut, Long Night Moon, sends us off with a gorgeous lullaby care of Kevin Barry on lap steel guitar, Elizabeth Steen on piano and Curtis on guitar and unforgettable vocal.
Long Night Moon is ten years in the making. Catie Curtis began her career as a wide-eyed acoustic ingénue, has been dubbed a "folk-rock goddess" by the New Yorker, but is now simply a woman, a mother and a partner, as well as an extraordinary chronicler of the world as she sees it at the turn of the twenty-first century. She is truly one of the most important, and I believe enduring musical artists of our time. Long Night Moon is a classic recording, and one of the best of the year.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
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