Modern folk. I call it that because that's what they called it when I was young—the folk after the hootenannies and before the golden age of rock and pop. The very early days. Not quite the There's a Meetin' Here Tonight days, but almost. The days of Vanguard and ESP-Disk and Elektra, when folk was the standard for the young. Rebecca Katz lives there. She is a child of the early '60s, perhaps even without knowing it. It is in her and it is in her music.
You could easily pass by without noticing her on the street. She would be the one standing in front of the bookstore window or against the wall in the subway, guitar neck extended, fingered chords barely discernible among the ambient noise. Her voice might sound a bit thin, with no microphone for amplification, and the lyrics might pass unnoticed, but that doesn't matter. She is there.
She is the friend you should embrace but have no real time for. You think about her now and again and wonder passingly how she is without realizing that she thinks of you, and often. You are the Donnie in "To Donnie", a heartfelt and simple acknowledgement of love and friendship.
She is also the girl who has been unseen and unloved for so long that it is easier to remain that way than take a chance (If You See the One). She is the one who, wondering if she would ever find The One, finds him at an unexpected moment or in an unexpected way and realizes how amazing it is (The Real Thing). She watches as someone she knows is torn asunder by the tragic side of love, not able to say a thing (This Story (The Maid & The Sailor)). She accepts a simple kiss as a symbol of love (Kiss Me Goodnight) and she reflects her spiritual side, a capella (Home Again).
One would think it simple—girl, guitar, voice. Not so much, really. Modern folk demands a commitment to subject and to soul every bit as much as any other genre and possibly more. It must ring true or stand a musical lie, and usually one very self-evident. Rebecca Katz rings true. She uses no bells and whistles and keeps her song simple and direct. She overwhelms with sincerity and truth. If it were 1963, we would know her name well. It is not, but it is sure good to hear it again.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
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