Back in '81 & '82, Iain Matthews (Matthews Southern Comfort) and David Surkamp (Pavlov's Dog) put together an interesting rock group with highly infectious grooves in a rock-folk unit called Hi-Fi. One of their highest points was an unbelievable live version of John Martyn's Man in the Station. I didn't think I'd hear quite that kind of sound again until I cocked an ear to the first segment of Jess Klein's Bound to Love.
The very first cut, When the Time Comes, got right under my skin with its unorthodox rhythmic structure and driving melodic flow. Then I noted that Mark Addison, also sitting in with Josh Grider's band (here), was doubling up, guesting with Klein as well as producing and engineering Bound to Love. Thus, when the follower, Don't Wanna Say It, proceeded in exactly the same manner, I was hooked. More than once, though, I also got distinct comparisons to Pat Benatar, had Patty ever gone country rock, but with a lot more in the way of the old traditional prairie informing the fields and meadows of her work: some Jesse Colter, a bit of Dolly, maybe faint echoes of old Bonnie Tyler and Juice Newton.
Klein wrote all but three of the cuts here (two of those she co-wrote) and has her compositional fingers deeply into techniques completely bypassing most musicians. The damnedest part is how well she also cleaves to time-honored refrains, renewing their vitality while dressing 'em up in new but complementary finery. And that voice, which always has a plaintive edge, can cut through even a noisy bar to head straight for the heart. There's just something about it. This is her seventh release in a decade, and she's won her share of awards and nominations, but if this one doesn't bring recognition among the cognoscenti, it'll only be because they're not really paying attention to what she's doing. Once that aspect gets across, Klein is going to surprise a lot of people. This ain't dumb-ass shit-kickin' music by some frail in gingham, Jim-Bob, this is part of the growing Next Wave that's going to wash over us all.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2009, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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