Beneath a terrible cover (the artist of which is left wisely uncredited) suggestive of rank amateurism (does no one understand marketing in the music world any more?), a DIY indie one-off, Kate Jacobs' re-emerges with a new CD, her fifth, that takes a look at just what the disc title suggests: home life, albeit not quite in the Betty Crocker / Norman Rockwell / 50s / Mormon way that seems so much the rage again in this, the most fundamentalist country on Earth. With a little girl voice, Jacobs casts some sardonic looks at life in BushBamaMerica and comes away with a number of winners, of which $55 Motel is especially rib-tickling while spitting soft bullets.
'Sweet' is perhaps the most common adjective applied to Kate's vocal finesse, a kind of conglomeration of Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris when they were on the verge of puberty, a timbre that's unavoidable even as she tells a cheating husband "You can just go to hell / in your 55 dollar hotel" whence he was, um, 'courting another wench, she discovering the bill he leaves as departure gesture from home and hearth. Bells and bows decorate the stanzas and refrains of her warbling, but there's grit and earthy honesty beneath, evidences of the struggle to establish and cultivate love, whatever it takes. This is perhaps Jacobs' ace card, this lack of bullshit while earnestly working to create the state so many strive for but so very few actually achieve.
Following a seven-year absenture from music to have a family, Home Game revolves around the everyday, the joys and pains of connubial bliss and blisters, and the upshot is a refreshing portrait of what really occurs, not some magazinic paean to fantasy and soft-peddled homespun propaganda. The CD is entirely mellow, gently rendered, yet contains soft swing in a nocturne-ish take or two—A Sligo Lad for instance—as well as rustic waltzes and grinning pensees, folky invitations to sit back, tap toes, and reminisce. I can pretty much guarantee it'll make your own home game a lot easier.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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