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Music Review: Kathleen Grace Band – Mirror

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The Kathleen Grace Band lives somewhere between cheeky and poignant, plugging their brand of jazz, rock, and folk into the purity of music and coming up with awe-inspiring results.

With Grace on vocals, Perry Smith on guitar, Matt Politano on piano, Matt Mayhall on drums, and Sam Minaie on bass, the KGB (don’t worry, McCain) plays a clean, grounded style that is often categorized appropriately as “indie jazz.”

Based out of Los Angeles, Grace and her band have worked through the music scene in the area with their attention to detail, extraordinary storytelling abilities, and delightfully pure music.

Their third release is Mirror, a selection of tracks with modern day fables serving as the cores of the songs. These stories of love, power, loss, and passion are charming and textured. They serve as reminders of our humanity, of our reflections, and of the inner compartments of our hearts.

The record speaks the languages of folk, jazz, rock, and pop magnificently and expressively, never force-feeding one genre to the listener. Six of the seven songs were written by Grace and members of her band, while the seventh (“Let Me Go”) is a Randy Newman hit.

The title track kicks things off with a beautiful piano introduction that gives way to Grace’s wholesome voice. The tune takes its inspiration from Snow White, the Brothers Grimm version of course, and Grace assumes the roles of both the witch and the princess in the blossoming song.

“Penny” is a sparkling ditty that begins with a haunting introduction. The song hops along with bouncy piano and Grace’s crystal tones, easing through jazzy segments and flowing with luscious pop. And the homage to Grace’s hometown of Tuscon, “Elijah,” uncurls with stunning harmonies and a tender musical backdrop that feels suited to candlelit dinners.

Grace’s sassy start-and-stop arrangement fills the fun and light “Am I Enough Yet,” a song that finds joy in the imperfections and ploughs forward with Politano’s great brisk piano fills.

“The Furies” is a slinky, sexy tune carried by Minaie’s bass. Almost a torch song, Grace takes the helm and steers the track through the splendidly rich chocolaty “stuff.” The soft mildness of “A Place for You” draws the listener in to Grace’s touching and heart-rending arrangement.

The album closes with Newman’s “Let Me Go,” an easygoing track that suits Grace’s voice marvellously.

The KGB’s Mirror is a warm, compelling, pleasurable, and affectionate set of stories and fables. Grace and her band have devotedly crafted a compilation of songs that draw in the listener and engage the conscience. This is intelligent “indie jazz;” music that is as good for the mind as it is for the spirit.

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