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Music Review: Katy Boyd – Paper Hearts

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Katy Boyd has traveled thousands of miles and produced a lot of music during her life and career. Growing up listening to Irish folk music and Tchaikovsky, a chance meeting with Joan Baez pushed her in a folk direction. Today she has settled into a country sound and her latest album, Paper Hearts, was recoded in Nashville.

She has gathered a stellar cast of musicians to support her. They include Justin Moses (banjo, mandolin, and fiddle) and Mark Fein (bass), both of Ricky Skaggs’ band, as well as Fats Kaplin (steel guitar and accordion), Lynn Williams (drums), Thomm (with two m’s), and Jutz (guitars, keyboards, and harmony vocals). She provides the vocals and acoustic guitar.

Her folk background shines through with her lyrics. She is a poet who is able to adapt episodes of her life to music. Her stories of love, loss, abuse, and traveling dominate the album. They tend to be meditative ballads and she probably would have been better served to include a few more up-tempo tunes. The lyrics tell wonderful, if sometimes slightly depressing stories. One saving grace is a couple of the songs’ lyrics are filled with satire and are quite amusing.

The music is straight classic country with a steel guitar, mandolin, fiddle, and banjo. A couple of the tracks even move in a bluegrass direction. Floating on top of it all is her twangy and soulful voice, which is a perfect fit for a country sound.

“Jigs & Reels & Ferris Wheels” is a song that tells the tale of traveling for love and constantly being rejected along the way. The message of continually falling in love despite the unhappy results is one that should resonate with just about anyone who has ever been in love. “Mama” tells the personal tale of the relationship with her own mother. The only non-original tune was a simple and beautiful cover of the Steve Winwood/Blind Faith classic, “Can’t Find My Way Home.”

My Favorite track was “Happy Single Mother’s Day,” which includes lyrics about selling her children on EBay. “I’m Not Depressed” is a witty song and perfect for the moody material that has preceded it.

Katy Boyd has created an album filled with imagery and humanity. So grab a bottle of wine, put some wood on the fire, and let the music take you away.

About David Bowling