Kathy Tugman is a singer dedicated to the song and not just her singing. Whether it’s the grittier alt-country heartfulness of “Flawed Words and Stubborn Sounds,” or the fresh takes on jazz standards and sturdy pop tunes of “Robin on the Frost,” or a lullaby or Christmas album, Kathy gives you the song first, with all the emotion, thought and story telling it may evoke. She is also an accomplished composer, as capable when writing a jazz ballad as she is while crafting a you-done-me-wrong country tune. Her singing has become more varied and subtle as her writing has grown in variety and melodic power. And it all has been honed and tested by performing many sets of music for knowledgeable listeners like you – the people to whom the songs themselves are dedicated.
Alt-Country or Jazz...
...what's your pleasure?
FLAWED WORDS AND STUBBORN SOUNDS
In one of the songs on this record, an anonymous male voice says, “The song’s what goes around and then, my Lord, comes around.” Then Kathy sings, “Sometimes it goes sun-rising right.” The first statement is slippery enough that it is hard to argue with, and you just have to believe the second can be true. For those times when it is and for those times when it isn’t, Kathy has provided a sound track.
In “Flawed Words and Stubborn Sounds,” Kathy makes a turn from jazz and loops back to the Americana, alt-folk sound of some of her earlier records, but this time, there’s no holding back. Here you’ve got the love-besotted, the love-betrayed, meth cookers and their families, the love-besotted (them again), love lost, love found, love forbidden, with Kathy and her band cooking it all in music and lyrics that are all perfectly flawed and stubborn and very proud of it. There’s a song about the prodigal in all of us, which rubs up against another about two forbidden lovers lusting after each other in church. There are rendezvouses in neon-lit bars and abandoned lovers calling out to their barhopping beaus. There are newly made orphans in hospital halls and, as mentioned, the meth cookers. Then there are those love songs that make the sunrise “purple on yellow on real gold air.”
The album was recorded by two stellar musicians who, in their performing life, are the core of the prog-rock band, Glass Hammer. To the acoustic and electric guitars, the drums, bass, keyboards, pedal steel and violin of Kathy’s album, they gave a clean, open sound. And the musicians – well, anything we say will be forgotten when you hear them play, which we hope you will do real soon because, as that unknown feller also says, “The song’s what comes around and then, my Lord, goes around.” Amen to that.
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