long from the sea
I was born listening to folk music. My years at the Kerrville Folk Festival
have changed me forever. I got to hear every great storyteller and player
that Mainstream Music either ignored or was too dumb to recognize. This
CD was written & recorded with my dearest pals and some of the best
in the business. You might call it “amereclectic”.
about the artist
Kate has spent 20 or so years as a welcome member of the most respected
songwriter circles in Nashville and Los Angeles. Known for her remarkable
voice and songs that are full of passion and honesty, Kate has been the
New Folk winner at both the Napa Folk Festival and the Sierra Folk Festival.
She has been a main stage performer at the Kerrville Folk Festival since
1993, and has played most of the great clubs throughout the country such
as the Bluebird Café in Nashville, the Troubadour in Los Angeles,
Club Passim in Boston and Fiddler’s Green in Atlanta. Kate has produced,
recorded and released three CDs: “Kate Wallace” on the Honest
label (from which came three music videos that were in steady rotation);
“Two Lane America” and “Too Long From the Sea”
on her own New Pair O’ Dimes label. She’s had her songs recorded
by famous and infamous artists alike, recorded sound tracks for major
movies, been featured in two different books on songwriters, been on numerous
television shows including Music City Tonight, she’s won the Johnny
Mercer Songwriting Award for her song “Going Through the Emotions”,
and has had the pleasure of doing back-up vocals for some of her favorite
artists including Tom Kimmel, Michael Lille, Sally Barris, Dana Cooper
and Tom Prasada-Rao. She lives in Santa Barbara, CA, these days, where
she continues to travel & play, write, record, teach and generally
experience/ pass on the joy of music in every way. She also books the
popular acoustic music series, Trinity Backstage. Kate is sponsored by
and happily plays ELIXIR strings. She’s presently working on her
4th CD, “Politics & Religion.”
too long from the sea
This great artist is such a close personal friend that I waited a long
time to review this record. After all, how could I just write a few paragraphs
about a given recording without digressing into how much I've learned
from her about life, love, friendship, integrity, strength, songwriting,
and a trunkful of smaller subjects? I won't even try.
Kate's a very strong woman, and speaks her mind. Very
smart, extremely funny. These qualities all abound in her songwriting,
which despite her keen intelligence, is a very emotional matter.
She's gifted with a remarkable vocal range, and can do things with her
voice that stand her out immediately as a special singer: dynamics, breaks,
fluid movement between full and chest voice, inspired phrasing, unerring
intonation, and a recognizable sound that is all her own.
The liner notes describe the breadthy style of this
record as Amereclectic. It's Contemporary Folk and more with many influences,
many colors. I especially like the dark cowrite with Joseph Brunelle,
"You Cross My Mind," but conversely the very bright song written
with Sally Barris, "I Carry It Inside." I'm a big fan of the
song that also appears on co-writer Michael Lille's record (reviewed in
this issue), "Wherever You Walk."
The disc was recorded and mixed at Samurai Studios
in Nashville by Sam Weedman, who played mandolin and cowrote the signature
opening number, "Brave New World." Bassist extraordinaire Mark
Prentice appears again as co-producer with a host of Nashville session
heavies. Along with Kate's strong rhythm playing, Michael Lille and the
always sharp Steven Sheehan add great acoustic guitar tracks. Andrea Zonn
on fiddle and husband John Gardner on drums and percussion bring deep
musicality to any record, and certainly here. Dana Cooper blows some soulful
harmonica, and nine really good singers appear throughout.
Kate Wallace moved away from Nashville after a decade
there, back to the West Coast. She plays many dates and festivals nationally,
and is a fixture in the growing house concert movement. Find out more
about Kate and pick up on the three records she has out at her website
Too Long from the Sea
(New Pair O'Dimes, 2000)
On the back of the leaflet for her CD Too Long From the Sea, singer-songwriter
Kate Wallace credits fellow musician Michael Camp with coming up with
the perfect word to describe her music: Amer-eclectic. Indeed, the 12
songs on this CD reflect an eclectic range of styles and moods within
a solid American musical and cultural context.
In addition to Wallace's fluid vocals and guitar, an assortment
of players supports her songs. John Gardner provides drums and percussion
while Sam Weedman supplies additional drums, percussion and mandolin.
Mark Prentice plays bass and guitar, Steven Sheehan and Michael Lille
play guitar, Dana Cooper plays harmonica and Andrea Zonn provides fiddle.
Background vocals are performed by Michelle Prentice, Tom Kimmel, Dana
Cooper, Michael Camp, Sally Barris, Cindy Greene, Mark Prentice, Marcus
Hummonm and Michael Lille. That's a pretty big complement for background,
yet it is always subtle and effective.
From the assertive and independent declarations of
"Brave New World" to the longing of the title track "Too
Long From the Sea," the upbeat love song "He Takes It With Him
When He Goes" on through to the benediction-like closing song "Wherever
You Walk," Wallace's vocals are always exactly right. Her voice is
clear and rich; it retains power in the lower registers and does not thin
out when it gets higher. The melodies share an infectiousness, yet the
style shifts from song to song: each is distinctly different.
Some of the songs have a melody line which contrasts sharply
with the content, creating an interesting tension, such as in "Trophy
Girl," where the cheery, near sing-song belies the sharp kiss off
in the lyrics: "I won't let you make me callous and cold/I want to
hold my head up when I'm old." At other times, the melody and lyrics
mesh perfectly, as in "Losing Colorado," a song about a couple
who left the state for a fast track life and want to get back what they
lost before it's too late -- and they do! "We can escape these prison
bars/In the time it takes to pack the car." Another is "Wild
Blue" which Wallace begins a cappella with the chorus, giving it
a touch of a gospel hymn.
Wallace blends folk, pop, blues and jazz effectively
into a unique and appealing style of her own. Each track has something
to recommend it; each song has a story in the evocative lyrics. On Too
Long From the Sea, Wallace demonstrates a versatility in performance and
material which is both rare and welcome.
-by Donna Scanlon, Rambles: 9 March 2002
CD..intelligent, heartfelt lyrics.. an exceptional release..."
is a woman of conscience who sings with a vengeance”
–the rev. lisa hunt, Nashville, TN
“Kate is a woman of strength with a great deal of integrity and
her music reflects her conviction. She’s also a babe.”
-Henry Paul, artist / Blackhawk
“I love Kate. I lover her music and I’ll baby-sit her dog
-John Jennings, artist & producer / M. Chapin Carpenter
“Wallace was once a Nashville based songwriter who didn’t
subscribe to the Music Row mentality of factory writing. She has a distinctive
voice and style of writing that allows the songs to flow together seamlessly.
Kate has a unique way of flipping into her head voice that’s somewhere
between a catch and a cry, and always affecting.”
-Neil Fagan, Performing Songwriter
“This is somebody you need to pay attention to. Her songs have wonderful
melodic curves and her vocal is marvelously lustrous. Seek her out- trust
me, she’s a real winner.”
-Robert K. Oermann, Music Row Magazine
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