Karen and the Sorrows “The Narrow Place” (Independent 2017)

Describing themselves as “Queer country trailblazers” tells the new listener everything they need to know about this interesting four-piece, except perhaps the most important thing which is what’s the music like beyond just ‘country’? The answer on the strength of this album is pretty good, and what’s more perhaps should not be shackled by a musical label such as country let alone one based on sexuality.

Songs such as ‘The Price of the Ticket’ have potential beyond the trope despite the ever-present lap steel with the glorious harmonies and affecting sway. Good stuff indeed. Other gems include the muscular ‘Walk Through the Desert’ with its reverb-soaked guitar and noirish palette leavened by Pittelman’s distinctive, yearning, butterfly vocals. Certainly not your average country track. ‘I Was Just Your Fool’ has the ghost of Tammy Wynette hanging over it which is no bad thing and the final track ‘Everything We Had’ has the Hammond organ front and centre giving it a real country soul feel as the melancholy chorus washes over you.

So, a tasty gem with possibilities beyond the self-stated modus operandi. Worth noting too that a portion of any profits go to supporting LGBTQ charity SONG which fights for rights in the Southern States. Worth an extra point I say.

Author: Keith Hargreaves

Riding the one eyed horse into dead town the scales fell from his eyes. Music was the only true god at once profane and divine The dust blew through his mind as he considered the offering... And then he scored it out of ten and waited for the world to wake up

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