Kathy Greenholdt “If” (Independent, 2020)

Talking about late starters! Chicago singer-songwriter Kathy Greenholdt started back in 2002. Nothing unusual in that. But, that is actually when she started to learn playing the guitar and wrote her first song. Suspicious listener? You shouldn’t be. In the meantime, Kathy came up with an EP and four albums. ‘If’ is her fifth, and by the sound of it, you could get the impression that Kathy started out at a very early age. That confident, that assured and actually, that good.

Kathy’s songs, vocals, and musicianship exhibit no elements of amateurishness or lack of quality. And she swims through all the elements you would label as prime Americana with ease and assuredness. All through, relatively sparse arrangements dominated by Kathy’s voice and acoustic and electric guitars. (All instruments are by Kathy and her friend she just names as Steve.) You don’t have to go any further than “Zofia,’ one of the better tracks here.

But there is an element on ‘If” that needs to be noted – an element of darker colours within her lyrics. Probably something that has come through life experience and Kathy’s extensive travels around the world. “Drunk with power, we do not see/ how our greed/ poisons all we need” sings Kathy in ‘Change Is Coming,’ words characteristic of what she has to say throughout the album. Still, there is always a tone of optimism that emerges. Quite an engaging and well-rounded affair, no matter when Kathy started out.

Assured singer-songwriter Americana with darker overtones

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