Exceptionally good – one to appreciate for many years to come.
Kirsten is probably fed up with comparisons to Nanci Griffiths, Emmylou Harris, and similar 80s female singers of the same scene but that should be taken as a big compliment as this album would sit proudly among any of these artists’ back=catalogues. One would expect her to come from the other side of the pond but her Dad was “Stuart Adamson” from Big Country, and she spent her summers with him when he relocated to Nashville at the end of the 90s. Kirsten has obviously absorbed a lot of influence from Nashville as well as her native Scotland. It is an exceptionally good album with Dean Owens producing and co-writing a couple of the songs so it is no surprise the quality is high.
With eleven songs, autobiographical in nature, lyrically engaging, and melodically lovely, ‘Landing Place’ is an album that grows and rewards with repeated plays. Kirsten has a distinctive and gentle voice with a vibrato that may not be to everyone’s tastes but very effective for those that like this. ‘Without Warning‘ has a delightful riff that one suspects Kirsten sang down her phone when writing the song and has been reproduced by Jon McKenzie on guitar who also gives some of the songs an occasional kick. Songs about parents are sprinkled in the early part of the album. ‘My Father’s Song’ makes complete sense given the context of who Kirsten’s father was and ‘No Other Mother’ is influenced by her own. We have the obligatory love and relationship songs in the bluesy ‘Coals and Ashes‘ which features some lovely organ and ‘Time with You’ with its beautiful pedal steel courtesy of Joe Harvey-Whyte.
‘Useless at Being Alone’ has a waltz / Oom-pah feel that may take a few plays as it’s a completely different vibe to the other tracks and feels a little out of place to the other songs whereas ‘What Happens When You Don’t Follow Your Heart’ is a gentle song that fuses Kirsten’s vocal vibrato with some phased chorus effect.
Lyrically it’s very intimate and personal with an astute inward personal journey that Kirsten shares with the listener. Kirsten is one to watch who will no doubt be appreciated for many years to come.
Million thanks for this fantastic review!