Kathy Muir – Book Cover Judge
When I first started listening to Kathy Muir’s latest album, Book Cover Judge, I quickly realized that it was not the kind of thing that I listen to often. The acoustic pop singer’s low voice and slight jazz influence gives her a mellow sound that is reminiscent of, but quite different than Norah Jones. While I had given Norah Jones the occasional listen in my youth, and even now have a great appreciation for slow and mellow music, there is nothing that I have been listening to recently that is quite like Kathy Muir.
I make a rule to give everything a listen more than once when I sit down to review something and I apply that rule to when I listen to music on my own time as well. I have come to learn that many songs and albums can require more than one listen to be appreciated. Not every song and artist has the ability to make something that instantly catches you, and not every song is created surface deep. That being said, and I apologize to Kathy Muir, but I think that my three playthroughs of her latest album will be enough for me. This may come down to personal preference rather than style and ability, but I found that even on my third listen, I wasn’t really hooked by the lyrics and I didn’t really connect with emotions she was trying to bring out.
As I say, this may simply be personal preference, it might be that Muir’s music is more accessible to a female audience and I am not within that demographic. Muir’s voice is clear, easily understandable and she sticks to a nice, low register in which she is confident and comfortable. All of her songs clearly fit a defined genre within which she stays, but does offer slight variation. I found that towards the end of my first listen, I had lost my count of which track I was listening to. I felt that variation between songs, moods, and lyrical subject didn’t change quite as much as I would have liked and it made the album drag on. Despite that, I feel like there is likely a large audience for the kind of music that Muir is making and her overall sound is not bad by a long shot. Muir is talented as a singer and was able to create a few tracks that stood out even to me. As a songwriter, I felt like Muir used a lot of great metaphors and motifs that brought her songs to life, she was clever about staying away from anything that was too close to the beaten path.
While I have admitted that Kathy Muir is not the kind of thing I will be likely to add to my regular playlist, I do think that she has a lot to offer and that there are many to whom she likely speaks better to. Don’t judge a book by its cover, (or one person’s review alone!) and give Book Cover Judge a listen to decide for yourself.
by Matt Kaiser