If you’re a fan of female singers like Bonnie Raitt, Dido or Sara Bareilles, then Scottish native Kathy Muir should also be in your playlist. Muir is a combination of these three strong vocalists, an artist whose genius sneaks up on you in her new CD, Far From Entirely.
The singer-songwriter grew up listening to folk and hymn music in church and picked up jazz and blues influences soon after. She magically fuses these styles and sprinkles a little bit of acoustic rock on top to create the eclectic mix of tracks on Far From Entirely. Equal parts sassy and intimate, Muir’s work is also very fearless in the sense that she doesn’t limit herself to a particular sound. Does it always work? Not so much, but let me explain why I don’t consider the CD to be a lost cause.
After listening to the whole album, it occurred to me that the record can be divided in half: some songs are incredibly well-suited to Muir’s voice, but others would probably be great hits if they were sung by other artists. The reason for this is that Muir has a soft, laidback register. She doesn’t strain her voice to get a song’s message across in upbeat, high-energy tunes like “Jezebel” or “Fairytale Lies.” As a result, they’re not really believable. But I could easily see Carrie Underwood or Miranda Lambert singing these same country pop gems and make them truly epic, not because of their fame, but purely based on their vocal styles. On the other hand, Muir absolutely shines on acoustic free-form tracks like “Sweet and Easy,” “Ties of Love” and “The Piano Plays a Melody.” She likely feels more comfortable in this territory and can thus connect with these songs better.
Even if the vocals are found lacking at times, Muir displays some seriously good songwriting chops. Most, if not all, of the tracks sound like they could be playing in heavy rotation across radio stations everywhere. Overall, Far From Entirely makes for a pleasant, easy-going listening experience.
For more information on Far From Entirely, please visit Kathy Muir’s website.