Kaia Kater - "New Colossus" (acronym/Folkways): This Montreal-born Grenadian-Canadian has been earning international accolades for her banjo-picking and vocal and songwriting skills. The likes of Rolling Stone, The Guardian, and No Depression have all spoken effusively of Kater's talent, with The Guardian's tag of "bluegrass meets Nina Simone" standing out. Outlets like NPR, CBC Radio, and BBC Music have given her music airtime, and she has signed to the prestigious Smithsonian Folkways label outside Canada (acronym has her here).
To date, she seems to have made more of a mark internationally than domestically, though her 2016 release Nine Pin won a Canadian Folk Music Award. Kater's third album, Grenades, is released next month, and the title is perhaps a punning reference to her Grenadian roots.
This lovely advance track features Kater on acoustic guitar and leans more to folk than bluegrass. The haunting pedal steel of Aaron Goldstein (City and Colour) is a perfect complement to her pure voice, one with a tinge of melancholy. The cerebral lyrics pack a poetic punch, as on "Every tortured day a praying mantis green, Every hiss from you a glimpse into the creep." We are certainly keen to hear more.
Kater showcased at AmericanaFest in Nashville last night and has more US dates set. She plays The Black Sheep in Wakefield, QC, on Nov. 17, The Rivoli in Toronto, Nov 20, and The Carleton in Halifax, Nov. 25.
Publicity: Ken Beattie, Killbeat