Katie Baggs is Back with Sophomore Album, Wonderful Strange

Alyson Samson on Katie Baggs' new album.

Digipak_6Pan_TplateIf you’ve been looking for something Wonderful Strange, look no further. Katie has been a staple in the St. John’s music scene for years and on February 15th, at 9 pm at The Ship, she’s releasing her second solo album.

You guessed it, it’s titled Wonderful Strange and is comprised of all her wonderful songs that were perhaps too strange to have found a home on previous works. She says that she feels the sound is “still quite sparse,” but a growth in production and backing instrumentation
are apparent, and, as she said – “what the songs needed.”

Produced by local music guru Jake Nicoll, this album features a wider instrumental range than that of her previous solo album. You’ll hear some of Darren ‘Boobie’ Brown’s guitar licks and mandolin and guest backing vocals by Sherry Ryan, filled out with Jake Nicoll’s drum beats and Ilia Nicoll’s viola and vocals as she and Katie sing “The Violin” as an acapella duet. Only Katie could make a comparison between
her violin and a pot of partridgeberry jam sound so sensible, with sweet simile: “red bright partridgeberry notes, like jam in a pot on the stove top hot.”

If I were to single out one song on the album, “Always a War” took me away with shadowy poetry and a chorus that chants like a lullaby, coupled with Katie’s silvery voice putting you under a spell.

 

Katie’s little land of misfit songs compiled together produce a sometimes serious, and sometimes quirky collection of “more substantial, complex, and less obvious songs than [her] previous work.” In comparison to her last album which was more reflective of a specific time in her life, these songs span years. “Silver Thaw” was based on a poem she had written in high-school, whereas “Fall Away” is about her ancestry (some of which she made up).

Each song has its own story. Some of them – such as “Lonely Road,” have had many lives through many live performances with bands Katie has been a part of over the years, but each of them have finally found a home on this album. Wonderful Strange started off as 7 songs – but Katie added one more as a last minute decision bumping the album up from EP to LP status.

She’s planning to have 10” records pressed for the album, because like the unique tracks on the album itself – a 10” record is a little different. Katie’s deadline to release Wonderful Strange wasn’t imposed by management, it wasn’t even self-imposed per se; she’s expecting her first baby in March so she wanted to make sure the album was on its own two feet before she was counting fingers and toes.

by Alyson Samson

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