Those nice people at Hearth Music over in Portland, Oregon very kindly sent me a copy of "Big, Big Love", the newish album by Katya Chorover.
Katya is a new name to me, but it turns out this is her third album. However there was a ten year gap between this and the last one, which might explain her lack of visibility outside the North West USA. I don't have much to say other than its exactly the sort of folk/country mix I like, she has a great voice, some good songs, and the album is highly recommended. As - judging by the free downloads you can pick up at her website - are her two earlier albums. Here is one from each.
"Satisfied Life" - Katya Chorover (from "Big Big Love", 2011)
"Off The Map" - Katya Chorover (from "Off The Map", 2001)
"Blessing Bowl" - Katya Chorover (from "The Clearing", 1998)
There is something about Katya's voice and musical mannerisms that remind me quite a bit of Nanci Griffith. And, as it happens, Nanci's new album called "Intersection" was issued in the UK and Europe yesterday (I think you have to wait until April in the States). I have been a fan of hers since "Last Of The True Believers" came out back in the mid-1980s - it is still one of my all-time favourite albums.
After a fairly lengthy fallow period, Nanci really returned to form with "The Loving Kind" in late 2009. On first listen "Intersection" is continuing in the right direction. Apart from "Davey's Last Picture", a 9/11 song that is a bit too syrupy for my taste, it is good mix of strong originals and well chosen covers, including this Ron Davies number. Her voice is not quite the thing of wonder that it was twenty or thirty years ago - which is not surprising in view of some of the health problems she has had in the interim - but it still does the job for me.
"Waiting On A Dark Eyed Girl" - Nanci Griffith
Here is some vintage Nanci, the live performance of "Love At The Five And Dime" that appeared on her "One Fair Summer Evening" album. The introductory monologue is made all the more poignant by the sad fact that you can no longer visit a Woolworths in London as they went bust a few years ago.
And for you old punks out there, here are some more Woolworths enthusiasts.