Philadelphia musician Katie Barbato released her brand new EP The Art of Falling September 21. I’ve been following Katie’s work for the last few years, but because I’m an extremely finicky music fan and am very narrowly limited in the different genres that I enjoy, I didn’t pay enough attention to Katie’s previous music because I had often seen it classified as folk, a genre that I quite honestly rarely enjoy. The folk genre is usually too dark for my personal listening tastes. I’m a pop/rock child of the seventies and eighties who loves a good hook and even a bubblegum hit now and then. Even if she might personally consider her style as folk, in my personal opinion it is a tremendous injustice to try to categorize Katie’s beautiful music into one singular genre. There are certainly hints of folk on a few tracks on this EP, but most of these tracks have a lighter sound and plenty of hooks that will leave you humming melodies in your head long after the music has stopped, an occurrence that rarely happens to me after hearing folk records. I don’t mean to criticize the genre. Folk is simply not a genre that I typically enjoy.
I am happy to report that on The Art of Falling, Katie has found what I truly believe to be her sweet spot. She has written a beautiful collection of songs with inspiring lyrics full of imagery and introspection woven together with gorgeous instrumentation, clever and unexpected chord changes in exactly the right places, and first-class engineering and production. It’s a lovely musical landscape painted prominently with acoustic guitar and Katies’s powerful, yet refined voice, accompanied by electric guitars and keyboards strategically placed to take each song to new heights right around the time that you thought you knew where the music was going. Every slight detour in musical direction within the songs is a delight, and every song is better because of this.
Katie’s voice seems to get better with every release. She has a powerful voice but uses that power to accentuate just the right moments of a song and exercises a perfect amount of restraint when a song calls for a tender or reflective mood. I have heard her use her voice live to carry driving rock songs, and I’ve also heard her use it to get mellow for the quietest of folk songs. The versatility of her voice is rare, as she can sound like any given genre is the genre that she specializes in. Her voice feels right at home within any style. This is part of what makes The Art of Falling such a great collection of songs. Katie’s voice can take her anywhere she wants to go, and anywhere that she wants to take the listener. That versatility gives her an unlimited musical canvas to paint upon.
Every song on this EP is superb. Clocking in at just under 30 minutes, it’s a rare collection of fantastic songs that live nicely with each other in one place. That’s a feat that not even some of the most legendary artists achieve in today’s musical climate.
For you audiophiles and vinyl aficionados, I’m thrilled to inform you that The Art of Falling is available on vinyl in an extremely limited run of only 300 copies. You can order via the link below:
If this is the first time you’re hearing about Katie’s music, I highly recommend that you listen to The Art of Falling and visit her website at http://www.katiebarbato.com.