KATE YORK (EP) Kate York
You don't see the adjectives "catchy" and "haunting" used together very often, but the oxymoron suits Kate York's self-titled EP to a tee. Her songs have a seductive pop sensibility that doesn't degenerate into cliche, thanks in part to a gentle and spooky presence infusing the CD. Her hypnotic voice--sweet, but with a nice husky quality--conjures up not love exactly, but the ghost of love. A good measure of the credit for the atmosphere goes to producer Neilson Hubbard whose unfailing instinct for texture adds an eerie emotional tenor to York's love songs. Guitars, loops and synths float behind and around the melodies like a subtle fog, not obscuring, ever moody and evocative.
York and Hubbard enlisted some of Nashville's best to play and sing on the EP, including the likes of Mack Starks, Brian Bequette, Jeff Patterson, Mindy Smith, and John Deaderick, among others. Some members of this particular cadre, including producer Hubbard, are creating an increasingly recognizable sound within Nashville's growing alt scene--a sound at once dark and accessible, edgy and eerie.
The writing is simple and pure and allows plenty of room for the songs' emotions to move and stretch. Standouts among the four original songs on the EP are two York co-wrote with Nashville songwriter Carter Wood. "Wished For Song" is a hummable and wistful gem, while "Stay With Me" is a breath-catching relationship vignette:
here with you
Good EPs are by their nature too short (bad ones are never short enough), so it's nice to know that there's a full-length CD in Kate York's hopefully near future. Hers is a voice to listen for and, while you're waiting for the full deal, think of her EP as an appetizer: a small, tasty bite designed to whet our listening appetites for a satisfying main course. Judith Edelman