The Roots-related singer/ songwriter genre is getting mighty crowded these days, so a young performer needs to have something special to elbow the competition out of the way and leapfrog the queue.
On the basis of her album 'Midnight Mind', Californian singer/songwriter KATIE KNIPP has several such ploys ready to go and she executes them to perfection on this quality-first recording. The first ace is her relationship with her (very) creaky old grand piano. It forms the melodic bedrock of many of the album's best tracks – not least the predatory, Bad Seeds-y 'Hurricane' and the stately 'Sunday' – and its' eerie, cracked feel soon sets it apart from anything else I've heard of late.
The second is Katie's voice and it's a joy to hear in a world where so many contemporary female singers rush for 'ethereality' like lemmings at a cliff. Katie has no truck with 'ethereal', she's far too gutsy for that and she's one of the best Roots-related voices I've heard since Amy Speace. She's especially effective on tracks like the provocative folk-blues of 'Release' and the truly remarkable 'Get In My Life': a full-blooded Mississippi Delta blues which is closer to Lightnin' Hopkins in feel that anything contemporary.
Thirdly, Katie clearly has an ear for collaboration, most specifically with the rhythm section who form her tight-knit trio combo sound here. The guys in question, bassist Nathan Hoehner and drummer Andrew Griffin are ceaselessly inventive, rolling with the punches and setting up slow and determined grooves on tracks like the weathered and redemptive 'Quiet Hell' (which has an almost 'Exile on Main Street' feel about it) or keeping it lithe and supple on tracks like 'Time' and the closing 'Heavy Heart' where the three musicians bring it all back home very impressively indeed.
There's a good variety of moods on offer too. 'Midnight Mind' is broadly a 'Roots' album, but it's open-minded to dally with folk-blues, pop and the occasional bout of Rock'n'Roll swagger, not to mention a couple of solo piano ballad affairs courtesy of the restless 'Someonewherelse' (sic) and the desolate 'Brother'. If I've one small criticism it's that the record is a little too prone to medium-pace tempos. The occasional fiery burst of speed would be good, but this is hardly a hanging matter considering the wealth of great tunes on display.
Katie Knipp, then, is quite a discovery. Her 'Midnight Mind' is a cool, intelligent record full of emotive songs which does plenty to separate itself from the run of the mill singer/songwriter brigade. Let's hope this is merely the first of many from her.
(Full Article)Rocking Sacramento One Piano At A Time: Katie Knipp
Sacramento Indie Music Examiner rates this: 5 Stars!
"Katie Knipp is a singer/songwriter from Sacramento who has just released her third album, "Midnight Mind" (For sale on CDBaby and iTunes, as well as local Sacramento record store) She is hosting a CD Release event on March 20 in Berkeley at Blake's on Telegraph and has a number of performances upcoming in the Sacramento area.
Her bluesy vocals and impassioned piano playing make for a strong combination, and her raw talent and exuberance for music make songs such as "Get In My Life" (from the new album) and "Violent In Here" (on the earlier album of the same title) truly rocking originals, with a voice from the gut, resonant with singers like Janis Joplin and Maria Muldaur. She is a multi-instrumentalist, with guitar, piano, dobro and harmonica all making appearances on her albums and her live shows.
Playing dates all around the greater Sacramento area, with upcoming gigs at Luna's on March 13th and Vintner's Winery in Rancho Cordova on March 27th, Katie Knipp is a singer to not miss!
A graduate of Cal State Hayward, she has been performing all of her life, including opening for bands including The Doobie Brothers and Tommy Castro, and has made vocal music her life, bringing a flair for excellence into the studio that shows in her wonderful recordings, a talent that has landed her awards such as the 2005 and 2006 North Bay Bohemian naming her the "Best Band in Marin County" and rave reviews from Going Out and Pacific Sun Magazine.
Katie Knipp writes about her life, and also takes inspiration from fictional characters, such as the Charlize Theron character in the film "Monster." She asserts that “Writing from this space opens up a lot more doors than just focusing on my own life." and, like other singers who delve into characters, such as Tori Amos, Katie makes effective use of her imagination and talent to make original, hard-driving and intensely listen-able music, singing from her soul." -Matthew Wright
"Again a beautiful woman with a guitar or piano, which tries make carriëre as a singer? Katie Knipp sing not only wonderfully, but are also talented as singer-songwriter. With its raw voice Knipp have meanwhile brought out three cd: Take Her down ones and Violent in Her (both originating from 2005) and the new album Midnight Mind. Katie accompany themselves on guitar, piano, dobro and harmonica. Nathan Hoehner (bass guitar) and Andrew Griffin (drums) make the band complete. The cd contains mostly blood-curdling ballads with balls. Its soulful voice ensure that you if auditor from your armchair is blown if she does its strot open. If it now the quiet piano song Eyes Like Birds are or the dirtyblues in Get in My life (with violent playing Knipp on dobro), she continues intrigue during the whole album with her lived through voice. Fuming blues songs are varied with sultry songs. Midnight persuade Mind on all fronts and give up its beauty already directly after the first lustre turn. The tasteful instrumentation contributes certainly to the quality of this cd. Of course its voice is the strongest weapon, of which your kippenvel on your poor gets if she will sing. The environment on the album has been kept extremely dark and obscurity. Folk music, blues, rock or jazz, the cd Midnight Mind have it all. It proves that Katie Knipp directions still can go a lot of on at writing new work."