Friday, September 14, 2012

Coty Hogue -- When We Get to Shore

Coty Hogue knows her stuff. Specifically, she has a Masters in Appalachian Studies and spent her time in grad school studying folk music. These influences are readily apparent in the Montana native's craft: though not slavishly devoted to the old-time sounds, Hogue molds Appalachian folk into her own subtle sensibilities.

Being relatively unacquainted with folk myself (Willie Lomax? Who?) I find it difficult to tell which of the songs are Hogue's and which are traditional. Hogue's sense of self is so apparent in her music that, if one had never heard the song before, they would think that her stunning cover of Springsteen's "I'm on Fire" were her own. It is the cover song that all cover songs aspire to be -- it captures the emotions of the original recording while embodying Hogue's approach to music. In fact, I prefer hers to The Boss's.

That the album was recorded live is a testament to Hogue's vocal prowess. She and her bandmates come off as relaxed and confident performers. The somber timbre of many of the songs are balanced by the gentle banter and anecdotes Hogue relates between songs. Here's hoping we get to see her on the Eastern and Western shores sometime soon.

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