Kath Bloom Stays the Course
Folk Legend Heads to Muddy Waters in Support of Tribute Album
The amazing and agreeably enchanting voice of Kath Bloom is as obvious on a long-distance call from Connecticut as it is in her delightfully haunting folk music. So, it’s no surprise she’s come to gain the admiration of famed freak-folkies like Devendra Banhart, who is one of the several artists to pay tribute to Bloom on a new double disk, Loving Takes Its Course. Since the second CD in the set is composed solely of Bloom’s original songs, she’s decided to head out on tour with some of the artists who’ve paid her tribute; a tour that includes a stop at Muddy Waters Cafe this Thursday night.
“I’m looking forward to the show a lot,” Bloom said via phone from her East Coast home. “I love all the guys I’ll be playing with, though I’m not looking forward to flying. I hope a lot of people turn out for it. I’ll be playing with Loren Connors – it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Connors, a noteworthy bluegrass-style guitarist in his own right, along with Banhart and Josephine Foster, is one of several artists who’ve recorded rearranged versions of Bloom’s powerful songs on the album, slated for release on Tuesday, April 7. The album is a remarkable achievement for all involved, and is made up of songs written over the course of Bloom’s 30-year-long recording career.
“I’m trying to get away from this idea that I wasn’t doing music in the ’90s,” she said. “I did more music in the ’90s than I did in the ’80s. I wasn’t on a circuit though – I never thought of it that way. Maybe I wasn’t ambitious, and maybe I just wasn’t honest with myself,” she stipulated, “but I never stopped.” Perhaps it’s Bloom’s deliberate exclusion from any type of circuit or scene that makes her music particularly earnest. Her songs remain light and are filled with familiar and shared human emotion, but they’re executed in a completely noncommercial style (check out “Forget About Him” for starters).
Either way, Bloom is flattered to be admired by future generations of folk stars, especially considering her somewhat deliberate withdrawal from the limelight. And she had nothing but good things to say about the many songs redone in her honor. “There is some really good stuff on [this CD],” she gushed. “I’m honored. It’s really interesting to hear your stuff this way – remastered, interpreted, and arranged. I wrote a piece for [the album], and when you write things you get very suspicious about whether or not people will get it. I thought, ‘Will [the other artists] get what I’m saying?’ But then I thought, ‘Who cares,’ and was settled because that’s the folk process – the songs mean different things for different people.”
About the upcoming show in S.B., Bloom noted, “I’m looking forward to collaborating, shaking some things up, and doing different things.” We’re looking forward to it to, Kath.
Kath Bloom, Little Wings, and Lee Baggett will play an all-ages show at Muddy Waters Cafe (508 E. Haley St.) this Thursday, March 5 at 8 p.m. Call or visit clubmercy.com for tickets and details