Published By: Wears The Trousers – September 10th 2009
Over the last 15 years, Boston-based singer-songwriter Catie Curtis has produced a string of solid studio albums largely restricted to coffehouse folk and Lilith Fair-style songwriting. For Hello, Stranger, her eleventh studio album, Curtis detours slightly from her well-worn path, turning in a surprisingly compelling string band album. Featuring a host of well-known names including Stuart Duncan (fiddle, mandolin), Alison Brown (banjo), Todd Phillips (bass), George Marinelli (guitar, mandolin, dobro) and Kenny Malone (percussion), she runs through six covers and, in an impressive display of versatility, sterling reworkings of five of her own compositions.
Curtis definitely suits the Nashville-inspired, live-in-the-studio approach she’s taken with these songs, particularly on the title track. A cover of The Carter Family classic, previously tackled by Emmylou Harris, Mary Gauthier takes up the role of vocal foil here for a lovely duet that doesn’t skimp on conviction, doing the original well-deserved justice. The absolute gem in the stone, though, is Curtis’s own ‘Dad’s Yard’, a moving expression of love for a father. In Hello, Stranger, she’s produced a rare gem and one hell of an album that any Catie Curtis, folk music or country music fan should include in their collection