Katie Powderly’s music permeates the boundaries of genre, inhabiting a space somewhere between alt-country and folk. It transcends the confines of linear chronology, as well; it is vintage and current, nostalgic and prophetic. Respectful of tradition while remaining relevant, Powderly presents a promising musical hybrid in her painstakingly hand-hewn tunes.
According to Adam Hajnos at Flying Rooster, "It’s folk noir with a kind of David Lynch-y dreaminess, as though Powderly is struggling to stave off a sort of encroaching darkness. Her pairing of beauty and sadness is one not easily rivaled. But fear not-the album is not a downer. Far from it. It just demonstrates her ability to acknowledge her demons, and maybe even dance with them a little, before casting them off into the night as she makes her first tentative steps toward dawn."
"Her voice wraps itself around a melody and before you know it you’re hooked; the songs lure you in, seep into your heart, and linger in your ear throughout the quiet of your day" he continues. And he's right.
The key elements of her music are her harrowingly honest lyrics sung with an almost rebellious resolve to endure in the face of immense loss. She is weary, but never weak; bewildered, but never broken; discouraged, but never defeated. There is defiance in her delivery, suggestive of an unseen strength simmering just below the surface.
Her hopefulness is at times fragile. But it is there. She might be lovelorn, but she is not lost. Not for long, anyway.
One listen is all it takes to become consumed by Powderly's songs, convinced of the depth of her conviction and captivated by her voice and its intense vulnerability. The themes in her work-loneliness and love, desperation and deliverance, rejection and redemption-resonate within all of us, so her listeners experience each one of her salted wounds and hard-won triumphs alongside her.
A competent guitar player, she does not rest upon the laurels of her singing voice. Rather, her rhythm guitar is the foundation upon which she carefully places pedal steel, fiddle, electric guitar, baritone guitar, and a melody and harmony so in sync with one another you’d think her melody was a horse upon which harmony galloped across her songs’ vast auditory landscapes.
The result is as real as it is riveting: an endearing mixture of immediacy, intimacy, and imperfection. It is acoustic American music with that you-know-it-when-you-hear-it authenticity. And it is anything but commonplace.
Her highly anticipated debut solo LP is out now. Own it.