Kat Riggins tears up on Cry Out on New Album

Guitar wizard Mike Zito and his Gulf Coast Records seem to have an unerring ability to sign up the cream of blues talent and, with Mike usually on guitar and producing duties, provide some of the most satisfying blues of the current era. He’s done it again with the blues vocalist, Kat Riggins as she expands on the promise of her previous albums and delivers an exceptionally strong set of proper blues infused with helpings of rock, soul, R’n’B, and gospel…a very tasty recipe in the hands of this Floridian lady with a voice that can melt the hardest heart or add a stinging vocal as the song demands. On her debut for the label, Kat has written or cowritten thirteen quality songs that demonstrate her unique, expressive vocals (no comparisons here!)

Opener, Son Of A Gun, with its infectious percussion intro takes us into blues rock with a slight southern tinges and, if you haven’t heard her before, proves why a powerful voice she is…both literally and lyrically: in fact, I’d advise listening carefully to all of the lyrical messages as she covers many apposite subjects. Zito provides some great backing and a solo to envy…a helluva good start. The title track is a more traditional blues rock approach with guitar, keys and harp providing the perfect backdrop for Kat to put mean into meaning. There’s some delightful guitar playing too with a thoughtful solo…natch! Meet Your Maker brings horns into play behind the funky layers from the band. Kat is again on form with another on point message. The overall feel takes you back to the 70s funk/blues that often hit the charts (as we used to say).

Catching Up is nigh on pure rock but Kat puts the blues firmly in place on the vocal melody as Zito really rocks it up with yet more tasty guitar. Truth is next and, if you listen closely, is very honest and revealing…if you are. The story is painted over a delightful blues-rock backing that is simple and yet so effective…and there’s a class harmony guitar solo too. Hand In The Hand starts as pure gospel with Kat showing her vocal versatility before a countrified blues guitar and backing reinforces the debt the blues owes to gospel music. Not as rocky as the rest but still a simply beautiful composition. Wicked Tongue is in a heavier vein with guest guitarist, Albert Castiglia, adding some stinging guitar to match the lyrics so well. Yes, the basic riff has been used many times but the ‘stomp’ it provides works well with other melodies and it all comes together perfectly. Can You See Me Now Kat really attacks the lyrics with Zito matching her with his playing the right number of notes in the right places.

Burn It All Down is blues-rock personified with Kat even giving us a count in…the guitar riff is familiar again but the rest is all new, all Kat and all good. On It’s Way is a big change from what’s gone before: a catchy as hell shuffle with horny horns and great keyboards backing the ever-versatile Ms. Riggins…me being me however, I’d have preferred a guitar solo rather than the very competent sax solo: still a good song though. No Sale is the penultimate song and takes us back to gospel tinges but with southern slide guitar making for yet another strong performance as the storyline unfolds with Satan in a familiar starring role. The final track is, rather aptly, almost elemental in its ‘Tons of Sobs’ blues background as Kat and Zito build tension and passion as his clever phrasing frames Kats’ most powerful and compelling vocals.

This is a fine blues rock album that can stand proud amongst the many in this crowded genre…the fact that every note in every song is delivered impeccably means you owe it to yourself to give this one a listen. Add into that the warmth and colour injected by the soulful and gospel touches in some of the songs and you have a diverse, compelling and thoroughly enjoyable album.

Bluesdoodles rating: A Wonderful album that deserves listening to closely and repeatedly.

Track listing:
1. Son of a Gun
2. Cry Out
3. Meet Your Maker
4. Catching Up
5. Truth
6. Hand in the Hand
7. Heavy
8. Wicked Tongue
9. Can You See Me
10. Burn It All Down
11. On It’s Way
12. No Sale
13. The Storm

Musicians:
Kat Riggins: vocals
Mike Zito: guitar
Lewis Stephens: keyboards
Doug Byrkit: bass
Brian Zielie: drums
Johnny Sansone: harmonica
Eric Demmer: saxophone
Fernando Castillo: trumpet
Albert Castiglia: guitar

Kat Riggins tears up on Cry Out on New Album
Kat Riggins tears up on Cry Out on New Album

(The iTunes run on track may surprise…Kate Bush is a talent that I could never ignore: sure not every song is to my taste but the sweeping compositions she comes up with demand attention…Sat In Your Lap from The Dreaming is one such song.)

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