Blues Blast Magazine August 2020

Kat Pearson – My Roots
Tone Trade
9 tracks

Born in the states and predominantly raised in Los Angeles, Kathleen Pearson fell in love with London on a family trip when she was 18. After repeated visits, she finally relocated to the UK where she explored here music career. The blues found her (or she rediscovered the blues) while in Spain ang when she returned to London she found blues musicians and the band Kat & Co. began. Here 2013 and 207 CDs were well received and her work since resulted in this fine CD as part of her “Kat Pearson” project. She also appears as part of The Speakeasy trio.

Joining Pearson (who handles the vocals) are Francesco Accurso on guitars, Marco Marzola on the double bass, Mico Menci on piano, and Lele Barbieri on drums. Recorded in London live at Resident Studios, the sound is clear, cool and balanced. Pearson sings with passion and grit and the band is excellent in her support and on their own.

“Cane Creek” opens with some nice guitar as Pearson joins in telling her vocal tale about growing up in the old, hard days in Cane Creek. More spoken word than song, the overall feel is cool and the guitar is somber and quite cool, solo and in support. “When The Blues Is Over” follows, a mid tempo cut mixing blues and jazz stylistically to good effect. She sings with feeling and the piano work is super. A guitar solo follows on the heels of the piano and it is also up to the task. Next is “Where I Belong,” a slow blues with Kat testifying breathlessly and with emotion. There’s more tasteful piano here along with Kat’s vocals. “The Truth” is another slow to mid-tempo jazzy blues and here we get a good guitar solo with a bit of bite to it. “Ode To My Mother” is a slow, lamentful blues where Pearson and Accurso both emote through their instruments.

“Can’t Leave It Alone” is a lot more uptempo beat-wise, although thematically Pearson sings about the emotional barriers from her relationship. Piano and guitar offer apt support and it’s another well done tune overall. Distorted guitar opens “Until I Get What I Need” (almost 2 full minutes), and then Kat come out with sass and basically tells her lover she needs more attention. She sings with gusto as she and the guitar so it alone and play well to each other. Up next is “Nothing Left To Lose,” a cut with a little swing and jump to it. More emotional baggage is exposed as Pearson sings her woman has left her and that’s what the title is all about. A stinging guitar solo is featured here along with Kat’s sassiness and some more cool piano, bass and percussion. The album finishes with “Labour’s Train.” Some big-time guitar and gritty vocals make this one fun as Pearson sings about growing up poor and black in the 1960’s. Guitar and vocals build to a conclusion and wrap up the set.

This is a good album. Pearson sings with a chip on her shoulder that give her delivery a cool edginess. The musicians are tight and do a great job. Pearson and/or band members wrote all the tracks and they are well crafted and delivered with obvious feeling. I enjoyed the album and folks looking for a good blues album with some jazzy overtones here and there will, too!

Reviewer Steve Jones is president of the Crossroads Blues Society and is a long standing blues lover. He is a retired Navy commander who served his entire career in nuclear submarines. In addition to working in his civilian career since 1996, he writes for and publishes the bi-monthly newsletter for Crossroads, chairs their music festival and works with their Blues In The Schools program. He resides in Byron, IL.