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Kathleen Cairns and Tattoo Blue|
What’s Left Don’t Feel Right
Review Date: October 2007
by Mark E. Gallo
One of the most intriguing and totally riveting independent projects to reach these ears in the past few years, Kathleen Cairns and Tattoo Blue are a no-frills blues band who bring extraordinary original material and chops to the table in equal measure. The opening “Faultline,” on which she sings “Today it’s my fault, baby/tomorrow who knows/you’re like a volcano/ready to explode/we’re on shaky ground/and the lines are going down,” the band cooks behind her powerful vocals, and guest Mick Martin blows authoritative harp. For nearly 50 minutes the patterns repeats: Clever lyrics, knock out vocals, extraordinary musicianship. Tattoo Blue, comprised of Steve Dunne on guitars and keys, Kenny Webb on bass, keyboardist Dave Kaffinetti, drummer Ed Seeberger and vocalist Cairns, are based out of Oakland, CA, one of the most fertile blues grounds in the country. It’s a safe bet that they’re highly regarded among fans and fellow players alike, as there is nothing on this disc that is less than spellbinding. On “One Good Reason” she sings of a relationship on shaky ground and her search for one good reason to stay, and on the medium ballad “I Do,” she sings of a relationship that needs a little more time than work and other outside problems get. There’s certainly a theme here of love lost, and Cairns and her delightful vocals are well suited to the delivery. “Drowning In A Sea of Love,” one of two covers on the set, is a medium tempo funky piece anchored by B3, drums and steady bass work, on which she stretches exquisitely. “Since You Left,” penned by Dunne, is a breath of fresh air in the relationship tangle. Here, the singer is finally able to report that “since you left me, my blues are gone.” The rollicking “I’m Gonna Miss You Like The Devil” is less about second thoughts than getting accustomed to the new life. She allows that she might miss him like the devil, “but these things I’ll overcome.” Piano, guitar and drums all shine here. “Checkin’ Out” is a tune about finding her man checking in with someone as she was checking out with someone and finding a way to drop the blame in his lap. “There’s nothing worse than checking out,” she sings, “That’s the part that I hate the most/Nothing worse than checking out/’Cept maybe turning around to find you checking in/Well, you better start splaining/What you’re doing here with that girl … ain’t no man of mine gonna cheat on me!” Again, lyrically and musically as sharp as it gets. If Cairns and the band get on the road, don’t miss them. This is a woman overdue for much wider exposure. Very impressive and highly recommended from these quarters.
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