Kate Maki gently rocks the Cameron House February 15. Rating: NNN
From the playful experimentation involved in Kate Maki’s recording of On High (an Optigan bit here, some barrelhouse piano-pounding there, and how about a little whistling?), it appears that the move out of her comfort zone to make the album with Howe Gelb in Tucson, Arizona, was a wise one.
While the desert detour clearly didn’t last long enough to rid her of all the unfortunate preciousness (Nathan Lawr and the Guthries’ Dale Murray are still involved), the consciously creaky On High sounds less like the work of a moonlighting science teacher than anything else that bears her name. Not quite as spooky-mysterious as Maki might have envisioned, but it may be just offbeat enough to save her from regrettable “next Feist” characterizations in the media.