Southwestern flavorings add spice to the darkness
New York-based singer/songwriter Dayna Kurtz’s fourth album is a meticulously slow artistic unpeeling.
She begins with the full-band force of “From the Bottom Up” and the confidence that comes with new, life-affirming love, but the neurotic doubt and her difficult acceptance that life is not meant to come easy immediately sets in. The songs grow quieter. “Nola,” her tribute to New Orleans written before Katrina, highlights the natural ache in her husky, bluesy slur. “Venezuela” and “Right For Me” recall the gilding lope of Tom Waits as Kurtz slips into her Lucinda Williams eveningwear, switching emphasis away from her blues ingénue to a cowgirl’s weary slur. Feather
was written primarily over two weeks in deliberate exile in the Arizona desert. Add an emphasis on Kurtz’s slide and gently picked guitar, a klezmer band that features accordion, trumpet and clarinet and there’s an unmistakable southwestern flavor to the material.