It is always intriguing to find country musicians in areas that are not known for their country music scene, especially in the case of Katie Garibaldi. Katie is a San Francisco based artist with the heart and voice of a born and bred Tennessean, not a very notable quality in a lot of San Francisco based artists, but Katie works it like no other. On July 15th (My birthday!) she released her seventh album, Follow Your Heart, which is her first full length release, with a whopping 13 tracks on the record.
When given the album for review, I was told she sounded like Taylor Swift, which if you know me that could pretty much get me to listen to anything, but the closer I listened I was reminder more of a young Jewel and Alanis Morisette. As the album progresses though, a little of the Carrie Underwood’s attitude could be heard clear and through my headphones, especially in the track “Whispers & Rumors”, reminding me a lot of “Before He Cheats”.
I love the musicality in the tracks, each and everyone has all the essentials: banjo, drum brushes, violin/fiddle, whining guitar, acoustic guitar, and last but not least, a fat bass. A great mix down and blend of each instrument in their respective sound quality, all of which compliment Katie’s unique melody lines.
As far as Katie’s voice, it is a lot more airy than I would hope a country artist would have, as the modern country industry boasts belting singers. It could also be that her vocal track is not as loud as it should be in certain tracks, especially in heavy guitar and drum songs. But, I have to give her some credit on the vibrato in her voice, a bit airy as well, but she can clearly hold her own.
The tracks that stick out to me the most are “Always Kiss Me Goodnight”, “Stand In My Way”, and “Holding On.” In the first, I was just simply so enchanted by the story she was telling and her voice is simply phenomenal in the track. As I said before, her voice is a little airy to me personally, but in this track, it isn’t even apparent. When the chorus comes in, it truly touches your heart about the honesty in her songwriting. For “Stand In My Way”, I seriously can’t get enough of the guitar in the track, just a guitar picking acoustic complimented by drum brushes on a snare, with a little walk up bass. In “Holding On”, my favorite track off the album, she drops into the 6/8’s beat that brings about a Jeff Buckely-esque rhythm pattern, and remains that way throughout the track.
Overall, Katie has the elements of an up and coming country singer/songwriter and her album is a great effort into the market. I would love to see her have heavier instrumentation, like a rougher guitar, but for what she hoped to accomplish in this record, she was fully able to.