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Kate Gaffney - The Coachman
Kate Gaffney - The Coachman
CD Review by Jud Conway on 12/4/2008   

The Coachman opens with the mellifluous sound of a single, breathy vocal accompanied by a gently-strummed lone acoustic guitar on "My Word," only to erupt, moments later, into glorious full-band splendor on "My Kind of Man." This dichotomy is a core component of Kate Gaffney, a singer/songwriter who can just as easily lull listeners with a soothing country-folk ballad or rock them with a searing electric jam number.

Leaving behind an established career as a Social Worker, Kate Gaffney dove full-time into her music and never looked back. She honed her craft in the Sacramento and Philadelphia music scenes, releasing two independent albums, "Highways" and "The New Then," before hooking up with the DIG Music label.

The Coachman, Kate Gaffney’s debut DIG Music release, was produced by Barrie Maguire (Natalie Merchant, The Wallflowers, Amos Lee) and backed by, among others, members of Ben Harper’s band (The Innocent Criminals), Steve Kimock, Greg Leisz (Dave Alvin), and fellow DIG recording artist Jackie Greene. Gaffney wrote or co wrote all but two of the album’s ten tracks; the exceptions being Jackie Green’s "Ballad of Sleepy John" and an impassioned run through Woody Guthrie’s classic "Philadelphia Lawyer."

Key tracks include the upbeat "Fallen for the Road," resplendent in its Robbie Robertson-like guitar fuzz, the Fleetwood Mac-ish "Before I Go" and the seventies-era Eric Clapton-styled "Falls Bridge." The real gem is the title track, which also serves as the disc’s closer. Clocking in at well over eighteen minutes, "The Coachman" is a pedal-steel and organ-driven extended-jam number that whispers of the Grateful Dead.

Kate Gaffney’s The Coachman is a strong, song-focused album from a promising young artist who has the talent to deliver the goods.

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