Rain And Mud And Wild And Green

Christine Kane

Big Fat Music, 2002


REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


The first rule of modern-day alt-folk is quite simple: Always leave your audience thinking about things a little deeper than they did when they first came in. Jim Croce knew how to do that. So did Harry Chapin. And, to an extent, Dave Alvin knows how to do that these days.

Add Christine Kane's name to that list. Her indie release Rain And Mud And Wild And Green is an amazingly powerful disc which doesn't lose sight of the fact that people need to laugh as well as think deeply about where their lives are (something else that Croce and Chapin knew).

Kane's reliance on acoustic instrumentation (with the occasional electric guitar thrown in for good measure) helps to keep this music grounded in the earth - something which works well for her songwriting and delivery style. I couldn't see a song like "She Don't Like Roses" or "All The Relatives" working if it had an electric core to it. Kane knows how to write a solid story wrapped up in song, then deliver it in the most effective way, optimizing its power.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Kane also knows how to strike a balance between seriousness and frivolity, between heartbreak and happiness. Tracks such as "The Way You Say Goodbye" and "Or Just Heading Home" deliver their emotional blows in the beautiful songcrafting done by Kane and her backing musicians, painting portraits which will stick with the listener for a while after the CD stops spinning in their player. But in the same manner, Kane uses realistic humor to lighten things up, as on "(No Such Thing As) Girls Like That," which dispels the myth that boys will eventually marry Playmates of the Month. (My only concern with this song is that radio will latch onto it and try to turn Kane into a novelty hit, a la Jill Sobule and "I Kissed A Girl".) Likewise, for all of the heartbreak on this disc, there are plenty of stories of true love as heard on "She Don't Like Roses," and friendship as heard on "Everything Green".

If I had to say one negative thing about Rain And Mud And Wild And Green, it's that this is not a disc you want to listen to when you're depressed. Even on the songs with a more positive message, Kane's delivery style will have the listener locked in deep introspection - not a bad thing in and of itself, but just not always what you need to hear when the only clouds in your personal sky are brewing up tornadoes.

Rain And Mud And Wild And Green is the kind of disc that every artist in every genre would kill for: an indie disc made exactly to the musician's specifications without pressure from the business. It would not surprise me if this turns out to be the disc that launches Kane into a level of stardom...but it would disappoint me if it goes unnoticed. Kane has crafted a masterpiece here that needs to be experienced by music lovers of all genres. Rediscover the power of country-tinged folk, and see why Kane's name should be mentioned in the same breath as Shawn Colvin's.

For more information or to order this CD, please visit Christine Kane's Web site.

Rating: A-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2002 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Big Fat Music, and is used for informational purposes only.