Loose Diamond

Katy Moffatt

Hightone Records, 1999


REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


The first time I ever heard Katy Moffatt was on her last disc Angel Town, a scaled-down production that showcased one of the genre's most underrated performers. In an era where Shania Twain is revered and Garth Brooks is treated like the God of the moment, Moffatt's vocals and the stripped-down sound the disc had showed just how powerful country-folk could be. It was a wonderful revelation.

One album later, Moffatt returns with a full-band sound - and it unfortunately takes away from her legacy. Loose Diamond still highlights Moffatt as a star who is burning bright while some people have chosen not to look at it, but it's nowhere near the kind of album that my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Angel Town was... a pity.

At least early on, the focus of the disc is more on the country aspect of the music than anything else; tracks like "I Walk Along" and "Here We Go" are examples of this new approach. Unfortunately, they're not as accessible, though I guess someone who was more into country music would appreciate these tracks more than I did. But it's disappointing that the folk aspect of the music is put on the shelf - at least for a while.

Loose Diamond rediscovers the storytelling aspect that made Angel Town such a wonderful album on songs like "Waitin' For The Sun To Shine," "The Cuckoo" (featuring producer Dave Alvin in a duet with Moffatt) and the title track. The problem is that it feels like including these songs is just a symbolic tip of the hat to the old magic - even so, I'll gladly take more tracks like these, thank you very much.

While the bulk of Loose Diamond is still an enjoyable album, the magic just doesn't shine as brightly as before. Songs like "Burning Memories," "Whiskey Money & Time", "Stoned At The Jukebox" and "So Long Baby Goodbye" just don't connect in a way I would have expected. Then again, where I once said that Angel Town was an album I had to listen to two or three times to really appreciate, maybe Loose Diamond just requires a little more time and attention.

It's not that Moffatt should never have examined her country side; she's never been afraid to admit in her music that country is a major force in her work. But it seemed like she was able to strike a balance between country and folk previously; maybe this time around, she wanted to put a little more emphasis on her roots and a little less on the folk aspect.

Loose Diamond is still an album that you'll be able to appreciate - but it's not quite equal to the crown jewel in her discography. Compared to Angel Town, this disc just doesn't have the same kind of sparkle.

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1999 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 Hightone Records, and is used for informational purposes only.