Heaping helping of high-profile local LPs
Reviewed by Abby Johnston, Fri., Oct. 31, 2014
After years of splitting time between the Big Apple and the live music capital, anachronistic chanteuse Kat Edmonson made the transition to full-time New Yorker. The move took her beyond the Austin wine bars and coffee shops where she paid her dues and landed TV ads with Coca-Cola and Zales. Now, the Houston native's third release and major label debut on Sony Music Masterworks, The Big Picture, employs lessons gleaned from the Great American Songbook while creating an aura unmistakably her own. Edmonson polished her vocal stylings on 2009 debut Take to the Sky through the work of the Cure, Henry Mancini, Cole Porter, and others. Songwriting on The Big Picture – 11 of 12 tracks bear her name – incorporates all, but plays out fresh and dewy. Sixties-leaning Mad Men ballad "Till We Start to Kiss," her jazz-touched soprano on the ebullient "Avion," and guitar-picked Miles Zuniga cover "You Can't Break My Heart" all fuse to the precise touch of Paul McCartney producer Mitchell Froom. Edmonson's voice swells and dips and weaves with effortless precision, arresting without belting. "Oh My Love" reverts to the down-tempo standards showcased on 2013's Way Down Low, the singer's nasally twinge relaxing into the style of jazz greats. Vocal frills ornament her backing band on "The Best," where she teeters on playful scatting in infectious swing time. The Big Picture tours us through bygone eras reinterpreted by a newly metropolitan outlook. Still, the steel guitars on "Crying" make you wonder if she doesn't miss Texas, if only a little bit.