Saturday, November 08, 2008

Music You Should Know: Katie Becker

When I first began to check out the local music scene, one of the names that kept popping up was Lancaster's Katie Becker. My friend Hiram Ring told me about her and I knew that he and some other friends had been working with her on some recordings. My first exposure to Katie's music was the song "Spring Rondo" from the first Music For Everyone compilation CD, featuring the music of quite a few Lancaster-based bands and musicians. From the first hearing I was sold.

Now Katie has just released her first official CD, the EP titled Firstborn, and after listening through a few times I'm even more convinced that she's one of the musical gems of Central PA. With influences as diverse as Bjork, U2, and Brandi Carlile, Becker's music is presented within a framework featuring a Sufjan Stevens sort of sensibility. The music is dreamy and pleasant and sucks you in further with each new listen. At times her vocals reminds me of everyone from the aforementioned Bjork to others such as Sigur Ros, Eisley, and even a bit of Natalie Merchant. Katie's voice is truly a musical instrument in and of itself, moving fluidly up and down the scales.

The EP starts off with the popular "Spring Rondo," then moves into the vocal instrumental "Chant in A-flat" which sounds like something that should be used in a film soundtrack; a truly angelic piece of music. The CD really picks up steam with the airy and pleasant "The Garden," then heads into "Widow Makers." The final song is the sparsley arranged "Age + Hope (sketch)" which features Katie's versatile vocal gymnastics.

Helping out on the CD are guitarist Hiram Ring, pianist Matt Monticchio, bassist Rob Nye (Kheris and The Sleeping World), and others, including a few of Katie's sibling. Make sure you contact Katie to get a hold of this EP or purchase the download at iTunes for just $4.95, and you can even check her out this Saturday night, November 15th as she opens for Josh Garrels beginning at 8pm at Senorita Burrita in Lancaster. I've never had the pleasure of seeing Katie perform live, however I've heard from people I trust that her performances at The Chameleon Club and other venues are truly stellar.

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