Shoestring Review: Kara Kulpa's "The Water's Edge"

The Water's Edge.
All photos courtesy of Kara Kulpa 
It's high time we took a break from my financial kvetching and once again throw the spotlight on a musician who, in true "Shoestring Style" is making her own way on the club circuit: Kara Kulpa. Our regulars readers will recall that Kulpa is also a member of the group Kristen Ford Band, whose CD The Grindstone I reviewed on this blog in January. Recently I got my hands on a copy of her solo turn The Water's Edge, a solid set that proves Kulpa's fine work with KFB is no fluke.

Kara Kulpa...

Don't expect the rollicking, rock-infused tunes characteristic of Ford's group on The Water's Edge however. A softer vibe dominates this playlist: intensely contemplative and lyrically precise, Kulpa's music merits close listening but also is perfectly suited for those moments when you just need some sounds that you don't have to think about --just experience. It's what you want to hear when driving down the open road to who knows where or on those lazy Sunday mornings you wish would never give up the ghost to another Monday.

...a contemplative song-smith.

The unbreakable threads running through the album are Kulpa's dusky vocals, think Natalie Merchant without the shrill flourishes. But what most distinguishes Kulpa from the singer-songwriter pack is the variety of instruments she plays with an accomplished and "makes it look easy when it's so not" dexterity. In addition to the guitar, she plays ukele, organ and violin. Add to the mix strong background vocals & eclectic instrumentals (see full credits below) The Water's Edge is tight and sure of itself from beginning to end.


Additional credits, the following guest musicians also contributed to the THE WATER'S EDGE: Jeremiah Birnbaum - Vocals, guitar, banjo, bass,lap steel; Kris Delmhorst - Vocals, cello; Richard Gates - Bass; Dave Golden - Vocals, piano, guitar, lap steel; Chris Merenda - banjo; Shelley Miller - vocals, guitar; Brad Wentworth - Percussian. Production team: Dave Golden - Producer; Mark Thayer - Signature Sounds Studio in Pomfret CT ; Jeremiah Birnbaum - Sound Mix; Ian Kennedy - New Alliance East Studio in Allston MA; Alison Swiatocha - Photography, artwork & design.


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