Canada has bred some of the finest female voices decade after decade. Simply working backwards chronologically from Alessia Cara to Joni Mitchell with several dozen in between, all genres and many languages are represented by Canadian women on the international stage. Some voices are loud – I’m looking at you, Celine. Others find their voices in a softer space. One that has been entertaining many for decades is Toronto’s Kate Fenner. Though based in NYC now for years, she cut her teeth for a decade in touring and college radio juggernauts, the Bourbon Tabernacle Choir. Post breakup, Fenner and Bourbons keyboardist, Hugh Christopher Brown remained together as a duo in New York. After seven albums and almost another decade together, the duo chose to actively pursue solo careers, though they continued to collaborate till present.
Kate Fenner as a purely solo artist has released now 3 albums, the latest being 2017’s stunner, Middle Voice. The album was produced by musician, singer-songwriter and producer, Tony Scherr and backed by an impressive team of players including Scherr, Brown, Bill Frisell and Norah Jones. Middle Voice is a collection of songs that speak of love, good and bad, disappointments, frustrations, but with those, wisdom and understanding as well. The album’s impetus was generated prior to Fenner’s thyroid cancer surgery. She decided she had to get the basis of this album recorded, just in case. From what must have been a stressful waiting and healing period then ultimately layered upon over a following year with Scherr at the helm, this story isn’t told in an obvious manner. Middle Voice is undoubtedly lovely but despite its background sounds still serves to highlight Kate Fenner’s rich and confident voice. Shining brightest is The Yield.
Find out more about Kate Fenner’s terrific album in the usual spots.