Jerry Joseph & Kate Burkart
Some songwriters just strike down to the heart of things. Even when they're being tender they nail you in the soul's solar plexus, shaking us with words and wires and something inescapably human. Jerry Joseph is this kind of composer - a rocker with emotional scalpel that cuts deep every time. He wears his influences on his sleeve - Elvis Costello, Neil Young, John Lennon, Steve Earle - but tailors them in ways that are always distinctly himself, probing the politics of love and nations with equal dexterity. By turns tough and unbelievably bruised, Joseph's work manages to be joyfully pissed off and achingly bittersweet, often within the space of just a few verses. There's a healthy restlessness to his music, a stripe of his modernity and tireless engagement with the world that places him next to younger contemporaries like Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes) and Ryan Adams.
Joseph has worked tirelessly since his late '80s/early '90s days in Little Women, averaging an album a year since 1994. Often live-on-the-floor affairs, there's an immediacy and personal reach to his albums like kindred spirits Chris Whitley and Vic Chesnutt, his fellow toilers in the under-sung singer-songwriter field. Like the best musicians, there's always a forward motion to his work, some force that compels things ahead from where they've been, something one hears loud & clear on his latest project, The Denmark Veseys, a malleable band named a controversial slave revolt leader from the 1800's and based around the core of Joseph and master percussionist Steve Drizos that released their self-titled debut in early 2008, which ranges from the Buzzcocks-like punk pop of "Helena Bucket" to the masterful Americana sway of "Cochise" to incendiary agit-prop rockers like "Ho Chi Minh." Produced by David Barbe (Drive-By Truckers, Son Volt), the new record has the measured intelligence of craftsmen able to whisper and scream on several levels at once, a callback to a time when real musicians made thoughtful rock 'n' roll albums that thrive on repeat, revealing fresh details and nuances over time hidden amongst the lesions and frustrations Joseph & Drizos etch so eloquently on their debut.
Kate Burkart is a San Francisco-based singer/songwriter/bassist. Her 2010 album "Faith to Fall" showcases her talent writing for evocative and honest songs, exploring themes of love, faith, and loss.
Kate's work is woven with intimacy and sincerity. In a world where music more often shouts than whispers, Kate's songs are distinguished by their subtleties...and her confessional style takes a less tangible route to your consciousness.
Her EP, "The Simple Things" will be released in Spring 2013.