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kathleen sabo: Press

In her first full-length CD, "Map of the World," Kathleen Sabo successfully channels her quick mind and open heart into a suite of songs that can touch and inspire listeners.

Sabo and her music/production partner Larry Mitchell create engaging and inventive beds for Sabo's thoughtful lyrics throughout. The opening track, "Hey Jimmy!" shines sonically to begin with before you realize that you're in an extremely clever lyrical mash-up of some of the great lines from great songs of the last 40 years. While the lines hang together well to create their own fresh story, it's fun to watch your mind work through the references to songs from the Beatles to the Police to the Talking Heads. As to who's Jimmy and who's the Joni that's calling in the lyric, the Joni might be easier to guess at since part of Sabo's rangy voice and literate lyricism certainly finds roots in Joni Mitchell's early songs.

Like Mitchell's best work, Sabo knows how to play both sides of the emotional spectrum in single songs. In "Flow," she acknowledges that power in us that we both fear and need. In "Fuel For The Fire," there may be "muck and mire...want and desire" but there's also "food for thought, tools for love and fuel for the fire." In other songs like "The Only One," wherein Sabo wonders if she's the only one seeing the damage all around, she sees a glimmer of hope for peace IF we start paying attention soon enough.

Some tracks come off a bit like sermons, from a preacher you come to hear because you want to. The appropriately titled "As Above, So Below," offers a list of good natured urgings for us to go green, work at play, stash our baggage and tap into our own personal power to make change in our lives first, then the world. The track opens with Robert Mueller's simple, haunting piano figure before shifting into a driving industrial bed that carries Sabo's playbook for what she sees as a more present life path.

The world itself gets turned on its end in the CD's title cut. Essentially asking which end, if any, is up in our perception of globe, Sabo morphs the idea into a challenge to remake our world, not the way someone else expects us to, but as we see fit.

In a couple of songs, Sabo has fun with food imagery. She ties the sweetness of vanilla icing to a delicious relationship in "Cravings," and explores slightly wacky wordplay to urge listeners to "Buy Local" ("Spend your nickels on homemade pickles").

Larry Mitchell's production keeps things bright and I love the occasional use of the backwards bending note that, ever since The Beatles popularized it, always gets my attention. (First notes of "Hey Jimmy!" and "As Above, So Below" - they had me right there!). The arrangements and lyrics reward repeated listenings. The more time you spend with Kathleen Sabo, the more you'll take away from her compelling offering.

With this release, Sabo walks the walk of tapping into her own creative power, giving in to the flow, and tossing out a message in a bottle from her corner of this map of the world. When it washes up on your shore, check it out.

Paul Ingles
Independent Producer
Producer and Host
Paul Ingles