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Musician: Katy Boyd





Paper Hearts, the second album from California singer/songwriter Katy Boyd, is the sort of soft country/folk enjoyable on rainy afternoons when you want to relax and can’t go outside. It’s slow, personal music perfect for coffeehouses or small, intimate gatherings when you’re serving tea or wine.       

The short collection is nine original tunes and Boyd’s cover of “Can't Find My Way Home,” a bluegrass take on a Steve Winwood Blind Faith contribution. Throughout the release, producer Thomm Jutz provided guitars, keyboards and harmony vocals along with Nashville stalwarts Justin Moses (banjo, mandolin, fiddle), Mark Fein (bass), Fats Kaplin (steel guitar, accordion) and Lynn Williams (drums). As all but one of the selections are mellow, slow-paced introspections or story songs, the musical settings are spare, laid-back, and tasteful background for Boyd’s mature voice and comforting melodies.   

The album opens with the gentle, folksy traveling song, “Jigs & Reels & Ferris Wheels” which sets the tone for the rest of the performance. Personal insights begin with the clever “Time Machine” in which Boyd sings, if she had such a device, she’s warn Jesus about Judas, Juliet about Romeo, and “I wouldn’t marry you.” “Colors” is almost the album’s centerpiece with the singer telling us she’s a rainbow, free, full of colors like yellow, white, and green that illustrate the palate of her poetic personality. On the other hand, in the witty “I'm Not Depressed, Boyd says she’s suicidal but feeling the best she ever has. “Borderline” is perhaps the collection’s most contrived effort at songwriting, with all the clichés about being on the line pulled out for a woman somewhere in the place between whiskey and wine.

Looking outward, Boyd sketches a portrait of her “Mama” who “never intended to hurt no one, but it just worked out that way.” “Mary Katherine Magdalena” is a shamed Catholic girl who doesn’t understand why what’s good for a man isn’t good for a girl. “Happy Single Mothers Day” is very old-fashioned country in which a footloose mother considers putting “the kids up on EBay” and promising delivery the next day. The only really up-tempo number, “Circus Folk,” concludes the album. It’s full of images of circus acts that are metaphors for a colorful family and a tightrope act akin to “falling in love with you.”  

Katy Boyd has been winning songwriting contests and earning high marks for her festival appearances. Word has it, she has another release scheduled for 2012 with many of the same players on Paper hearts along with a new musical partner, Marty Atkinson. So expect that duet collection in the coming months. In the meantime, Paper hearts is for those who need some warm, low-key songs to brighten up a gloomy day.


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