Kat Parsons – It Matters To Me EP (2013)

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With her assertive It Matters To Me, the final disc in a three-EP series, Kat Parsons moves beyond more recent successes within quiet folkie settings and sweetly conveyed pop tunes. What makes this one so interesting is how, even with anthematic sounds billowing up all around, Parsons’s virtuoso vocal performances remain.

She begins with “I’ll Be Here” — which presents, with its straight-forward title, like a moment of reassurance. Instead, it’s a song about deep, deep hurt created by insurmountable distance, about loving something that is long, long gone, but never quite being able to let go of it. Parsons traces the dizzyingly weird ideas, the desperate day dreams, that we all cling to when trying to avoid the inevitable sad end of things.

As a theme, that’s not so far away from the things we heard on 2012’s Oh!. The difference is in the song’s boisterous presentation, as Parsons hurtles forward in a full-bodied, musically immersive way rarely hinted at in her far more confidential EP last year. Similarly, the title track pushes back, and hard, against disappointment. Singing against a sweeping, piano-driven torrent of emotion, Parsons not only stands her ground, she guides the song into a forceful new place, sounding bent but unbroken, sad but still resilient.

When It Matters To Me (due April 9, 2013) finally downshifts into the careful, stringed ruminations of “I Won’t Ask,” Parsons actually retains that lovely stoicism, despite the song’s brutal theme of passion’s absence. The country-tinged “Harder Than It Is” finds her voice, a wondrously raw thing that might have taken a backseat in this often more boisterous setting, front and center again — and the heartbreak is palpable.

Finally, there’s “One Day,” a guitar duet that blossoms into a swooning, impossibly George Martin-esque reminiscence — a moment that’s so huge, in fact, that it risks going over the top, as the strings surge skyward. Parsons, once again, provides a steadying, attentive presence, holding it all together with the specificity of her lyric and the keening power of her voice. When everything else gets louder, she somehow becomes even more direct, and It Matters To Me is all the more present and involving because of it.

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Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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