The Katie Glassman Quintet performed at New West Fest in Fort Collins this past Saturday, and was thankfully still on stage, for a song or two, when I finished my volunteer shift and could resume wandering the festival with my trusty pink camera. After several rock/alternative acts, Katie’s sound was refreshingly different, and I was not the only one in my ticket-booth who was enjoying this lady’s well-crafted music. The woman I worked the last part of my shift with made a point to look up the name of the act we were hearing after the first song filtered through to our tent, and I’m sure she, too, looked up Katie Glassman online after the festival for more of her music. Despite the fact that it had been raining sporadically for the past few hours, and that Alison Krauss would not be in town, let alone on stage, for another hour or more, the crowd in front of the main stage was actually quite well-populated for this lovely lady and her fiddle. (I must admit I rather enjoyed the dress and hat she chose for her show, too- I was glad I had no companion to witness my ‘girly fashion moment’ as I admired Katie’s outfit from my shady bit of curb, but she did look very nice, and her appearance fit in well with her music.)
I only actually caught the last song of her show, though we could hear the rest of it while we worked at the booth, so I pulled up her new album, Snapshot, on spotify for a more thorough listen and have been going back to it every so often ever since. Interestingly, this album started out rather organically, sort of emerging and evolving over time, so that according to Katie’s own narrative on Kickstarter, it incorporates 16 musicians. Unlike a lot of albums, this one’s tracks don’t all sound the same, and it comes across not just as a collection of individually nice tunes, but as a well-crafted album. I was/am impressed, and I hope there will be lots more to come from Katie and her fellow musicians.
Katie Glassman’s sound is a sort of “grown-up happy”, dance-able and somehow not sappy or mushy. This is the sort of stuff I wish was populating the top-40 radio shows. It is music for adults who want to keep finding new ideas and who enjoy helping to craft the culture of the present, rather than clinging blindly to tastes and interests from distant highschool or college days. (She and her musicians also seem to have great taste in hats, btw.) Katie’s instrument of choice is the fiddle/violin, and according to her website she studied violin at the University of Colorado, and later spent a year studying music in France as well. Her genre is ‘music’, or maybe ‘whatever great music one can put together around a fiddle/violin’, which really works well. I’m guessing from the in-progress state of her blog and the very short list of upcoming events on her website calender that this impressive lady-musician is still inventing her place in the Colorado music scene.
Katie’s music offers an aesthetic that hip modern furniture companies, clothing designers and knick-knack sellers often try to cater to, eclectic, fresh, energetic and intelligent, and there are a lot of artists in music trying to make the music to go with this emerging cultural style. But Katie Glassman and her group manage not to sound like they are trying to match someone else’s style; this is the real thing. I could see her music fitting nicely with TV ads for Anthropologie merchandise, or for some new artsy-trendy pedestrian mall furniture gallery, and I’m sure such a spot would not hurt when it comes time for these folks to pay bills, but I hope by the time she gets around to making a new album she will still sound as authentic and interesting.