Kathryn Calder: “Who Are You?”
A few years back, Kathryn Calder found herself in an enviable–if not daunting–position. The young Canadian musician was asked to fill in for Neko Case on a tour with the New Pornographers, but “filling in” is hardly an easy task when she was asked to replicate Case’s powerful voice and complicated phrasing. How did she do? Well, she was asked to become a full-time member of the power-pop supergroup in 2006. And with that kind of musical pedigree, it’s no wonder that Calder is quickly making a name for herself as a solo artist.
Last year saw the release of her solo debut, Are You My Mother?, a harrowing but poignant portrayal that Calder recorded when caring for her sick mother. Her new album, Bright And Vivid, is no less powerful, but it’s due to the music itself rather than the subject matter. As the keyboardist in the New Pornographers, we could expect Calder’s songs to have pop hooks, but Bright And Vivid folds these hooks into larger-than-life arrangements. Her time spent as Neko Case’s understudy has served her well, as Calder’s voice sounds big and forceful.
A song like “Who Are You?” is a bit of a departure from Calder’s past, sounding more at home in a club than in hipsters’ headphones. But there’s one thing that’s undeniable: Kathryn Calder won’t be getting the titular question much longer.