Reviews and Press

Katrina Carlson captured pop fans’ hearts with her debut album, 2001’s Apples for Eve, while her smash sophomore set, 2003’s Untucked, helped send a quartet of singles into the U.S. charts. Since then, the singer experimented with an edgier sound, but returned to lusher pastures for her third set, Here and Now. “Break My Fall,” however, is a sharp reminder of her journey into tougher lands, on a song underpinned at points by fiery rock guitar that singes classic rock territory. “The Secret” is nowhere near as hard, yet still has a pop/rock edge, but these two song’s are the exception to the set’s overwhelmingly soft and quiet rule. The album’s lovely title track and first single is much more representative, a shimmering number filled with orchestral strings that swell languorously into the crystalline chorus. “Daisy in Chains,” in contrast, is dappled with ’60s sunshine pop, threatening to break from its shackles, and just about does during the anthemic chorus. In contrast, “No One Is to Blame” is deliberately edged with an ’80s pop style, a reminder of its past. A Top Five hit for Howard Jones back in 1986, the British star joins Carlson for a cover that arguably bests the original smash. Its downbeat theme fits beautifully within this set, whose own themes revolve around fragile relationships, searches for love, and the need to hold it tight. For Carlson, love is a balm, and the only cure for her own insecurity. Obviously she’s not alone in this attitude, giving her lyrics a universal appeal. The music, comforting and comfortable, soft as a summer breeze, and flecked with lush atmospheres and pop sweetness, provides the perfect foil for Carlson’s own sweet tones and heartfelt deliveries. The album may be a tad to laid-back for the pop kids, but more mature fans will adore it.

A hit on adult contemporary radio, the rootsy singer-songwriter from Arizona is back with her third album, “Here and Now.”  The second (and title) track off the new disc blends her gentle voice with heartfelt lyrics and a backing orchestra for a power ballad inspired by holding her newborn baby for the first time.

Katrina Carlson has established a quiet, but persistently prosperous reputation at AC radio with five hits, beginning with 2003’s Benny Mardones duet, “I Know You By Heart,” then an endearing cover of the Cars’ “Drive” through to top 15 2006 hit “You Are Christmas.”  Upcoming full-length “Here and Now” is previewed with another creatively arranged cover/duet: 1986 AC No. 1 “No One is to Blame,” featuring the song’s original artist, Howard Jones, on vocals and piano. Production from Ron Aniello (Barenaked Ladies, Lifehouse, Jars of Clay) keenly preserves familiar elements, as Carlson and Jones trade off with innate chemistry that makes the song sound as if it were always meant to be delivered as such.  “Blame” feels primed to fuel Carlson’s first top 10 at the format.  Utterly charming.
– Chuck Taylor

Singer Katrina Carlson may not be Southern, but she does call herself a country girl.  Carlson was born and raised in Scottsdale, AZ.

“I lived in the most western style city in the west.  I am a Southwest country girl,” Carlson said.

There is not even a trace of country music’s typical twang in Carlson’s voice.  However, her lyrical, storytelling songwriting style does fit in with songs written by some of country music’s greatest singer/songwriters.

Carlson’s music especially shares similarites to that of country favorite Deanna Carter.  Both ladies have the same knack for writing about life’s ups and downs, sometimes in a serious manner and others in an over-the-top hilarious way.

When it comes to Carlson’s voice, it is extremely smooth and could be compared to likes of Sheryl Crow, Jewel and Sarah McLachlan.  “We’re all rockers, but friendly rockers,” Carlson said, while laughing.  “I love to play music to lift people up.”

She has had a successful career with several albums.  She is planning to release her new CD, “Here and Now,” early this Summer.  Carlson did not start  out in what she calls the pop, rock ‘n’ folk genre.  She was classically trained and developed skills in the operatic and Broadway singing styles.  “It’s a salute to my roots.  Plus, people seem to like it.”  She plans to begin her Knoxville performance, which will be held at 7:30 p.m. on April 21 at the Civic Coliseum, with 30 seconds from a song from the opera, “Carmen.”

Her Knoxville performance will allow Carlson to experience a dream come true, to perform during the same show as her childhood hero Kenny Loggins.

The concert is also a fundraiser for East Tennessee Children’s Hospital.  Ticket prices start at $45.  “This is a cause that is near and dear to my heart.  I have my own children, and one of my friends has a child who is in and out of the children’s hospital here,” Carlson said.

For more information on Carlson or to enjoy some of her tunes, visit www.KatrinaCarlson.com.

“Katrina Carlson should be a tutor in indie promotion.  “Suddenly Beautiful” is the fourth hit single from debut CD “Untucked,” which, oddly, has yet to be picked up by a major label.  Unlike previous adult contemporary offerings (most notably, “I Know You By Heart” with Benny Mardones and a cover of the Cars’ “Drive”), Carlson demonstrates a bit more acoustic-leaning grit in the Jack Joseph Puig radio mix – which makes sense, given the lyric: “I’m a fallen star, the sky gets so dark you don’t know/Suddenly, you make me beautiful.”  Such poignancy is rare for AC radio, but programmers are clearly developing a rare core artist for the format.  Talent can still transcend the machine.  “Beautiful,” indeed.
– Chuck Taylor

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