Katie Thompson: Impossible (Thompson)

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Katie Thompson: Fading Fast
Katie Thompson: Impossible (Thompson)

New Zealand singer-songwriter Katie Thompson clearly has a following. This album was funded to the tune of US$50,000 through Sellaband (where supporters chip in for the artist to record an album) and she has just been announced as the opening for an Elton John concert in Dunedin later in the year. That's pretty good for a girl from Hokitika on the West Coast.

This mature outing -- just enough new country/pop crossover the get her to radio and Elton's audience -- comes with excellent musical support (Andy Taylor's guitars worthy of mention) and was produced by Greg Haver's studio in Britain. It sounds terrific and the neatly arranged strings and backing vocals never overwhelm.

Thompson writes and delivers a smart song too: Good as Gold leaps out as the kind of single which could head straight into the US charts where country-kissed pop is given a good hearing.

There's no denying her origins in country, but in many places here she steps well past that. The airy Curious Disgrace has an almost cinematic ambience and her voice keens gently over a spare piano part, Roll in Tide leans towards folk balladry (with sweeping, uplifting strings) and Keep Your Memory is entrancing where her voice sits right in the centre of attention with confidence in its power and her lyrics.

Thompson can tell a story and deliver a position (the not-going-to-take it sentiment of Cruel to be Kind) and she isn't without a poetic turn either (the crisp imagery on Fading Fast).

The subdued country of Wild Weather at the end takes this out on the perfect note. 

With songs which move from bright pop to reflective acoustic songs, Impossible is an album in the best sense of the word. Radio should be picking up on the title track also, but there's plenty of quieter hometime listening here too.

Sort of album you'd happily chip in to support at a guess.

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