Thursday, June 19, 2008

now playing: Karen Mal:The Space Between

The Space Between

When I was Three: that might, you'd think from the title, be a sentimental or perhaps funny song about childhood. In singer and songwriter Karen Mal’s hands, it’s instead a reflection of change, growing up and growing older, and looking back, that’s at once bittersweet and warm. Mal has a gift for that sort of duality: Suitcase Full of Memories adds a touch of humour to that sort mix as well.

This is the Austin based musician's third solo album. Her first was songwriter material and her second reflected her deep interest in Celtic music. Originals, both solo and co written, are the substance here, with a few covers and a traditional melody with Spanish lyric from Mal, called Te Acuerdo en Mis Suenos. There’s a nice snap of humor and a heat of sensuality in several of the songs, including Beaneath My Quit, A Sailor Returns to the Sea, and Everything About You. The title track found its start in a river rafting trip down the Grand Canyon, clearly a welcome ground for considering change, transition, and the space between all that. Mal sings in a light, crisp soprano, neither too sweet nor too dramatic, always in service of the song and always sharing the song with her listeners.

It took Mal a few career twists to find her home in folk music; among other things she spent a number of as an actor, and worked as a music director for theatrical productions. It’s all served her well on her way. “I hope I’m picking up some momentum now,” she says of her musical career. It’s well deserved.

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posted by Kerry Dexter at


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