Katie Garabaldi‘s most recent release overflows with love. With a title like Follow Your Heart would anyone expect otherwise? For those of you still not familiar with the artist, Katie Garibaldi is a San Francisco Bay area-based indie singer/songwriter and guitarist and winner of (among other honors) a DIY Music Festival in Los Angeles.
Mind you, even though Garibaldi is an unsigned artist she is certainly not inexperienced. She has toured and played live for years and has several albums already under her belt. In fact, this becomes obvious on the very first cut of her seventh CD the titular “Follow Your Heart” which immediately sets the tone here.
Here, as on the other tracks, Garibaldi, who leads the way with her acoustic guitar and vocals, is backed by a band of noteworthy musicians including: Kevin Blair (electric and acoustic bass), Todd Richardson (drums and percussion), Max Butler (pedal steel, mandolin and ukulele), Sylvain Carton (flute, clarinet and saxophone), Henry Hung (trumpet and trombone), Matt Blackett (electric guitar) and Shawn Shaffer (harmonica). Also appearing on this disc is the Magik*Magik Orchestra which features arranger and conductor Minna Choi, violinist Philip Brezina (Brothers Comatose) and cellist Michelle Kwon (The Delphi Trip).
“Holding On” establishes her signature sound of soft contemporary Americana early on and highlights her vocal abilities as well. She truly has a sound that often includes elements of multiple music genres such as folk and country. This is also evident as one continues to listen to more of her material.
“Make Them Go Away” continues to demonstrate that this album is perhaps one of her most personal. Still, she manages to write songs that while meaningful to her can still be well understood and appreciated by just about anyone.
It is followed by “Love The Hell Out Of You” is a Fiona Apple-like piece that for some reason this critic feels would have worked quite well for Reba McEntire when she was younger and less worldly.
“Lock The Door, Lose The Key” is just the song any man would want to hear. What makes it different is that Garibaldi made it both frisky and fun. (Unfortunately for Garibaldi’s male fans, she is not singing to them. (Ah, but one can dream . . .)
The sixth selection “Close, Close, Close” follows along those very same lines and listeners won’t mind at all. “Whispers & Rumors” is said to be a longtime fan favorite that has finally found its way onto an album.
“Vegas” is actually an expected song. In fact, one would think that considering its connection to music and good times and even marriage that more singer-songwriters would have caught on by now.
“Wedding Day Song” was written for her hubby. She performed it for him on their wedding day. (Ya gotta figure this one is gonna be added to the playlist at many a country fan’s wedding too which shouldn’t hurt her sales one bit.)
“Always Kiss Me Goodnight” draws attention again to her vocal abilities. It also ties in with that whole idea of never going to bed angry but in a more intimate, original fashion.
The ballad "White Roses” breaks away a bit here. It’s apparently a dedication to one of Garibaldi’s friends who died from cancer. ,
“You Saved The Best For Last” is the closing cut. This also is an early favorite of the critics when it comes to Garibaldi’s singing. It’s even got a bit of gospel thrown in for good measure.
The bonus track is a new version of a song she has done before titled “Stand In My Way”. As this cut closes it becomes clear that although she has come up with original songs that range from slow loves songs to country dance ditties and even date night numbers for gals, she has remained steadfast in her musical theme of following the convictions of one’s heart.
Overall, the album is generally a distinct, melodic love letter to someone special. She describes the feelings towards her relationship in numerous ways that fortunately for the audience are oft’times universal. So if you are need of a little love (albeit in the form of a song), check out Katie Garibaldi’s Follow Your Heart and you might find the strength to keep “Holding On” ‘til you find the real thing.