Issue May 23, 2007

CD Review – Kate Voegele

Don’t Look Away
Kate Voegele
(MYSPACE RECORDS)

MySpace, the social networking beast, has become a necessary avenue bands use to market themselves. It’s free. It’s easy, and depending on whom you ask, it’s effective.

    The company’s record label division, on the other hand, falls down on the job, thanks to Kate Voegele, a 20-year-old student at Miami of Ohio billed as the “new face of pop rock” and “the commercial Patty Griffin.”

    Her voice is gorgeous, she’s one of sexiest people ever to wield a Telecaster, and the list of artists for whom she’s opened only bolsters her resume: Dave Matthews, the Wreckers, Howie Day, John Mellencamp and Jamie Cullum.

    But underneath Marshall Altman’s glitzy production and arrangements is a young woman who, to paraphrase Robert Frost, has miles to go.

    Let’s dispense with the Griffin comparison, which is in voice only (and that’s a stretch). Voegele doesn’t have the grit or the experience to write a “Sweet Lorraine” or “Poor Man’s House.” Lyrically she overdoses on platitudes, resorting to subject matter that fails to provoke anything but humdrum and confusion.

    You can’t deliver the line “I hate myself for loving you” sounding sultry, and anyone over the age of, say, 13 isn’t going to look at a song like “It’s Only Life” as consoling.
    Hit the eject button.