Stranger Than Fiction
'Reckless drunks, redemption-seeking drag queens, horny good girls, stray dogs, even the rare well-adjusted lover...all are characters populating Stranger Than Fiction, the latest from Nashville-based singer/songwriter Kathy Hussey. Those unfamiliar with the charms of this fresh folk/pop voice will know her well and likely find her quite enchanting after spending some time with the new disc. A concept album of sorts (all tunes were inspired by actual people and/or events), Fiction takes some bold steps forward from the strong starting point of her debut, the promising yet milder If Wishes Were Horses. The first set's arrangements centered around Hussey's capable acoustic guitar skills, and worked to spotlight skillfully-phrased yet straightforward lyrics. This time, deeper subject matter and a more complex lyrical style dictate the addition of subtle rock elements and an ever-present, almost undetectable dark sheen which unifies the set. The new sound works, and now when the toys are put away in favor of simple arrangements ('Man's Best Friend,' 'Some Will Never Know') the quiet beauty of what's left is striking. Highlights here are plentiful. Outstanding storytelling anchors 'Stop That Train,' a tale which draws a comparison both figurative and literal between the hazards of addiction and an oncoming train. The lighthearted, love-crossing-the-Mason-Dixon-line adventure 'Cherry Gingles' comes complete with swirling and irresistible harmonies. The sparse and sexy 'Ice Cream Baby' casts Ms. Hussey as a small-voiced good girl barely able to control her desires to climb into a tasty, creamy tryst. The pop side of this folk/pop artist steps forward for the gorgeous, hook-heavy ballad 'Just Like a Dream,' one of the few tunes on Stranger Than Fiction that puts all of it's can't-stop-playing-them cards on the table upon one listen. All of these tales are communicated by a voice that is infinitely pleasant and bears an important similarity to the twists and turns of the artist's songs; every once in a while, when one least expects it, something new and engaging presents itself. It's obvious that the storyteller is intimately acquainted with her subjects, and we hear subtle changes in tone as the point of view changes. One voice tells us the story of 'Samantha' (who's story is best left as a delightful surprise for the listener), while another comes from the perspective of an ever-faithful abandoned dog in 'Man's Best Friend,' and yet another communicates the artist's own personal history. And like these songs, the voice grows more interesting and gains more character with repeated listenings. Fans of Shawn Colvin, Jonatha Brooke...even Sarah McLachlan and Dido... should clear a space next to their old Joni Mitchell records and fill it with Kathy Hussey's Stranger Than Fiction, a smart and affecting gem of true-to-life music and pictures.' --Dan Schaefer, Alliance Entertainment ********* Kathy Hussey is a progressive folk singer/songwriter based in Nashville, TN. Her music ranges from pop-tinged folk to bluegrassy hip-hop, with traces of celtic influence - her songs paint vivid portraits, rich with character and narrative, and completely free of cliche. 'Stranger Than Fiction' is her second CD and has an extra-edgy pop feel that sets this recording apart from her other two. Fans of artists like Jonatha Brooke will love this recording. Hussey is the Director of Camp Summersong (Nashville's songwriting camp for kids), the Coordinator of the Riverbluff Festival's Performing Songwriter competition, and travels the country performing and teaching songwriting workshops for both kids and adults. In Nashville, she is well-known for her 14-year stint as host of the city's most innovative weekly songwriter gathering which features a "title of the month" exercise, group co-writes, and outdoor campfire circles all summer long. Songwriting accolades include a 2003 win at the Kerrville New Folk competition, top five spot at the Mountain Stage Newsongs contest, second place honors at the 2005 Suwanee Springfest and Grand Prize in Tupelo's Gum Tree Festival competition. Kathy has just released her third independent CD, Moments of Wonder, which is receiving folk radio airplay worldwide, and features performances by such acoustic music luminaries as Tim O'Brien, Bryan Sutton, Andrea Zonn and Mike Henderson. Check out the link to that CD over to your left. ******** "Folk Medicine" - maybe that's the best way to describe Kathy Hussey's music. Let's just say there's no better elixir to counteract the occasional ills of the songwriting scene -- the preoccupied navel-gazing, the world-saving, and the love-lost-lamenting -- than a healthy dose of Kathy's insightful and inspiring songs. Where some cling to tired cliches, she invigorates the listener, spinning stories that are fresh and involving, and delivering them onstage with charm and abundant personality. Her songs channel others, giving voice to the abandoned dog, the child within a 90-year-old woman, the French ice cream vendor, the earth itself. She knows the important light isn't the spotlight on the singer, but the one shed on the truth. Kathy comes from everywhere, tapping into her four-corners-of-the-country upbringing and her self-described "wonder-lust" to turn out a wide range of compelling characters. And why not? Her own story is compelling. One of identical twins, adopted at birth. A hopscotch childhood, always the "new kid." The high school for rodeo hopefuls. The college commune. The bartending. Every stop full of new things and people to try to figure out. Kathy's songs come to life, because she's immersed in it. She's a trail guide, a horsewoman, a tie-dye teacher and a leader of songwriting workshops for kids. She connects with the things that connect us all, and the proof is in the accolades. Critical raves for her three self-released albums. Festival performance honors at Kerrville, Telluride and Suwannee. Songwriting awards from Mountain Stage Newsongs, American Songwriter Magazine, Just Plain Folks, and the Grand Prize from the 2006 Great American Song Contest for "The Same Mary." "Folk medicine." Hmm, could be. Consider the evidence. Endorsed by the wisdom of the elders. Natural, with a finger on the human pulse. Stimulates the brain and examines the heart. Dispensed with care and humor, often enough on a house (concert) call. Sure looks like the prescription from here. Whatever you want to call it, the doctor says that Kathy Hussey's music is mighty good for what ails you. ******** Awards, Accolades, and Pats-On-The-Back --------------- GRAND PRIZE - 8th Annual Great American Song Contest ('The Same Mary') --------------- 2006 Just Plain Folks Awards: • Best Lyric - WINNER ('The Same Mary') • Americana Song of the Year - 6th place ('The Same Mary') • Americana Album of the Year - nominee (Moments of Wonder) --------------- 2006 Finalist Telluride Troubadour Competition --------------- 2006 4th place American Songwriter Magazine Lyric Contest --------------- 2006 Semi-Finalist Independent Music World Series, Southeast --------------- 2005 Grand Prize Gum Tree Songwriters Festival --------------- 2005 2nd place Suwannee Springfest Song Contest --------------- 2005 Honorable Mention Rocky Mountain Folks Fest --------------- 2004 Finalist Gum Tree Songwriters Festival --------------- 2003 Winner Kerrville New Folk Competition --------------- 2003 5th place Mountain Stage Newsongs Contest --------------- 2002 Finalist Kerrville New Folk Competition ---------------.