In 2006, songwriter Katya Chorover traded a view of Washington State’s San Juan Islands for a view of the San Juan Mountains, which she can now see from her living room in Colorado. It took this move from the rain-drenched Pacific Northwest to the dry, high deserts of Southwestern Colorado for her to find the inspiration she needed to complete her first album in ten years, Big Big Love. That’s a long time to wait for any artist, and though she was busy writing and living her life, she’d taken a long hiatus from performing. But the sounds of country music radio that rolled through the canyons of her home in Cortez, Colorado, subtly infused her new songs with a kind of dusty, rusty twang.
With a long history of songwriting in the Northwest, where her insightful lyrics and beautifully crafted melodies helped her stand far out from the pack of singer-songwriters, Katya returned to Portland, Oregon, to work with producer Casey Neill, an acclaimed songwriter himself, to record Big Big Love. Neill helped line up a host of Portland’s hottest roots musicians in a city that’s known as a hub for a new folk music revival, including two early members of the Decemberists, Jesse Emerson on bass and Ezra Holbrook on drums, and current Decemberist Jenny Conlee-Drizos on piano. Other musicians include Annalisa Tornfelt (Black Prairie) on fiddle, Matt Brown (She and Him) on guitar, Dan Tyack on pedal steel and dobro, and Zak Borden on mandolin.
The full band sound showcases Katya’s beautiful, crisp vocals, surrounding her voice with a forest of acoustic instruments and electric steel guitar The result is an album as delicately balanced as a desert rock pile, with one foot in the acoustic country music Katya’s grown to love, and another foot in the innovative Northwest roots music scene that she helped build years ago.
Big Big Love comes out of the gate with the title song, a beautiful waltz, singing “Come and paint me a picture/of a tranquil scene/a pond/a rowboat/a peaceful dream.” Even with electric guitar and drums, “Big Big Love” could nearly be a country lullaby. In fact, much of Katya’s new material came from her “parenting hiatus.” “Since having a child, my life has slowed, and changed immeasurably,” she says. “Continuing to be creative has been a challenge, but also has become somehow richer and even more pleasurable.” You can hear this new burst of creativity in a song like “Little Bird,” that plays with rhythm, spinning around and around the melody, or in the song “Cavalries of Love” that incorporates a beautiful trumpet line into a soaring song of hope.
Of course, the real star of the album is Katya’s voice. Her singing is so clear and beautiful, with just the slightest hint of a rough edged twang. Despite being a native Bostonian, then a long-time Seattleite, there’s a natural grace to her country sound. Her love for roots music is evident throughout the new album, and her poetic songwriting coupled with a deep traditional sound has garnered her a devoted fan base. As she opens with the words “Big big love, big big heart, big wide spirit sets you apart,” we can only feel the same big, big love right back at her, and we’re sure you will too.
Booking & Info Contact: Katya Chorover – (206) 300-7334 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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Big Big Love charted at # 2 in Colorado and #5 nationally on the Roots Music Report Charts this week, February 24th, 2012! The CD was at #9 on the Folk-DJ charts in its first month of release, January, 2012
“a beautiful melodic snap shot of migration, loss and eventual redemption. Katya’s voice makes me think of a young Nanci Griffith and she has the ability and delicate grace to make the mind conjure windswept mountain ranges filled with long lost love. The album includes standout tracks Cavalries of Love, Little Bird and Satisfied Life. Big Big Love would sit well on your 2012 playlists!” –Gigape.com blogger Paul McGlade
That Nashville Sound receives many different CD releases throughout the year from indie, small majors, bluegrass and artists just off the mainstream radar- or smaller projects like EPs- that we’re doing short mini CD reviews on. We call them That Nashville SoundBites- it’s a feature that will allow us to give some props to some albums and artists that deserve a spotlight on their work.
The Review: There are albums that can lull you to sleep with repetitiveness and boredom. And there's others that act like one big lullaby, soft and sweet like a comfy down pillow. This album by Chorover is the latter. She pulls in some of the natural beauty of her surrounding Northwest mountains on titles like "Little Bird" and "Brother Flower." Each track has an comforting rhythm and draws on a little bluegrass influence. She even draws in a trumpet into the inspiring track "Cavalries of Love." Graceful. Poetic. Delicate. And all draped in acoustic roots. It's a great independent effort. Stand-out tracks- "Little Bird" and "Possession"