Over the past two years, while we've debated why Madison doesn't have as deep a musical footprint as cities like Austin and Seattle, an Americana music community, as solid as any in the country, has spread over the city like a field of wildflowers. One of city's blossoms is Katie Powderly.
While Powderly isn't a Madison native (she's from New York State) and doesn't live here now (she's touring the country in an RV), she cut the tidy, nine-track Slips of the Tongue with Mike Zirkel at Smart Studios, one of the last full projects built there. You can hear the traveler who is Powderly throughout - in her lyrics, in the music's moods and in her unique voice, which is husky and supple at the same time.
In fact, no fewer than half the songs are literally about changes of heart and venue, about getting someplace else. "I give you more than what you ask for," she sings in "Tables Turning," a song that has a repetitive, slow-hand hook that threatens tedium, then grows endearing.
A bowed string bass supports the ledge from which the narrator of "Bridges Burning" may jump - that or push a treacherous lover. Jill Andrews' harmony vocals braid with Powderly's here as though they've sung together forever.
Many supporting players, including singer Brian Knapp, drummer Ben Wolf and guitarist Andrew Harrison, are from here. Count them among the pioneering Madison musicians pushing Americana/alt-folk into exciting new places.