REDEMPTION 10 (Live at Blue Rock)
Breathing New Life Into Her 10 year Old Debut Album.
I came to Libby Koch’s music rather late; so hearing this re-working of her first album has been a bit of a fact finding mission; as I can now hear where she started on her path to (relative) glory.
That is only half the story; as the re-workings are by Libby with a handpicked band of Nashville’s ‘finest’ in tow whereas the originals were just her and an acoustic guitar; plus this recording was ‘as live’ before a small audience of friends, fans and family in the Blue Rock Studio.
That’s a new and innovative approach to my reckoning.
So with nothing to ‘compare and contrast’ this is all new to me; so let’s treat it that way?
Opening track Houston is one of those passionate bittersweet break-up songs that Country Music does better than any other genre; and Libby sings right from the pits of her soul, with the occasional fiddle and steel-guitar interlude for even extra pathos.
Especially on a debut album; songwriters are told to ‘write about what you know’ and Libby does that very thing; and managing to pull the listener through the emotional ringer on Can’t Complain, which starts with her parents marriage break-up when she was 7 and closing with a break-up of her own; but Bless Her; she get’s through it all with a Can’t Complain attitude …… even if it will leave listeners with misted eyes.
I guess it’s a similar bit of personal background on Don’t Give Up On Me and the brittle Stay With Me; although she may have a vivid imagination ….. although they both sound terribly ‘real’ to me.
For all the sadness in the songs themselves; Libby and her band manage to conjure up a special ‘warmth’ on just about every song here; most especially on Just The Way which has more than a hint of Bobbie Gentry in not just the tone; but the sentiment too and the simply constructed, yet complex story of the title track Redemption had a similar effect on my heartstrings too.
I know there’s a saying ‘keep the best ’til last’ which may not always be true; but on this album it is; with the beautiful heart-string tugger I Still Miss Someone closing the show and album; but it’s the predecessor Ready Now that has won my heart and therefore becomes the RMHQ Favourite Song; although with so much to choose from you will likely choose something entirely different.
Obviously with so much going on in her life now, it would have been all too easy for Libby Koch to have left this album in the cupboard marked ‘of its time’; but with many of the songs having grown and developed over the last 10 years, and still being in her set list now; this has been the perfect vehicle to dust them off and let a whole new audience hear them in all their glory.