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Charlotte Kerrigan - Album Review: Paper Lanterns

26 Feb 2020 // A review by Gaby Ivanov-Giraldo

Charlotte Kerrigan is releasing her new 9 track album Paper Lanterns on 28 March 2020. The album is a collection of soulful, bluesy ballads with melodious jazz influence, and weighty compassion in her lyrics. Coming from the beautiful Kapiti, Charlotte has been performing as a singer-songwriter/pianist for over 15 years and is involved in various musical projects such as: her covers bands Bluesette and Retro Divas, various directing and performing at Coastal Musical Theatre, and co-directing of The Wellington Community Choir. The latter is where she also does song-writing and arrangement.

The release of her debut EP Metaphor, recorded at Surgery Studios with Lee Prebble in 2018, showed to be a favourite as it came in at #1 on the NZ Top 40 Heatseekers albums and #7 in NZ Albums Top 40.

Charlotte’s booming soulful voice is accompanied by an array of instruments by featured musicians including: a stellar sounding bass, acoustic and electric guitar, cajon and percussion, saxophone, cello, harmonica and backing vocals. As a musician, performer, director, teacher and mother; she shows the listener a wealth of experience in her musical talents and honest sentiment. Blues, as a genre, is meant to be more emotive; showing direct feeling rather than narrative. I believe Kerrigan defies this by blending her own style and telling a little story in each tune.

The album opens up with Dirty Little Lies which has a strong bass and piano opening, with a rhythmic and catchy beat from the cajon. The vocals are exposed in their richness; captivating, harmonious, and with crazy good pitch. Ryan Gatling’s saxophone intervals are skilful and enchanting. The second track Shame is gold. This song is very blues, talking of a “broken down soul” and “redemption” with a swinging beat and gripping melody. At one minute fifty four seconds, you really hear what her voice can do. Meanwhile, a masterly electric guitar gives this song power and has a resonant solo at two minutes twenty.

After the rumble, the title song Paper Lanterns comes in at number three. This song seems to be an ode to a life or, perhaps, an individual’s merit. It demonstrates a classical element and reveals an impressively high pitch; you can instantly hear Charlotte’s bond with choir. Get Ready For The Fight is more upbeat, yet ironically has a darker message behind the narrative of abuse of drink. The saxophone almost seems condescending at times, perhaps reminiscent of the irony of the loss of power from the “party”.

Tangerine Jeans is another snappy rumble, with deeper vocals and allures us with acoustic finger-picking and lyrics of a figure with swagger and savoir faire. He’s No Soldier is a lengthier, sadder tune about a character taking the wrong path and denotes a jail story; another classic raw element of blues, with graciously harmonised backing vocals. Then comes Desire, which is also slower, piano and vocal-focused, and with an impressive choir.

Back On The Road comes in with a kicking-beat; a real shoulder-roll of a song. Lastly, We Gotta Help Ourselves catches us with a lasting message. Blues lyrics are often candid; “it is what is”. Whereas, in this song, the sense of longing is representative of the times to “save ourselves” before the world. The music video is also out now and shows a strong community focus; how music should.

The whole album is a journey of musical talent and a real mover of a record; if you’re energised by the spirit of blues, jazz or soul music, give it a full listen upon release! In the meantime, you can check-out her website here with links to all major streaming.

Rating: ( 5 / 5 )

About Charlotte Kerrigan

Bluesy folk soul singer-songwriter Charlotte Kerrigan has been performing in Kapiti for over 15 years with both her original music and covers bands Bluesette and Retro Divas, as well as performing and directing at Coasters Musical Theatre. Charlotte is also co-director of The Wellington Community Choir and writes/arranges songs for this vibrant all-comers choir.

Charlotte released her debut EP Metaphor in 2018, recorded at Surgery Studios with Lee Prebble. The album entered in at #1 on the NZ Top 40 Heatseekers albums and #7 in NZ Albums Top 40.

Her new album Paper Lanterns will be released 28 March 2020 and has a more bluesy bent than Metaphor with a mix of gorgeous ballads as well as upbeat blues numbers.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Charlotte Kerrigan


Paper Lanterns
Year: 2020
Type: Album

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