Sydney singer-songwriter Katie Brianna has already had a fascinating musical journey, from Paul Kelly and Tamworth approved teenager to one of the most riveting and melancholically melodic vocalists on the local Americana scene. Now with three solo albums to her name, her latest, This Way Or Some Other, is hands-down her finest work.
Brianna’s previous albums had strong writing but there was a feeling that she was still searching for her own sound, where her writing, voice and the musical setting could blossom in sympathetic unison. Producer Adam Young brought together players with a wealth of experience in bands including The Cruel Sea, The Clouds, Front End Loader and more. Young and co’s sensitivity to Brianna’s songs and the ability to frame and complement her stunning voice with a real emotional depth is an essential part of the album’s success.
It’s not all heartache and turmoil though, ‘Boots’ takes an exhilarating modern glam pop diversion and she rounds out the record with a wonderful reading of Neil Young’s ‘Birds’ which sounds like The Band floating in space. Elsewhere there’s 50’s torch-song noir and guitar-led country rock, making her sound akin to a dream line-up amalgam of Neko Case, The Delines and Ron Sexsmith.
Ultimately this is a country soul record. It’s the closest Brianna has come to capturing her heart and soul in her music and in the process rewarding listeners with a sublime collection of songs.