REVIEW: Kate Schutt “Bright Nowhere” is Faithful and Sad


Kate Schutt – Bright Nowhere

Sometimes I cringe when new jazz-pop singers arise. That word pop can be a misnomer. Because the term itself is cloudy. In the past singers who were jazz-pop were cocktail-jazz-lounge easy listening singers. The Patti Page, Julie London, Diahann Carroll, Dakota Staton, Abby Lincoln, Vikki Carr, Rosemary Clooney chanteuses.

Now, the genre has Kate Schutt (pronounced “shut”). But she’s an imaginative artist & award-winning singer-songwriter/guitarist.

Her 3rd LP Bright Nowhere (Independent/Drops April 30) produced by Emmy-winner Rob Mounsey is a well-structured tribute to her late Mom who passed from ovarian cancer (also claimed singer Laura Nyro). Kate admirably manages her music with expertise. Leadoff “Mother,” is spare & strong with the obvious delicacy of jazz leanings. I hear Nina Simone with a touch of Laura Nyro & Janis Ian in the composition. A touching imbuing song.

On “Fight the Good Fight,” – it’s mindful of Cidny Bullens’ emotional music crafted when her 11-year-old daughter passed away from cancer. Her stirring tribute LP “Somewhere Between Heaven & Earth,” had songs like “In Better Hands,” & the poignant “As Long As You Love.” Schutt travels effectively down this sensitive road with her lovely, sad & powerful songs.

Filled with faithful songs the CD deserves a place on contemporary radio. Why? Because many listeners would relate. Sung exceptionally well in a Norah Jones style is “You More Than Me.” Compellingly unique. “Death Come Slow,” a perfect song for a jazz singer like Cassandra Wilson. It possesses a Billie Holiday mystique. It has an intensity that can hold an audience’s attention with its haunting vocal, chilling yet warm simultaneously. Kate is superb.

Some tunes are more upbeat with glossier vocals supported by a strong backup. Kate has no reason to not be as compelling, original & challenging as Joni Mitchell. With “Roll the Stone Back,” Kate’s spiritual vein perhaps celebrates her mother’s life through acceptance & rejuvenation.

It allows her Mother’s memory alone — to love her now. It mirrors Bullens’ powerful “Better Than I’ve Ever Been.”

By the title cut, Kate misses her Mom but still feels a burden lifted. I’ve been there. Sad but with a tint of what Cary Grant in the film “Houseboat,” did. He had to explain death to his son after his Mom died. Grant took a pitcher of clear water, poured it into the river & said we just go back to where we came from. Part of the vast waters again. Not gone, just in a bigger pool…to flow again.

These songs reinforce. Kate’s journey with her Mom took courage & the masterful “The Spring That Felt Like Fall” is a tear-jerker. Disciplined & faithfully articulate. Jazz vocalists will embrace this redolent & evocative song. Audiences will need tissues.

This LP is one of the year’s best & Kate’s Mom would be proud.

The 12-cut, 43-minute CD is available @

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