Katarina Pejak, Pearls On A String Review


Katarina Pejak, Pearls On A String Review

by Constance Tucker

Katarina-Pejak-AAV-cdPearls On A String, released under Ruf Records, vibrantly shows Katarina Pejak’s multifaceted singing, songwriting, and keyboard performance talents. The album features a compelling mix of original compositions and covers, enriched by collaborations with notable musicians like Laura Chavez and Dana Colley. With its foundation in the electric blues genre, the album stands out for its vocal intricacy and expressive storytelling.

Pearls On A String resonates with the sounds of contemporary blues while exploring personal growth and introspection themes. Pejak’s expressive singing weaves these themes into the textures of blues, country blues, and rock blues, creating a richly layered musical experience. Pejak draws from a broad spectrum of influences throughout the twelve songs, ranging from Tom Waits to Bessie Smith. She strays from her classical roots to embrace the gritty essence of American roots music, infused with her Balkan heritage. Her singing echoes a journey of blending classical and blues vocal techniques, achieving artistic freedom and authenticity.

Pearls On A String has fresh takes on the moody hues of Pink Floyd’s “Money” and a soulful rendition of The Wood Brothers’ “Honey Jar,” showing Pejak’s ability to blend genres creatively in her covers. Her originals, like the title track and “Woman,” evoke a folk-jazz meets blues vibe, drawing solid comparisons to Norah Jones. The title track features folk jazz overtones, while “Woman” stands out with its slinky bass line and moody, sensual singing.

The album reflects Pejak’s Serbian roots alongside her experiences in the American and French music scenes. This cross-cultural musical dialogue adds a unique dimension to her sound, enriching the traditional blues genre with new textures and perspectives. The ending of “Slow Explosion” is a prime example of this cross-cultural musical dialogue in action. By incorporating diverse musical and cultural elements, Pejak infuses her life experiences into the roots of traditional blues, broadening the scope of contemporary blues and making the album more culturally significant.

Pearls On A String takes the listener on a captivating emotional journey, navigating a wide spectrum of emotions. From the introspective depths of “Notes of Boredom” to the sensual rhythms of “Slow Explosion,” Each track delves into different facets of human experience, painting a vivid emotional landscape. The carefully curated track arrangement guides the listener through this narrative of various styles, feels, and intensities. Each song builds a message that resonates deeply with the whole of the project and stands powerfully on its own, enhancing the overall narrative of the album and making it a more engaging experience for the reader.

Pearls On A String reflects Katarina Pejak’s vocal artistry and musical skills as it highlights her ability to craft songs that are engaging vocally and universally resonant musically. The album not only enriches Pejak’s discography and the blues genre but also shows her ability to bridge various musical and cultural divides, making Pearls On A String a noteworthy addition to the modern blues landscape.


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