Wisconsin singer-songwriter Katie Dahl spends hard northern winters and hot Midwestern summers alike in her small cottage in Baileys Harbor, Wisconsin (population: 257). She’s records in a studio just down the road from the hand-hewn house where her great-grandfather was born.
” masterful observational songwriting… She nails it. There is nothing ordinary about Ordinary Band. The eleven-song CD begins with a majestic acoustic introduction before Katie’s fine, clear alto enters, singing, “I think of you when August falls and children turn their daisies into crowns…” And we’re off into achingly beautiful musical territory…
-Jim Lundstrom, Pulse, Door County
Smart, tough-minded and positive, Katie Dahl’s work is grounded in a place–Door County, Wisconsin–and its community. But her songs are for everyone. A rock-solid musician, a poet both playful and rigorous, her songs unfold with equal measures of inevitability and surprise–compassion’s welcome dart to the heart.
The ten original songs on Ordinary Band ramble through the Wisconsin countryside, finding scenes of late summer farm fields, choppy Lake Michigan waves, and the roaring masses at Lambeau Field. Within her vivid picture of small-town Wisconsin life, Dahl examines the ways in which that life intersects with her “ordinary band” of friends, family, and compatriots. Never too precious to have a little fun, Dahl also considers what love must be like between kitchen implements and closes the album with a bluegrass cover of “MmmBop”–the 1995 megahit by boy band Hanson.
Ordinary Band was produced by Memphis flatpicking wizard Eric Lewis, and with Lewis, Dahl and her husband, Rich Higdon (upright bass, washboard) recorded the bulk of the album one snowy February week in Door County, Wisconsin. A wealth of other musicians lent their talents to the album from seven other studios in six different states, including renowned folk fiddler Tracy Grammer, sought-after Nashville multi-instrumentalist Rory Hoffman, Chicago drummer Mike August (JT and the Clouds/Birds of Chicago), California singer-songwriter Claudia Russell, and Wisconsin singer Amanda Rigell (of Madison band Count this Penny). The album was mixed in part by Grammy-nominated engineer Kevin Houston (Patty Griffin); additional mixing assistance came from acclaimed songwriter Jonathan Byrd.
4. Ordinary Band
5. The Ballad of the Lazy Susan and the Dumbwaiter
7. Lombardi Avenue
8. Young Men
9. Morning Road