Kim Beggs' Wanderer's Paean is another of the Western Canada Music Awards finalists for Best Solo Roots album, and one listen tells you she has a voice that is one so clearly suited to roots music it is hard to envision her playing/singing anything else.
This is a CD that has the flavour you might expect from a roots performer from down Tennessee or Alabama way, having that deep south feel. That is interesting when you consider Beggs has lived in Whitehorse, Yukon for the past decade-and-a-half. At the same time one can easily see how the sort of frontier feel of Canada's north would be a fertile place for roots-style songs, and Beggs has written a number of very nice folk tunes here, including Lay It All Down, Lips Stained Red With Wine and the CD's title cut.
This CD has been recorded in what I would call a relaxed, and yet intimate manner. Instrumentation is generally minimalist, allowing Beggs unique vocals, and the often powerful lyrics. Sit back and get into the words on songs such as Up From The River, and you get into the heart of roots music, compelling words that tell a story, a story which takes the spotlight over the instrumentation with Beggs.
As I mentioned, Beggs has a rather unique voice, almost adolescent in its simplicity, yet again thanks to the realities of roots music, it carries maturity arising from the music itself. It is really a contrast of vocals and material which is compelling here.
Beggs shows here that she is a fine writer, yet does mix in some material not her own as well such as the traditional Ain't Gonna Work Tomorrow and All The Good Times Are Past And Gone, both adapted nicely by the artist.
This is one well worth searching out at www.kimbeggs.com
-- CALVIN DANIELS
-- Review first appeared in Yorkton This Week newspaper Oct 10, 2007 - Yorkton, SK. Canada