Review: Kara Grainger – Shiver & Sigh

Posted on: Thursday, Jul 25, 2013


Kara Grainger – Shiver & Sigh

(Eclecto Groove Records: EGRCD514)

Here’s a most enjoyable Eclecto Groove debut for the Australian-born, LA-based singer, writer and guitarist Kara Grainger. “Shiver & Sigh” is a diverse 11-track offering that straddles blues, Americana and has a definite ‘poppy’ radio feel to it . . . the whole feel of the album reminds me a lot of recent UK visitor, the great Bonnie Raitt, both in Grainger’s fine playing and singing.

She deals in songs with emotion, touching on heartbreak and hardship, with her own finely crafted songs featuring with some nicely chosen covers. The award-winning producer David Z has produced “Shiver & Sigh, with label boss Randy Chortkoff the executive producer. They have assembled a superb group of musicians to join Grainger, including Kirk Fletcher and Josh Sklair (guitars), Mike Finnigan (current Bonnie Raitt band member, keyboards), James Gadson and Jimi Bott (drums) and, a further link to Bonnie Raitt, her long-time bass player Hutch Hutchinson.

The whole album has a very ‘summery’ feel to it, with the opening bluesy self-penned “Little Pack Of Lies” illustrating her lovely voice and nice slide guitar work; and it’s followed by the title track, “Shiver & Sigh”, which opens with some shimmering guitar and is a mid-paced ballad with fine work from the accompanying musicians. Her co-write “Shut Down”, with Bruce McCabe has a very soulful vocal from the lady herself.

The gentle, predominantly acoustic “I’m Not Ready” is another standout, with some more of Grainger’s appealing slide guitar and the great Lenny Castro on percussion – a veteran of hundreds of recordings. Mike Finnigan’s piano kick-starts the tough, rocking “No Way You Can Hurt Me Now”, which certainly takes the pace up; it’s followed by a fabulous Mike Zito tune, “Holding Out For Love” . . . a tale of love and hurt penned by the current Royal Southern Brotherhood guitarist and singer, and who also fronts his own top band.

She dips into the Robert Johnson songbook for the chestnut “C’mon In My Kitchen”, with her brother, Mitch Grainger contributing nice harmonica to complement his sister slide licks. The classic “Breaking Up Somebody’s Home”, penned by Al Jackson Jr and Timothy Matthews, is given a soulful and ‘Memphis’ feel, thanks to the horns of Paulie Cerra, Paul Litteral and George Stanford and more telling work by Mike Finnigan, this time on organ.

A very nice and recommended release from a lady I’m sure we are going to hear a lot more of, and definitely recommended for all Bonnie Raitt fans out there!


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