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Kate MacLeod
Literature, landscapes inspire Utah singer-songwriter on new release
Local sounds » Books are fodder and forum for Utah musician.
First Published Dec 06 2013 01:01 am • Last Updated Dec 06 2013 02:09 pm

Utah singer-songwriter Kate MacLeod is releasing a new CD inspired by literature and landscapes that she recorded — fittingly — at Ken Sanders Rare Books in Salt Lake City. MacLeod talked with The Tribune about her inspirations for the album ahead of a release party at the bookshop on Saturday that’s open to the public.

Your new CD, "Kate MacLeod — At Ken Sanders Rare Books," includes songs you wrote over a 30-year period. How did it come together?

At a glance

Kate MacLeod

CD release party includes an informal concert and fundraiser for the Utah Food Bank.

When » Saturday, 7 p.m.

Where » Ken Sanders Rare Books, 268 S. 200 East, Salt Lake City

Tickets » Free, but canned foods and cash or check donations to the food bank will be accepted.

To listen to tracks or buy the CD » http://waterbug.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=61&products_id=492

Songlist » www.sltrib.com/entertainment

Song list

1. Anam Cara (Inspired by John O’Donohue’s Anam Cara)

2. Love In and Out of Time (The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger)

3. Riding the White Horse Home (Riding the White Horse Home, A Western Family Album by Teresa Jordan)

4. PrairyErth (PrairyErth by William Least Heat-Moon)

5. The Annual Menhaden (Men’s Lives: The Surfmen and Baymen of the South Fork by Peter Matthiesson)

6. Butch Cassidy Was Here (Butch Cassidy: A Biography by Richard Patterson)

7. The Solace of the Broken (Leslie Marmon Silko’s Ceremony)

8. Blue Highways (book by William Least Heat-Moon)

9. Shadows of Avalon (Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley)

10. Lucy of Littletown (The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy Winkle by Beatrix Potter)

11. Tom Egan (Drop Him Till He Dies by C. John Egan, Jr.)

12. New Homeland (Chesapeake, by James A. Michener)

13. Pilgrim’s Progress (Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan)

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The recording itself came about when I realized I had as many songs inspired by books as I did. I didn’t realize until a couple years ago that I had that many. I was looking through my notebooks, and some of the songs I had forgotten about. I decided it would be fun to put them in that project. It made sense to record them at a bookstore.

Why Ken Sanders Rare Books?

I had watched the fact that Ken Sanders has for so many years hosted authors and artists. And he’s always been a great host to these people. I thought it would be fun to do a project with the bookstore name in it. These small bookstores, they’re really important to a community.

How does literature inspire your songwriting?

I have always been a reader. There was usually something in a book that just sparked a natural response in my mind that came out in my own art form. One piece, it’s called "PrairyErth (a Deep Map)" by William Least Heat-Moon. I was amazed by how he captured the essence and longevity of the prairie in this book. So I thought, wow. I wonder if I could do that with a song. I wondered if I could capture that sense of awe or importance. I remember that one song woke me up in the middle of the night and I started writing. And many of the images in the song are directly from the images in the book.

You’ve said before that southern Utah’s deserts and the Pacific Northwest inspire your music. What draws you to those distinct places?

I’ve lived in Utah for over 30 years. I’ve really come to know the complexity of it and its landscape. And it does inform my music. I’m also from the East Coast. I sort of missed the water, which is why I’m spending time in Seattle. I find it an interesting challenge to try to capture the feeling of an atmosphere in music. I try to do that in my violin pieces. I have these atmospheres: what happens when the weather changes, and what happens on a beautiful day. I’ve been having a lot of that. My next project is going to be violin pieces inspired by landscapes. It has some instrumental pieces that are based on the Colorado Plateau.

Would you record another CD in a bookstore?


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We were a little worried, because it wasn’t very sound-controlled or climate-controlled. We did have a song where a large vehicle drove by. That was very comical. But other than that, the sound was great. It was the most fun I’ve ever had at a recording session because there were people there, an audience. They could actually see what a recording session’s like. It was really fun. We had about 50-60 people. That’s about all you could fit in the chairs there in the listening space. A lot of people that have heard me for years, I think it was fun for them to be part of it. I would definitely do that again.



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