Jan 19, 2016

Album Review: Kara Clark - The Key

Kara Clark - The Key
A review by Robert Dean

One of the most endearing things about Kara Clark is that Kara Clark does not give a fuck what you think. Kara’s Nashville career has been filled with darkness and songs that slither from the speakers with an intense, personal sound that demands attention from the listener, and all on her terms.

Kara could have played the game and strapped on a sparkly pair of jeans and sang about tired, cliché topics beaten into the ground, and Nashville just adores. But, Kara Clark chose the path of writing her songs in a town that’s chock full of Yes Men/Women. And you know what? That’s how you do it. 

In today’s Nashville climate, you’ve got two choices: Play the game or burn the stadium to the ground. And for what it’s worth, Kara’s chosen to flick her Bic, and that’s pretty goddamned respectable. 

On Kara’s new ep, The Key, it’s more channeling her rock and roll side than traditional country, which works well with the unique, varying styles of Kara’s vocal delivery. 

The hooks are big, and the emotion is palpable instead of that all too slick typical country sound to draw the listener in with something just to tap the steering wheel to. 

The Key is more Lucinda Williams that Loretta Lynn, more of Bonnie Raitt after a long night out on the town than Dolly Parton. The Key’s got the kind of guts that feel like a nasty pair of jeans, but the ones that fit just right. 

There’s an overwhelming sense of foreboding and darkness throughout The Key, which is a feat, considering Ms. Clark isn’t exactly Sunshine and Rainbows on a good day. The songs feel pissed off, almost vengeful. I’d be hard pressed to think Kara didn’t have someone in mind on a few of these tracks, cuz there’s a very real feeling “die, motherfucker die” happening. A woman scorned would be putting it lightly, but hey I could be talking out of my ass, but…. I wouldn’t want Kara Clark to write a fuck you song about me; that’s for sure. 

The one thing that’s on front street throughout The Key is the unabashed honesty in the lyrics. They feel personal and with both middle fingers drawn skyward. She muses deeply about “riding in the backseat,” which feels like sarcastic eye roll toward Nashville’s elite in their sagging pants and backward ball caps. That’s exactly what a lot of country music is missing stories that matter, not bro jams about whores in trucks. Fuck that.

There’s a slow revolution happening in the country music, and I’m one of the optimistic that when the rebels come to power, Kara will be in the thick of the mix, with smeared eyeliner, a bottle of Jack Daniels in her fist, and a guitar case full of songs people need to hear.


The Key is available on Kara's website, and we'll let you know when it makes its way to digital download sites.

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