Blues Bytes


July/August 2013

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Kara Grainger
Shiver and Sigh
Eclecto Groove Records

Kara GraingerThere’s something soothing about Kara Grainger’s slide guitar. It’s a friendly voice in an otherwise crazy day that captures your attention and says, “Listen to me.” I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Kara perform live at Blues from the Top, and I was very happy to see her new disc from Eclecto Groove Records, Shiver and Sigh, show up on my doorstep for review. I have a feeling we’re going to be hearing from this Aussie transplant to the United States for a long time, so let’s give her new disc a listen.

Kara’s slide guitar is front and center as we open up with an original tune, “Little Pack of Lies.” Kara’s dealing with a fast talker who’s trying to win over her charms. Fortunately, Kara’s wise to his tricks. “You’re a real smooth talker…and a confidence man…now you played your trick on me…baby, one too many times…I ain’t your baby now….well, I ain’t your little girl…crying cellophane tears…ain’t going to do you no good at all!” This game is coming to an end and Kara’s wise to make the choice to move on and far away from this character.

Up next is the title cut, “Shiver and Sigh.” Here we find Kara enamored with a man who tempts her. “Shiver and sigh…every time you pass me by…you’re the chill…running down my spine…but I don’t want to know…what I’m missing!” Kara’s definitely tempted by this man but he represents everything she’s told herself to stay away from. Ultimately Kara makes what appears to be the wrong choice, “too far gone to cry…I shut my eyes…shiver and sigh!” Another original, “Lost in You,” is our next tune and again Kara is trying to show some restraint. “Baby…I’m lost in you…and I don’t know what to do…I’m trying so hard not to fall…that I’m bending all my own rules…and I’m lost in you!” Kara’s definitely an emotional woman and one who tends to follow her heart way more than her mind in affairs of the heart.

“Shut Down” finds Kara again in a predictable situation but this time she’s on the losing end of things. “Today…I got shut down…today, I got shut down…I lost all of I’ve done…I found that today…I got shut down!” Kara’s next original, “I’m Not Ready,” has a deep, acoustic feel to it and Kara is showing real strength in the face of adversity in losing her family home. “Five long generations…my family worked these lands…the dust, the heat, the pouring rain…with our two hands…it’s the only life I know…how can I start again…so much living I’ve got to do…before you lay me down…I’m not ready…to go!”

Mike Finnigan is pounding the keys during the intro to “No Way You Can Hurt Me Now” and here we find Kara standing her ground. “I got away from you somehow…now way you can hurt me now!” This is one relationship that Kara is happy to see end and she’s definitely become a stronger woman for it.

“Holding Out for Love,” a tune by Mike Zito, finds Kara overwhelmed by the love she feels for a man who’s yet to declare his feelings for Kara as strongly. “Still…I look at you and I can’t deny…I need you now more than any guy…say how long…are you going to need to get strong…give you everything you want…everything that I’m made of…I’m holding out for love!” Kara knows she’s better off to walk away but this one hurts deeply and it isn’t easy for her to do so.

Robert Johnson’s “C’mon in my Kitchen” gives Kara another opportunity to break out her slide and she definitely does this old traditional by Robert Johnson justice. It doesn’t hurt to have her brother Mitch lending his considerable harp skills to her rendition either!

The last of Kara’s original tunes on this disc is up next, “You’re the One.” I hear Mike Finnigan on the organ and some tasty notes by old friend Paulie Cerra on the saxophone as Kara confesses her love for the man in her life. “Baby you’re the one…you’re the one I want to please…save my mind please…baby you’re the one I need!”

Shiver and Sigh closes with Kara’s take on two outstanding covers. The classic Al Jackson Jr. / Timothy Matthews tune “Breaking Up Somebody’s Home.” "I got nowhere to turn…don’t feel like being alone…guess I’ll have to break up somebody’s happy home!” Following is “Overdue for the Blues” by Wayne Perkins, featuring some very intricate guitar work by Kara. “Some people are just born lucky…some people are just born to lose…well it rains in my head…when you left me you said…maybe I just gave up on you…I guess I’m overdue…for the blues!”

I’m glad to see that Kara Grainger is finally gathering some recognition here in the States given that she’s been toiling at her craft for awhile now. And kudos go out yet again to Randy Chortkoff for recognizing Kara’s immense talent and harnessing it in the studio. Shiver and Sigh is a disc Kara can be very proud of and one I hope begins to introduce her to Blues fans around the country. You can learn more about this wonderful artist from Australia on her website at and catch her live soon! You’ll be in for a treat if you do!

--- Kyle Deibler



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