American independent country music has so many stories to tell that it is often difficult to tell them all. I repeat it often, but it is the absolute truth of this world. For those who live on the other side of the world and are not passionate, it is really difficult to imagine how many artists, how many venues, how many festivals exist and how much quality music is produced. I’m honest, I’ve wanted to report this artist in my columns for years, but I’ve waited. I waited for new music, I often repeated “damn a record like that of her debut, could not remain the only one”. Her first work, “Same Hell, Different Devil”, was of such immediate and direct beauty, that it could not remain the only one of her discography. It’s been 7 years since that first musical whiff and today I’m finally talking about the new album of Kaitlin Butts, one of the artists, without any doubt, most underrated of the American music world. Wife of the legendary Cleto Cordero (leader of the Texans Flatland Cavalry), the native of Oklahoma has for years been one of the most intense and true voices of the red dirt country, one that has upset the stages of live clubs, of festivals and that often gave his voice and his writing to others. They were not years in which he did not know what to do, then, or wasted years, indeed! He just waited for the right moment, when the stars aligned (maybe like those of Marfa, to whom he had dedicated a beautiful single last year) and the stories he had to tell were the ones he wanted. It is not said that an artist must make a record just to do it, but the beautiful anticipations with some songs released in recent years, let hope that this great artist came back with new music with which to cheer us. Hopes have not been misplaced, friends and this What Else Can She Do is really a little jewel, Kaitlin Butts is not a banal artist and this work represents her in full. Someone twisted his nose, wrongly, believing that 7 pieces were too few for an artist who seemed to have so much to say, but a work of art has no rules to follow, it has no right or wrong lengths and the stories it tells in this album are perfect as they are. The risk with very short discs is not being able to tell the story as you would like it or give the impression of not having anything else to say, but this is not the case of this work. The stories are powerful, the women Kaitlin talks about are women who go through the hardships of life, indeed I would say the worst of life, but they resist and send a signal of hope that is the real positive message at the end of this journey of 7 songs wrapped in a sadness of the bottom that you try to wipe out. It is not all pink and flowers, let’s not tell stories not all make it, not all the waitresses we find at a coffee shop, underpaid and full of dreams, will be able to make it an intermediate stage of their existence, to go ahead and improve and it is precisely these stories that feeds the country music since ever. Melancholy and stories of people who through all the worst of life, try to make it, that’s why certain artists become legends and myths in this world, because people recognize themselves in these stories. Many will see themselves, unfortunately, in the woman who wants a different life for herself and her son, hostage of a violent husband, in the initial track It Won’t Always Be This Way, a powerful country, cadenced and with the beautiful voice of Butts in evidence. The strength of these stories is that there is always a hope that pervades them, a bit like repeating over and over that “it won’t always be this way”. A piece of beauty and simplicity that the skilful production of Oran Thornton enhances. The intense and satisfying voice of Kaitlin Butts, leads us in the country classic flavor of Bored If I Don’t, where a woman complains of being married while in Jackson, the complaint is exactly the opposite that you are afraid of never finding the true love, like that of Johnny and June (Johnny Cash and June Carter, ed.). Two splendid pieces, two sides of the same coin, of the same doubts, of the same difficulties of life. The title track musically does not differ from the vintage flavor of this record, pedal steel and melancholy, a piece that could come out of an old jukebox as well as the story that comes out of the speakers, narrated by the beautiful voice of Butts : A girl who left the countryside for the city, waits and dreams of returning to the simple life of before, but with sadness knows that she will never come back. Money is not enough for a happy life, and coming home late at night alone knows that it will never give you security. A painting that the beautiful album cover enhances, we have that film before our eyes, like a beautiful nostalgic film of the 50s. The stories do not get easier as in She’s Using, where a young woman fights addictions, in a country piece with a red dirt flavor, but it is always the voice that leaves its mark. Blood is a poignant ballad, of a melancholy that takes the soul and the album ends with a fantastic cover : In The Pines by Lead Belly, to which Kaitlin Butts gives new life and makes it his own. Forget the version of Cobain and his Nirvana, here we are on another level. An album, short as said, of sad stories but also of hope, of difficult lives but that must never leave the feeling of not having a way out. You won’t find pieces to play in the glitter of some television award, but true stories to tell and play in a festival near the river, in the midst of people struggling to live and working hard to get by and see their lives in these stories and catch a glimmer of hope from the voice of a great modern poet. A voice that deserves to be in the Olympus of the best singers of the real Nashville, an uncommon writing skill and a lot of passion, here is Kaitlin Butts and her new album : a jewel of country as it should be, but also bread for the teeth of those who love true stories, those in which you can recognize and maybe, why not, find the strength to look to the future with hope.
Trex Willer by http://www.ticinonotizie.it
(you can find original italian article at this link : https://www.ticinonotizie.it/kaitlin-butts-what-else-can-she-do-2022-by-trex-roads/ )