Kate Bankston – Valentines For Tomorrow

Pop music does not follow a straight line, at least it doesn’t for Kate Bankston, and that is a very good thing indeed. Kate released Valentines For Tomorrow (seen/heard here) as a single last year on valentines day and now it is available as one of the 10 tracks on her new LP, Cry A Little (December 2020). Valentines For Tomorrow explores the circular meaning of life and love, blending the good times with the bad, but reveling in them all with a person who shares all of it with you:

“I always thought this path was straight
But I’ve learned the beauty of winding ways
And I’d rather know that you’d rather go to the end of the road together too

Here’s a valentine for tomorrow
When you’re lost and doubt feels like home
Darling, follow my song, and you’ll know
It’s a valentine for our tomorrows…”

Musically, Valentines is a tender ballad in the traditional sense,. Lovely and lilting, combining Kate’s lead vocals, with the lightly picked guitar and vocal harmonies of Lindsay Gregory Emmons, and the beautiful textural addition of Idris Chandler on cello, Valentines is a serious song, light in fluff and heavy in content.

Cry A Little, the title track and lead off for this LP, is a blending of R&B, Soul, Blues, and more, in the horn-filled tradition that such songs were created with during the late 60′s and early 70′s. It does not, however, end up sounding dated, but instead has a fresh and alive feel to it. 

Throughout the LP, there is both a cohesiveness to tie the package together and enough diversity to keep you from getting bored on the way to the end. Whether it’s a song of hardship, fixed and bound together in Hey Renée, or, a plea for pleasure and fun in the bouncy Outta My Shoes, Bankston explores the cracks and crevices of pop music as influenced by an abundance of styles. On Outta My Shoes, Bankston sings:

“Because I’ve been looking around, trying to find the key that fits inside this door
There’s nothing that fits, the lock never clicks
I didn’t think it’d open anymore
But then I saw you when you fell,
The light it struck my eyes just like a spell
This magic blew in fast and then it turned us both inside out

Dance me outta my shoes
Walk me over to the sunny side
Flip them softly ‘til the yolks are fried
Help me to unsing the blues
Dance me outta my clothes
Spin me around ’til only heaven knows
The things we do together all alone
I’ll help you unlearn them too”

which has perhaps the most singable refrain of the collection.

Bankston’s voice has a quality that draws your attention to the lyric in each track. Musically the LP explores so many tangents, with horns, guitars, keyboards, and percussion, properly mixed with the vocals. Cry A Little is a testament to the proper execution of mixing and engineering, provided in this case by Kenny McWilliams at Archer Avenue Studio in Columbia, South Carolina. 

There is no one-stop-shop for information on Kate Bankston and in fact, there is very little information at all, which could be the only complaint I have here. There’s no website, no Twitter account, and the Facebook (which has an empty “About” section) and Instagram accounts are not linked on the site. The only information on Kate that is available is on the site. You can pick up the LP in both digital download and CD formats, from that site

Check out some very good cross-genre musical blending from a singer-songwriter and performer that I hope we will hear much more from in the coming years. Pick up Cry A Little from Kate Bankston now!