Singer/multi-instrumentalist Katie Henry shows off a modern-yet-classic rock sound on On My Way, her album of melodic, often country-tinged tunes that showcase her voice and musicianship.
Henry hails from New Jersey but has a strong Southern vibe on On My Way, with quite a few musical callbacks to the Eagles, themselves a country-sounding band from another less-than-country place: Los Angeles, California (although, to be fair, the Eagles’Don Henley is from Texas). Henry’s voice is strong, cutting through the songs, able to sound pop-rock on some tracks, but swinging into a twang for others. The different styles balance out the album by giving the listener sonic variety.
“Without a Fight,” with its rolling slide guitar riff, shows how well Henry can handle a country tune. It’s one of the most overtly country songs on the album, sounding like something you might hear on CMT. But her voice has enough of a rock edge, that you feel like you’re listening to something broader.
“Blessings” is slower, and more gentle, with acoustic guitar strums and tinkling piano. The ballad never sounds weak thanks to Henry’s vocals, which inject the track with strength and structure. It’s also interesting to note both songs share a melodic similarity with the Eagles’ “Already Gone,” giving the tracks a welcoming familiarity.
But Henry is also conversant with other musical styles. The title track has a poppy melody but a blue collar groove, not unlike Joan Jett’s classic “I Love Rock ‘N Roll.” Henry’s voice is able to soar, though, because the underlying music has both the simplicity and importance of a heartbeat. “Got Me Good” is more laid back, with a pretty melody that recalls 70s’ singer-songwriters. However, Henry’s rhythm guitar has quite a bit of dirt on it, rooting the song in blues territory. And “Too Long,” with its harmonica, courtesy of Giles Robson, is pure blues, but also reminiscent of Alannah Myles’ “Black Velvet.”
There are lots of familiar touchstones on On My Way, but Henry has her own sound. Like so many artists, she’s influenced by the work that came before her and isn’t afraid to let that seep into her music. The result is something with a contemporary crispness, but an aged wisdom. Part of that is probably because of how she recorded On My Way: live during the pandemic, which allowed Henry to capture a few different kinds of energies, from the electricity of a live take to the joy of making music in the company of people again. It’s all there, on the album, for everyone to appreciate.
The Review: 8/10
Can’t Miss Tracks
– Without a Fight
– Too Long
– On My Way
The Big Hit
– On My Way