Familiar faces on the Montreal jazz scene, singer Kathryn Samman and guitarist François Jalbert form Little Misty, a project mixing progressive folk and bluegrass. The duo is surrounded by Simon Pagé (Bernard Adamus) on bass, Kieran Piole on banjo and violin, Jérôme Beaulieu on piano and Marc Nelson on drums. Their first album, produced by Joe Grass (Patrick Watson), creates a pleasantly hushed, intimate and enveloping atmosphere.
A certain maternal benevolence hovers throughout the recording thanks to Kathryn’s lyrics, which can be interpreted as tales told by a mother to her child. One gets lost in an imaginary enchanted forest with “Jimmy Boy” (“A fairy carrousel in the night / Dancing all together / Birds in suits and ties”). With “The Diner”, the tale darkens, and briefly describes the story of a father desperately seeking to see his son.
The band doesn’t always dare to venture into the meanderings of prog rock, as on the track “The Path”, which is unfortunately a bit timid. The nine tracks are carefully arranged and never fall into the cliché of the bucolic bluegrass song, notably thanks to Kathryn’s bewitching jazzy voice. This is a promising debut album for the duo, who might just bring progressive folk back into fashion.