Born and raised in Lincoln, Nebraska, Karen Choi is an experienced musician who explores songs that are rooted in the Americana tradition. She recently released her third studio album Lost County which is beautifully produced and delivered.
The song feels undeniably organic and warm. These are human performances that feel raw and live but finely tuned. Choi has an exceptional singing voice. I’m not exaggerating when I say she has the kind of voice that could win the competition on The Voice or American Idol. The difference between her and those shows are I find a lot of that music too pop oriented. It often ends up melodramatic and just straight up cringe worthy.
Choi really plays into those traditional Americana roots and is all the better for it. She opens with “Hand To Hold” which is an opener that will get your attention. I loved the groove on the verse. The chorus is a little more pop oriented. I felt like this was an obvious choice for a single.
She displays some warm melancholy on “Autumn” and oh man does her voice song good in this register. There is delicate acoustic guitar picking, harmonica, piano and just a warm vibe. “Lost Country” was arguably the highlight. There is some attitude and even some darkness on this song. You will hear what I’m talking about when you hear the drums come. The song just marches forward confidently and the hook is memorable.
Up next is “One Shot Chance” which really digs into those Americana roots. It's stripped back revolving around the strings at first. There is a beat that does emerge. The song is joyous and celebratory and although a bit cheesy sounding - will put a smile in your mind. “Clear Lake” is a slow burn that might make you shed a tear. The hook is again very memorable. Last but not least is “Monarch” which feels a little gospel. The organ was a nice touch.
There is a simply exceptional musicianship on these very well written songs. Choi deserves a lot more attention. Highly recommended.
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