Cut from the same cloth, that’s what I am thinking as I listen to Annie Keating’s fifth album “For Keeps”. The same cloth as a dozen other Big Apple singer songwriters but, in her case, the mark of quality tailoring is apparent.
For example, her songs are elegantly commercial in that polished, almost Nashville, style and exude the radio friendliness that, in better days, used to be the key to the door to success. “Leap of Faith”, in particular, hits that FM bullseye with consummate ease. Ms Keating’s voice is a strange thing though. It seems more the voice of a songwriter than a singer yet it resonates with big city coffee shop urbanity. Not for her, however, are the backs streets and basements of Lou Reed nor indeed the wry sentimentality of Suzanne Vega. Ms Keating instead runs polite and mainstream all the way. You feel you could invite her to your house without worrying if the police would arrive ten minutes later.
Oddly enough, she really hits her stride with “River Clyde”. Despite this song being basically one of those life on the road type songs beloved of the itinerant performer, Ms Keating displays unexpected emotion and brings a near evangelical grace to what would normally be a tale oft told.
Neatly tailored with hand finished lapels for an audience that probably doesn’t appreciate just what her talent is, Annie Keating’s appeal is a subtle thing indeed.