“Something in your head makes it a sound, then your heart makes it a song”

–          Anna Cate “Full Circle”

The Pacific Northwest is best known for the musical landscape changing grunge movement, garage bands and otherwise head-banging sounds. Underneath the flannel, rain soaked pile of sound is a gleaming diamond of simplicity and beauty.

Tagged as a “Alternative Harpist” (let that sink in for a moment), Cate’s self-titled six track album has enlightened me, broadened my view and developed a new appreciation for a sound which I wasn’t even aware of until now. With an honest listen, it is bound to do the same to you.

When “Harp” is used in the same sentence as “Pacific Northwest” most assume we’re speaking of the slang term for a harmonica. That is not the case here. Anna Cate plays the harp; the elegantly resonant instrument finely plucked with grace and precision. Accompanying Cate’s almost Leigh Nash-like vocals the pairing dances beautifully.

The six track release finds real gems in tracks like “The Old Radio,” “Daydreaming” and “Full Circle.” Throughout each track there is an ever present anticipation that Cate’s voice will reach its limit and crack. This never happens, proving her natural self-awareness. Her voice is original and memorable.   It is obvious that Anna Cate doesn’t have the most dynamic range, but this neither detracts from her music nor hinders her abilities. She confidently plays to the edges of each song, crafting a sound of substance. Each track carries you away within its moment of pure beauty feeling too short and leaving you wanting more. Because of this it masterfully creates an appreciation that you cannot take for granted; rather keeps you in awe and at attention for what she will do next.

This release is one that makes me feel privileged to have experienced , because, let’s face it, when the rest of the world catches on, Anna Cate is going to be big and there is a certain level of comfort I have knowing when someone comes up and says “WOW! Have you heard this?” I can say “yep!” Because that will ultimately be followed by an “I still listen to it regularly.”