Katie Dobbins is a dying breed. Unabashedly positive but not overwhelming, disinterested in hate and greed, yet not ignorant of its wicked impact on the world, Dobbins is far from a wilting flower. Still, at all costs, she seeks out the light of life and feeds it through song and spirit and genuine kindness.
I’ve witnessed it. She’s gold.
And on Dobbins’ new CD, her second, “There is Light,” she invites us all to stare up at the stars alongside her and look them dead in the eye before she decides to “hold it in my mind.” Life is not meant to be lived through a lens or phone screen. Fresh eyes reveal so much more. Just lift your head and take hold.
There’s no holding back on “The Jeep,” the second cut off her CD. Foot on the gas, throwing caution to the wind. This night isn’t made for riding the brake. “Take your foot off the clutch, easy now.” she sings. There’s no room for doubt “in this wrangly topless crown.”
On “Mountain Song,” the singer struggles to overcome a sense of smallness as she stands encased in a valley gushing with wavering winds as it “weaves through the trees,” testing her might. “Unsent Letters” provides us with the best line Dobbins has ever written, in my opinion. Describing a letter she’s sent to someone, she refers to it as a “real sun-setting just beaming with truth.” I love that.
Dobbins choice of song structure is clean and simple — guitar, violin, a touch of organ, some bass and drums. The music will lull you into submission, stealing you away from life’s relentless penetrating noises.
Snapping with a luscious jazzy beat, Dobbins gets downright smokey on “Bring On The Fire.” Risk and circumstance are at play, where you never learn if you never get burned. A man from Tennessee takes a drink from a “Whites Only” tap, refusing to bend the knee to social discrimination. Instead, he pays the price for what he believes in, vowing to do it again and again. Strong stuff.
Finally, an organ rolls slowly out the backside of the title song, “There Is Light.” This is Dobbins at her finest, where she is free to be anywhere and anyone she wishes, because the light of life “shines, yeah it shines.”
You sure do, Katie. Shine on, girl.
And if anyone else cares to bathe alongside me in Kate’s light, join us at The Bookery on Elm Street in Manchester this Friday May 24 at 6:30 p.m. where you can see Dobbins, Kate West, Nick Ferraro and Jasmine Mann — all incredible songwriters — joining me as I read from my new book, “Notes From the Last Breath Farm: A Music Junkies Quest to Be Heard,” which is for sale at the Bookery, and on Amazon.
And check out Katie Dobbins website for tour and music information at https://www.katiedobbinsmusic.