I honestly don’t remember how I got connected with Katy Vernon on social media but I’m thankful for the connection. Her posts are about strength and being positive through crappy situations. Open about her soberness, she instantly became one of those people I became tied to without even meeting and when her ‘Suit of Hearts’ album landed a spot in my box of albums to review, I was super excited to get to know this amazing woman a bit more through her music.
The title track “Suit of Hearts” kicks things off and I was instantly captivated. A spacey intro with just simple strumming of a guitar, Katy’s voice kicks in with a sense of ABBA meets any of the best singer-songwriters out there. It’s upbeat but not over the top– the perfect soundtrack to my Saturday morning. Seamless key changes that are matched by Katy’s unbelievable vocal talent, this may have only been the first song of the album but I may or may not have listened to it on repeat a couple of times just trying to catch everything this song has.
“Listen” brings a sense of coziness into play. There’s something warm and layered about this track but still something fun and uplifting which seems to be Katy’s forte. The tempo slows for this song but that just gives you more of a chance to catch everything that Katy brings to the table vocally. Words are drawn out to the perfect length and the backing band, although professional and clearly having a place and meaning for every note, seems to sit back and just let Katy’s voice do the work. “Listen” turns into “In Your Shoes (For Daisy)” in a beautiful way where you barely catch the track change but you can hear a new song. Now, being the creeper I am on Facebook, I’m pretty sure that Daisy is one of her beautiful daughters but, even if you aren’t a Facebook creep, it’s not hard to come to that realization. This track is a beautiful song with meaningful lyrics. At face value, it’s a story about being a team with your daughter but that message can be applied to so many different situations making this track one of my favorites on the album.
The album continues with “Home” which is a bit of a bluesy track just proving the range in which Katy write and performs. Like the rest of the songs on this twelve song album, there are certain words and phrases that just hit me right in the feels. “I might be wandering but I am never lost.” I mean, come on, such simple words strung together in the most complex and heartfelt phrase. Much like Katy’s voice is a star on this album, so are her words and envy her talent.
“Latest Disaster” is another stand out track on this album. Again, due to Facebook stalking (I promise it’s not creepy, I just adore this woman), I know that Katy is very involved with an ABBA cover band and you can definitely hear that in this track. “Latest Disaster” has a hurried pace about it that has yet to be seen on the previous four songs but it still feels like it fits the puzzle perfectly. Just when you get in the mood to watch Mamma Mia for the thousandth time, “Catch Myself” calms you down with that sense of coziness that was introduced with “Listen”. The way the album goes from hurried and energetic to cozy and calm is something that not many musicians and bands can pull off but Katy does it without hesitation or regret. Intentional or not, it is absolutely brilliant and makes this an album that you could listen through a million times and still not get sick of.
The way “Look to the Sea” seems to start off with a bit samba vibe to it seems to come out of left field but, again, still works with the quirkiness of this album in the best way possible. Something about “Look to the Sea” has a very musical quality to it. The words tell a story and the music makes you want to move but it’s far from campy. If I had to pick one track on this album to show people a good example of Katy’s music, it would be this one. So distinct yet so familiar, it’s truly Katy in a song. The high energy laid out in “Look to the Sea” continues into “Pink Cloud”. A very happy-go-lucky vibe came over me as she repeated the words “I’m happy” multiple times each time building the emotion to a high point that has nowhere to go other than spilling from my speakers and into my life. Thank you Katy for the vibe that this song drenched my apartment with. This is yet another track on the album that I listened to multiple times before moving onto “Undertow”.
“Undertow” slows things back down but I wasn’t surprised. Again, this album is all about highs and lows and the way Katy does it is something to truly envy. Out of all of the tracks on the album, this one seems to have the most of that classic singer-songwriter vibe to it but, even then, there’s nothing typical about it. When you read the lyrics to this song, it’s clearly about struggle but that doesn’t quite translate to the music. Some people may hate this but I absolutely adore this. Although the lyrics are about a fight against the “tide”, you really don’t hear that struggle with the way Katy sings it. In my mind, that symbolized a win against the “tide” and a beautiful way to express struggle.
“Somebody’s Daughter’s Daughter” goes back to that classic singer-songwriter vibe but something about the band sticks out a bit more on this track. Maybe it was just that I had finally gotten used to Katy’s voice and her amazing way of sliding from note to note with a sense of ease and emotion but it’s clear that she has the more perfect band behind her on this album. From the laid back drums to the subtle lap steel throughout the album, every note has a place and never overpowers anything else. Seriously a thing of perfection. Just to prove that point, the album moved into a strictly string and vocal version of “Listen”. With Katy’s ukulele taking the spotlight, she proves that she is so much more than just a great singer and songwriter, she’s a true musician and that’s something I completely love about her. The difference between this version and the second track of the album with the full band is not huge but it’s big enough that this felt like a whole new song (which I thought it was until I looked at the track listing).
Although it’s late August and I’m a Jew, I didn’t mind the album closing out on “Christmas Wish”. The playful track was the perfect ending to an already amazing album and, although a Christmas song, there was something summery about it. Think Christmas in Hawaii, I don’t care what month it is or what holiday I celebrate, I’ll be blasting this song every chance I get.
‘Suit of Hearts’ is a truly amazing album that can fit any mood you might be feeling. Mix that with the fact that Katy Vernon seems to just be one of those genuinely amazing and positive people and you are left with an album that is damn near flawless. What a great way to spend my Saturday morning.
My Favorite Track(s): “In Your Shoes (For Daisy)”; “Pink Cloud”
Chances Of Getting A Noise Complaint While Listening To In An Apartment: 5.9 out of 10
For Fans Of: ABBA, Warm and fuzzy feelings, ukeulele
Daydream-ability: 7.3 out of 10
What My Cats Thought Of It: Artemis Laid By The Door; Autumn Slept Right Behind My Computer
How Badly I Want To See This Performed Live: 9.1 out of 10
My Overall Rating: 4.5 out of 5
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