Home Read Classic Album Review: Chris Brown & Kate Fenner | O Witness

Classic Album Review: Chris Brown & Kate Fenner | O Witness

The former Bourbon Tabernacle Choir members deliver a disc of stellar songcraft.

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This came out in 2001 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):

 


If their names don’t ring a bell, perhaps their old band will: Chris Brown and Kate Fenner got their start in soul-funketeers Bourbon Tabernacle Choir.

Since BTC’s demise, they’ve been working as hired guns (Brown filled in for Barenaked LadiesKevin Hearn during his illness) and issuing their own CDs every couple of years. Their third instalment, O Witness, sets out on a roots-rocky tack, with Brown delivering plenty of stabbing Keith Richards guitar licks along with his usual blanket of swirling B-3 organ, while Kate belts out opener Walk the Lake like Bonnie Raitt on a Mick Jagger jag. It’s a bit of a bait-and-switch beginning, to be honest; most of the disc’s other dozen tracks are downbeat affairs of melancholy thoughts and muted tones. But no matter — whether on the upswing or the downward spiral, Fenner and Brown always deliver tasteful performances, stellar songcraft and honest emotion.