added: 17 Jan 2014
// release date: 20 Jan 2014 // label: Jersey Girl Music
reviewer: David Spencer
Boston's Susan Cattaneo describes recording this album as an "amazingly liberating" experience. It's her fourth album since returning to performing, having spent time in Nashville writing for other artists. What makes Haunted Heart different - and perhaps gives the album its tone and title - is a traumatic experience when a woman was critically injured in her kitchen. Cattaneo says, although the incident ended well, she suffered Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder for several months.
As a result there is a dark, more intimate feel to the album, exemplified by the sinister Revival, just one of the tracks here that is underpinned with delightful piano and a gentle rhythm. Even when the pace is picked up - there is a bleak outlook, with the excellent Lies Between Lovers, describing the breakdown of a relationship and the effect on your children with "little ones between us taking cover".
Produced by Lorne Entress (who's worked with the likes of Lori McKenna and Ronnie Earl), there is a smooth and confident feel, despite the over-arching haunted tone. Memory Of The Light opens with the heartbreaking plea of "I'm just a casualty of the causal way you look at me" - immediately making you want to give the narrator a great big hug. Barn Burning is one of the more upbeat tracks, taking her closer to contemporaries like Matraca Berg and Lucinda Williams, while the stripped down title track is the other end of the spectrum.
Given the almost tragic circumstances that was the catalyst for this album it is not surprising that Cattaneo says its like her closet has been opened and all her skeletons are walking around. It is not always easy to feel part of this therapy session but there are moments of magic - like the delightful Done Better and the naughty Worth The Whiskey.
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