American singer and lyricist Kat Riggins has just released a new album out on Gulf Coast Records. It’s titled Cry Out. But first, for those not yet familiar with the artist in question, a bit o’ background.
According to her official website and other sources, Riggins is a Fort Lauderdale-based blues singer. Her first gig was singing blues and jazz tunes at a little lounge in Sunny Isles, Florida. In 2011 she toured the Middle East and Asia with an unnamed Top 40 cover band.
Her rockin’ resume includes three prior platters. Her debut disc, Lily Rose, dropped in 2014. Two years later she released Blues Revival and opened the annual Fort Lauderdale Riverwalk Blues Festival. In 2018 she put out In The Boys Club which was dedicated to the early blues women.
Kat Riggins’ signature sound is a musical mix of multiple music genres including contemporary and classic blues, country, gospel, hip-hop, R&B, rock, and soul. She was initially inspired by the diversity of her parents’ record collection and is mainly influenced by Etta James, Nina Simone, Koko Taylor, and Tina Turner.
This is her fourth studio album and her debut disc for a label. It includes 13 tracks. She is backed by Doug Byrkit (bass), Brian Zielle (drums), and producer Mike Zito on guitar who (along with Steve Van Der Nat and Andreas Carre) assist with song composition.
Track by Track
The album opener is “Son Of A Gun.” It’s a blustery, pointed lead-in meant to make it clear that she is about to tunefully take aim at some personally perceived targets.
The second selection is the title track and single “Cry Out.” It’s a definite call to action with an obvious social justice theme. Mind you, Riggins reported her “song journal” has never been without song lyrics like this. This is part of who she is and how she thinks.
She admits one doesn’t normally hear about such issues as a gay boy being shunned in a blues song. Nevertheless, she permitted herself to do the song despite knowing full well she could lose fans, disappoint people, or offend someone. Fair enough.
The next number is “Meet Your Maker.” It’s a poppin’ piece that’s highlighted by a horn section and a noteworthy guitar opening by Zito.
“Catching Up” is one of the best tracks here. It’s hot and sexy and it rocks. Anyone who works out on the road will especially love this one.
“Truth” is next. This one is also a standout track that works well following the previous piece. Don’t try to read between the lines as some have, just enjoy it.
The “Hand In The Hand (Interlude)” is a quick partial cover of a gospel pop song written by Gene MacLellan and made popular by Anne Murray in 1970. It would have been nice to hear the whole song but this is simply a well-placed interlude.
“Heavy” has a softer side to it. It features Zito on slide guitar and the youthful voices of those the album notes identify only as Riggins godson, niece, and nephews. It plays well as a follow-up to the interlude.
“Wicked Tongue” is an early fave of the critics. Her signature sound remains solid here.
“Can You See Me Now” is a fine example of what Riggins, Zito, Steve Van Der Nat, and Andreas Carre can do as a songwriting team.
“Burn It All Down” truly simmers over as Riggins emotionally sings “that’s what you make me want to.” She is a woman scorned and she’s gonna make sure everyone knows it. While the subject is not unexpected, she leaves her mark nonetheless.
The upbeat “On It’s Way” rocks. It’s fun and stands on its own despite being overlooked by some critics. It’s highlighted by some memorable saxophone work.
“No Sale” is one of those “at the crossroads” cuts. Still, Riggins delivers this one in a way that makes you think no one else has ever done it.
The album endnote is the “The Storm.” This is a moody musical miasma accented by Zito’s guitar work. Riggins’ performance here is strong and nigh-uncontrollable as her honest, unpolished vocals demonstrate. Indeed, the untouched moments make her delivery even bolder and more memorable.
Overall . . .
Overall, this album represents a new direction for Riggins. This is a compilation of cuts written in 2019 and often meant to encourage others. It includes social justice themes and material to inspire and uplift others.
Riggins’ vocals are generally powerful, emotionally-charged, and at times even unpolished in an attempt to offer a more honest overall presentation. Check out Kat Riggins’s Cry Out and discover the “Truth” for yourself.