If you were a rock fan in Seattle in the early nineties you were a fan of Kim Virant and her band Lazy Susan. With their Stonesy double guitar stomp and Kim’s charismatic vocals, Lazy Susan ruled the club scene, working their way from small venues to routinely selling out 1000 person capacity rooms. Local radio rock stations KISW and KXRX played their first locally released album, “Twang,” and soon the labels were calling. Kim and Lazy Susan found themselves closing in on a deal with Hollywood records but sadly the deal blew up and it was time for Kim to move on.
Kim soon launched a solo career that picked up where Lazy Susan left off. Her next two records focused on an Alternative-Country/rootsy guitar-based sound. Through the late nineties Kim and her band collected or played a long list of killer shows including opening for Page/Plant, Pearl Jam, and John Doe. In 2003, Kim decided it was time for a change and began working with local producer and recording artist Pete Droge (If you Don’t Love me I Kill Myself/The Thorns). Kim and Pete recorded a 4 song EP that put Kim’s voice in the center of great songs and sparse arraignments. The collaboration was a major springboard for Kim and she soon contacted producer Jon Plum (Brandi Carlile) about doing a full length record.
Recorded over 3 years, mainly at London Bridge studio in Seattle, Songs from a Small House continues Kim’s journey from rock front woman to singer/song writer. The record’s 10 tracks deliver great pop melodies, introspective lyrics, modern production and most importantly, showcases Kim’s earthy powehouse vocals. Sometimes compared with Stevie Nicks, and sometimes Natalie Merchant, Kim’s voice has evolved into a compelling instrument that takes center stage on Songs from a Small House.
Songs from a Small House standout tracks include track #1, “Love Ain’t For The Weak”, which sets the album’s tone with subtle drum beats, a melodic chorus, and strings and horns combine to let you know that it ain’t all hearts and flowers. Track #2 is “Jesse’s Song” written after a late night of drinking with fellow songwriter, Jesse Sykes, Kim details the gift of encouragement Jesse gave to her with the help of some cool keyboards and electronic percussion. Track #4 “Letting Go” is one the songs Kim originally recorded with Pete Droge. The song is a simple ballad framed with traditional guitar, drums and bass that says goodbye to a longtime lover. It has become Kim’s signature song and a highlight in her live sets. Track #6 “Cozy Little Babies” is a waltz reminiscent of the Beatles complete with swooping ahs and a killer slide guitar solo. Track #8 “Careless Girls” is a breathy slice of new wave pop that adds a touch of longing sweetness to mix with its swinging beat. Finally Track #9 is “Constant Motion” a track beloved by many of the rock boys in Kim Virants’ circle.
Songs from a Small House is by far Kim’s best work, moving her to a new level of sophistication. Organic and atmospheric, the album draws you in with its intimate sound and beckons you to stay through all 10 tracks.