Classically-trained Pianist Katarina Pejak Turns to the Blues on ‘Outside Looking In’ (ALBUM REVIEW)

Katarina Pejak is a classically-trained pianist who released three albums in her native Serbia. Through a variety of avenues, her attention turned to the blues, with influences like Otis Spann, and Ray Charles, among others.

On her new EP Outside Looking In, you can hear some of that blues influence, but you certainly can’t call it a blues EP. It has far too much depth to be limited to just one genre.    

The EP is only four songs, but in those four songs, Pejak covers some musical ground. In the lead track “Flesh and Blood”, she sings in a breathy voice that is barely above a whisper. The melody is spare with only keyboards and horns. The organs and the muted tone make the song feel almost like something you could hear in a church.

“Shoot Me Baby” begins with a bluesy upright bass line similar to the one in “Crosscut Saw”. It is accompanied by some mellow bluesy piano that is similar in tone and mood to Vince Guaraldi. Between the melody and the vocals, this feels like it could be a song by Miss Tess. 

The last two songs are “Silver Little River” and “Weeping Wind”. These maintain the subdued mood of the first two songs. The biggest difference is that both of these feel like poems set to music.

This is an interesting EP with a blend of sounds incorporated into a unique sound. Pejak shows real talent as a singer and songwriter, and she does it all in just this brief glimpse of an EP.

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