Katherine Paul, more commonly known by her stage name of Black Belt Eagle Scout rocketed to fame with her debut album Mother of my Children back in 2018 and within just one short year she is back with another marvellous musical masterpiece in the form of At the Party with my Brown Friends.
This title might seem somewhat provocative at first glance but the reality is that the music and more importantly the messages behind it, that Paul produces are wholesome and packed full of unadulterated and unfathomable love for all things. Having grown up on the Swinomish Indian Reservation in NW Washington, Paul has always been surrounded by her heritage as her family were involved in traditional music as she first formed her views of the world. It’s understandable then how she came to grow into such a talented young performer but what’s so shiningly beautiful about her work is the raw and powerful honesty she brings into her work. On the topic of her latest album she has stated that she had no real intent behind it but instead was simply inspired to create songs based around what was going on in her life; about the love she has for her friends and how these flames inside keep her going.
The result of these loves and friendships is a heart-warming and wholesome album that exposes the tender underbelly of human emotion. This emotive context isn’t merely retained within the calm and touching words that Paul has written but is heralded in every element of her performance. Her voice is a captivating whisper of a sound, like an echo that is fading away and yet it seems so loud and resonant within your mind. This is the heavy, weighted power of her words and as she blends her delicate stories with her indominable vocals the result is something of a powerhouse of sound that is also inexplicably tender and harmonious. The music that Paul has introduced within At the Party with my Brown Friends is in direct juxtaposition to her previous work having replaced a maelstrom of guitar melodies with soft keys, emotional melodies and thoughts left unsaid. There is a whole new breed of power in her voice as she brings the new and improved Black Belt Eagle Scout to the world in a blaze of glory.
Paul is a fascinating and daring performance artist with an undiluted passion and adept ear that has allowed her to create a hauntingly beautiful collection of songs that are not only breath-takingly stunning but also softly powerful. Black Belt Eagle Scout has evolved into the voice of the generation that we need most.
Review by Joe Knipe