Folk singer Kathleen Murray’s show at Kuumbwa Jazz is going to be huge for a few reasons. First, it will be her last concert before she moves to Seattle in September to continue her studies. Second, it will be a release party for her debut CD, Woodland Voices. And finally, it is a big deal because initially, Voices wasn’t going to be released to the public.
“I mostly just wanted to make something I could show my kids some day,” Murray says. “But it’s a very personal project that I ended up sharing with people.”
A charming coming-of-age folk record, Voices invites listeners into Murray’s journey of self-discovery. The gorgeous folk track “Fallen Branches” uses lyrics like, “Questions upon questions upon answers I don’t trust,” to demonstrate the period of searching Murray found herself in when writing this record. Similarly, the ambient folk of “Alive” is representative of some of the album’s more spiritual aspects.
Throughout the record, Murray is unflinchingly honest with herself and others.
“A common thread on the album is this need to be authentic,” Murray says. “So through different stories and perspectives there’s this common theme of this desire to find authenticity in my life.”
Murray has been learning throughout this entire process, however, that while freeing, being so open and honest with her writing also has its down sides.
“There were definitely some moments [during recording] of thinking ‘Oh, this is scary!’” she says. “And especially as the album release is approaching, I’m thinking, ‘Oh man, people are going to listen to this now!’ It’s like saying, ‘Here’s my diary for you to read.’”
Moments of anxiety like these, however, have borne more fruit than not, because they have forced her to step outside of her comfort zone, a fact which she appreciates.
“It’s been scary, but there’s a lot of beauty in being vulnerable,” Murray says. “That’s what connects people, is when they decide to go out on a limb and be honest with each other.”
INFO: 6:30 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 17. Kuumbwa Jazz, 320-2 Cedar St., Santa Cruz. $10. 427-2227.