With a grittier gravitas than her homespun face would suggest, Kate Vargas’ new album Strangeclaw is a pleasant surprise. Vargas, comes by her roots sound naturally, hailing from Albuquerque, New Mexico. You can hear the mystery and storied culture of the southwest quite vividly in her music.

If Tom Waits and Lucinda Williams had a baby, then it might sound a little like Vargas’ whiskey soaked ballads. Taking a new spin on the over-saturated Americana market, Strangeclaw feels like a ray of splintered sunlight on a dusty bar stool.

Standouts include the bluesy “Call Back the Dogs”, where Vargas utilizes her distinctive growl to her advantage. Digging deeper on tracks like “Bella Tell”, where an indie folk frothiness show its dirtier underbelly for a more substantial sound. The aptly named “Second Skin” is a sinuous medley that winds itself around your subconscious and crawls under the skin, leaving you under its spell long after the song has ended. “Who Knew What” is a fun, jazzy number that will make you sway in your sweat and lift even your darkest spirits.

In celebration of the new album and Vargas’ own birthday, she and friends will be playing a special Birthday Show this Saturday December 3rd at 7PM at Rockwood Music Hall. Supporting artists include The Reckless Daughters featuring Lizzie Vargas and Lena Kaminsky. Other artists to appear include Andrea Wittgens on keys and vocals, Granville Mullings Jr. on percussion, James Quinlan on bass, Gavi Grodsky on guitar and Alex Nguyen on trumpet. Get your tickets here.

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TheWaster.com | Strangeclaw