By MIKE CHAIKEN
Listen to Kate Callahan’s latest album, “Two Doors,” you’re transported in two ways.
Musically, Kate’s soft voice and peaceful guitar strumming lulls you into a tranquil place.
Listen to her words, you’re then taken away to a thoughtful place as she weaves tales across the melodies.
Callahan, a Connecticut musician and former Plainville resident, returns to the area when she performs at The Vital Life Center in Plainville on Saturday, Dec. 1 at 7:30 p.m.
Billing herself as a singer/songwriter, Kate was asked what kinds of things inspire her to pick up a guitar and pen to begin writing a new song. Answering via email, Kate explained, “Songwriting is a world I like to live in. The metaphors, imagery, the chord progressions, the opportunity to be unapologetically optimistic in what I’m feeling and saying — these aspects of writing all keep me mentally, emotionally, and spiritually healthy.”
For some songwriters, they will reach within themselves for inspiration and examine their own history or emotions. Others will create new worlds, new characters, and new tales. Kate, however, said she likes to double dip from both strains, “sometimes all in the same song.” Kate explained, “My songs have a lot of what-ifs, like ‘Swing Low,’ ‘Heard,’ and ‘Random Acts’ on the new album. These are fictional story lines. But I love true stories as well.”
“I’m getting a degree in Creative Nonfiction at (Central Connecticut State University) right now,” said Kate. “I love the integrity of that genre: avoid embellishment and exaggeration in favor of the truth. I love that. That comes through in songs like ‘Two Doors’ and ‘Made for Love.’”
As for artists that inspire her as a musician, Kate said, “I love Joan Baez and how she’s raised awareness of social issues through her music. Leonard Cohen inspires me with his ability to evoke the spiritual and poetic from ordinary scenes.”
Additionally, Kate said, “A young artist I admire is Regina Spektor. I met her years ago, she stayed in my apartment during a gig, and we played songs in my living room. Her originality and classical music background give her a rare musicality that’s bringing the singer/songwriter genre to life right now.”
When asked to define herself as an artist herself, Kate said, “I’m innocent. I’m also optimistic and that translates into my artistic process. People say my performances are soulful – that’s because I’m in a moment to moment process of loving myself when I’m up there and that feeds my artistry.”
Sometimes the artist and the person are two separate entities, but Kate said both her artistic side and personal side are pretty well integrated. “Although as a person, I have more questions: Should my husband and I have a baby? Should I eat the meat sold in stores? Should I have a ‘Plan B’ in case music doesn’t work out?”
Kate’s newest album is titled, “Two Doors.” She explained the title was chosen for this particular collection of songs because it’s “about free will or the moments of choice people face in small and large ways. These moments exist throughout the album, particularly in the title track ‘Two Doors’ where the character faces his own rage over many lifetimes, and through the power of forgiveness realizes violence isn’t the ultimate end seeing that he has two doors he can walk through at any moment.”
When audiences listen to her music, Kate said, “I hope people will feel something achingly familiar about themselves — I don’t know what that is, maybe its love, but you know it when you feel it.”
Although a yoga center seems like an atypical choice for a musical performance, Kate is not a newcomer to the Vital Life Center. “I was living in Plainville when The Vital Life Center was built and loved the intention brought to life by its director Jayaprabha Mare DeBenigno. It’s a community resource for people seeking health, peace, laughter and vitality in their lives. My evening concert fits right into that atmosphere.”
And when people turn out to the Dec. 1 show, Kate said people will see her “performing my music with several vocalists, so expect harmonies, percussion, stories, and the rhythms of my older Martin guitar.”
Kate Callahan performs Saturday, Dec. 1 at 7:30 p.m. at The Vital Life Center, at the corner of Canal and West Main streets in Plainville. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door.
For more information, go to VitalLifeCenter.org or Kate-Callahan.com
By MIKE CHAIKEN