by Al Giesler
As 2019 drew to a close, we found ourselves listening to Catherine the Great’s latest, “Jigsaw Puzzles and Pink Wine.” She offers sound advice in its title track, sharing the little reminders that keep us grounded while we navigate the turbulence of life. The simple and stripped down nature is fitting for the stories she shares. The record is 100% her effort, every note, every word. And with the exception of one track, she did the final engineering & mixing. The result is an upbeat, jangly folk record that covers
some heavy ground.
“Just remember to say thank you when you need to
When you don’t have money, try to give your time
Keep a little room for things that matter just to you
Jigsaw puzzles and pink wine.”
A common thread throughout is the complexity of relationships and the many manifestations of unrequited love. “Talk Too Much” portrays the anticipation over a prospective lover and dreaming of what’s to come:
“Too much time and not enough to do, so I overthink
Honey I hate lonely, see I just want you, but I overthink
So come on darling shut me up and use this mind for good,
I’ve been losing sleep with all this wish you would.
You are the tallest glass of water and I’m dying for a drink, but I overthink”
In “Waiting, Wanting”, we hear the realization that all dreams came to an end, with solace found in only memories.
“You used to give me records
And I’d learn every song
On the idle chance that you might like to hear them
You used to give me looks,
That didn’t last too long,
But if I closed my eyes I could appear them”
“Be Your Own Dad” tells a story that all too many can identify with. A child’s one-sided relationship with a parent and the confusion that comes with not being seen… and by someone you rely on more than anyone else. Finding the strength to overcome self doubt.
“But I have made this world my own
I have started something new
I have learned to be the things
That I needed from you”
She shares the loneliness that comes with being a performer moving from town to town in “What You Make”:
“Oh the road is hard and the road is long
And I’m tired of just singing cover songs
You could play a recording for free or for cheap
So why waste your money when you don’t want me?
They all sing along, but come morning they won’t know my face”
“Jigsaw Puzzles and Pink Wine” is often a record full of contemplation and solace, while at the heart it’s a joyful and spirited folk record that will have you singing along after a few spins through. Grab your favorite blanket and something delicious to sip, and give this one a listen one of these cold winter nights. You’ll be glad you did.