Boomkat Product Review:
Tying a ribbon bow on yer lugs, Kath Bloom & Loren Connors’ exquisite 1983 country folk album resurfaces on reissue, expanded with a handful of live recordings
“The extraordinary creative partnership of New Haven, Connecticut duo Kath Bloom and Loren Connors has haunted fans of fragile folk and blues since the early 80s. Kath taught herself guitar during shifts as a janitor at a New Haven cemetery, while Loren’s free-form idiosyncratic style had been developing since the late 60s. Between 1981 and 1984, the duo recorded two live and four studio albums, mostly self-released in tiny quantities.
Early on, their music mixed folk and blues traditionals with a handful of Kath’s vulnerable, moving originals. By the later albums the songs were all Kath’s – her fragile voice and subdued finger- picking set against Loren’s abstract but always supportive playing. Together the duo created a sound almost impossibly emotional and haunting.
Kath & Loren’s first two albums in 1981-82 were live recordings, released via Loren’s Daggett Records label. Next came 1982’s Sing The Children Over on Massachusetts label Ambiguous Records. Then Sand In My Shoe emerged in 1983 as the first release on Loren’s new St. Joan label, in an edition of 200-300 copies with handmade sleeves.
Restless Faithful Desperate and Moonlight followed in 1983-84, before the prodigious duo parted ways. Kath did not release anything again until a 1993 solo cassette Love Explosion, but then developed a devoted cult following through the pivotal use of her song Come Here in Richard Linklater’s 1995 film Before Sunrise. Kath has since released three solo albums on Chapter Music (Finally in 2005, Terror in 2008 and Pass Through Here in 2015), as well as the Bloom tribute album Loving Takes This Course, featuring covers by the likes of Bill Callahan, Mark Kozelek, Devendra Banhart, Josephine Foster and many more.
Loren also retreated from music for a period until re-emerging in the late 1980s. He is now recognised as a pioneering guitar explorer, and has worked with the likes of Thurston Moore, Keiji Haino, Jim O’Rourke and many more. After reissuing Kath & Loren’s four landmark studio albums on CD in the late 2000s, Chapter has now embarked on the first ever vinyl reissues for these remarkable records. Restless Faithful Desperate was reissued in 2018, while Moonlight will be released alongside Sand In My Shoe in October 2019. Sand In My Shoe includes five digital-only bonus tracks, from 1982 live EP Pushin’ Up Daisies.”