Still in her teens, Katie Costello has already had a musical career that most singer/songwriters can only dream of. A solo debut at seventeen, supportive radioplay from KCRW tastemaker Nic Harcourt, TV track placement in a spate of high-profile shows. But as promising as those initial steps turned out to be, nothing could have prepared us for the great creative leap forward imagined with her accomplished new album Lamplight (February 22). Working with in-demand producer and multi-instrumentalist Tony Berg, who has worked wonders on the latest efforts from DC faves Jesca Hoop and Elizabeth and the Catapult, Costello moves her sprightly piano pop songs onto a bold new soundstage.
With Berg and a stellar cast of players (including keyboardist Patrick Warren from Fiona Apple's studio band), Costello has made an album that, she says, is "much more guitar and rhythm based than my first record - a direction I'm totally thrilled about." A glimmer of Lamplight comes early with "Ashes Ashes", a superb song that combines a sweet, intricate melody with dense layers of sonic icing and some celestial Brian Wilson-styled vocal harmonies, Costello's smoky voice the ideal counterpart to Berg's imaginative arrangement. "I think of every album as a very particular period of time and thematic contemplation in my life," reflects Costello. "I write what has happened to me and what I have felt, simply because I want to understand it."