Kate McGarry + Keith Ganz Ensemble

What To Wear In The Dark
(Resilience Music Alliance)

What To Wear In The Dark is a radical and lustrous weave of original music and cover tunes. Vocalist Kate McGarry and her partner, guitarist Keith Ganz, strive to “brighten up the night,” the aim of the first track, the 1930s classic “Dancing In The Dark.” The drive to beat back despair, whether it’s the social pressure bearing down in Steely Dan’s “Barrytown” or the passing of a lifestyle in the Eagles’ “Desperado,” animates this exceptional album.

There are rhythmically upbeat tunes, like Joni Mitchell’s ambiguous “Both Sides Now,” Cat Stevens’ “On the Road To Find Out,” a funky take on George Harrison’s “Here Comes the Sun” and the album’s emotional pivot point, a chatty version of Simon and Garfunkel’s “The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)” that spotlights guest artists Ron Miles’ sassy cornet and Gary Versace’s velvet piano. The two back McGarry as she takes on Leonard Cohen’s “Anthem.” Her voice is balm on “It Happens All the Time In Heaven,” a languorous art song that ends this album in a storm of affection.

Ganz’s edits and mixes give space and definition to each instrument as well as McGarry’s vocals. The flavors of Pat Metheny, Sting, Tom Waits and Peter Gabriel surface occasionally but never subvert the originality here. Recorded over four years, in three different places with varying personnel, What To Wear In The Dark sounds born to flow.