Kate Van Horn
Gig Seeker Pro

Kate Van Horn

Santa Rosa, California, United States

Santa Rosa, California, United States
Band Pop Singer/Songwriter


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Kate Van Horn at Aubergine"

It’s the moment in the sun for Kate Van Horn. The local songwriter who’s been gracing small clubs and cafes with her thoughtful songs and gossamer voice has released Truce, her debut album, celebrated this weekend at a release show at Sebastopol’s Aubergine. Van Horn plays the piano and sings, earning her deserved comparisons to Tori Amos; her voice, especially, treads into Tori territory. But while Amos developed a spiraling sense of composition, Van Horn keeps her songs Little Earthquakes-era compact with infectious melodies and that rare crossroad of jubilation and poetry. From the soaring passages of “Giant Moon” to the percussive piano rhythm of “Songs for a Saturday Night,” Truce is a winner. - The North Bay Bohemian

"Today's Indie Artist Suggestion: Kate Van Horn"

Hear Kate online today on both the "What's On My iPod" Show (4 PM EST, 1 PM PST) and our Piano Ballads Show (6 PM EST, 3 PM PST) at www.womenofsubstanceradio.com. This Northern California singer/songwriter's music is heavily influenced by Tori Amos, but she incorporates even more jazz and classical influences. Her songs are multi-faceted--sometimes straightforward and familiar, but pleasantly unpredictable, often veering off the beaten path to new and exciting destinations. Her lyrics are poetic and multi-layered, but don't leave listeners behind. Her piano playing shows all the sides of her personality: intense, haunting, inviting, spritely, and fun. Her vocal range is impressive and effortless. Her depth of character is revealed through her passionate soprano singing.

Posted at 02:28 PM on April 20, 2010 - http://womenofsubstanceradio.webs.com/apps/blog/


Debut album Truce released December 2009.



Singer-songwriter Kate Van Horn exerts a patent but subtle power in her performance and songwriting. She entices listeners into her inner space with clear and expressive melodies, intriguing lyrics, and vibe-heavy, piano-centric textures. Van Horn was born in San Francisco, grew up in southwestern Connecticut and now lives in the heart of California wine country. She began playing piano at age six, and singing and playing at twelve, when Tori Amos’ 1992 album, Little Earthquakes, worked its transformative magic. “Looking back, it was a critical point for me,” Van Horn says. “It freed me within the pop form; Tori made me realize you don’t have to be literal.”

Amos’ influence seeped into her style, evident in the way Van Horn creates dark piano spaces for her satiny voice to draw around, and in the way she revisits phrases like “way out here” in the song old feeling, changing it each time she sings it, so you never know if she’s headed up or down. There’s an insistence to that particular song – the first track on her just-released independent album Truce – a steady pulse from the bass and drums, the piano clamoring as her voice rises, hesitant-to-strong: “I thought I shared one new feeling / but I was wrong / it’s an old feeling / nobody is feeling what I’m feeling.” Her voice, at times delicate and at others full of attitude and awareness, mirrors our own vacillating emotions as we weather the array of complexities life presents.

Her songwriting is at once refreshingly original and yet also instantly classic, with lyrics like “it’s easy to be happy when you’re here / so many troubles do disappear / traded for new troubles, yes, my dear” on the song easy. “My songs are more experience-based,” Van Horn says. “I’m inspired to write based on what I feel intensely in a given moment, and then experiences filter through language and music and a patchwork of themes emerges.” Those themes include that of the faithful warrior on love and war, as her transcendent voice climbs, singing, “making believe that forevermore nothing bad will happen…we keep marching.” The song pillow wish is an urgent waltz-gone-pop containing stark observations such as “yet another morning / and where are we / what have we done?” After that particular lyric, Kate’s sure soprano and sweet piano suddenly vanish in a moment of silence, readily illustrating the level of attention to detail she pays when writing and performing her songs.

She attributes her high standards to her “Great Books” education at Shimer College and her singing skills to the “twenty or so” opera and voice lessons she took in 2006 at Blue Bear School of Music in San Francisco. Kate is comfortable in the upper registers, where she is really able to let her raw emotions loose. During the song lucky i am, we feel as if we are eavesdropping as she sings, poignantly, to herself, “you’re afraid of wanting / ‘cause it leads right to taking / which…just leads back to wanting.” The piano notes here fall weightily like fat drops down a windowpane. Van Horn sometimes wraps other sad topics in an upbeat package that’s part Joni Mitchell and part show-tune, like in the song dismal day, where Kate sings resignedly, “I knew I couldn’t trust those clouds.”

Van Horn says she was fortunate to find such “amazing musical colorists” – fellow California musicians Vic Carberry on drums, Jeff Martin on bass and strings, and Roxanne Oliva on accordion and harp – to accompany her on her debut album, Truce, which Kate says has been “long in coming.” Here, finally, is a collection that captures Van Horn’s dynamic range, her shifting, allegorical perspectives and her subtle power.