Kate Magdalena - "The Water is Wide" Album Review

Written by Victoria Scott and Staff

The Water is Wide is a tender and healing album that will touch your heart and soul.

Kate Magdalena (vocalist and harpist) along with famed Producer, Billy Smiley, collaborated with an A-list group of Nashville talent on the album. The album features nine songs that take you away to a better place. Kate blends a variety of genres offering original and cover songs. Water is a theme that streams throughout, a symbol of resiliency, healing and hope.

Track List

  1. The Waking

  2. Maui

  3. Downtown

  4. Shores of Avalon

  5. I Know a Heartache When I See One

  6. The Water is Wide

  7. Backstory

  8. Sea Fever

  9. Cloths of Heaven

The album opens with a song set to Theodore Roethke's poem "The Waking." Flowing flute and acoustic guitar, along with vocal layering and a sparse rhythm section, create a contemplative landscape. From the guitar's first strum to the captivating melody on the flute, you will be swept away into a world where every footstep is a chosen path that leads to inner growth. Kate sings the song with atistic deliberation, making each word count.


The second track is the upbeat, "Maui." The light guitars, sparkling ambience, and Hawaiin rhythms take you to the shores of a magical place where people arrive by chance, for vacation or a complete change of life. "Maui" is revitalizing and refreshing.


On track 3, Kate performs an uplifting cover of Tom Hatch's iconic 1960's song "Downtown." The city lights are shining as bright as Kate's fantastic voice in this song. In this fun, upbeat pop song, life and freedom are waiting for you. The fully orchestrated and dynamic production work is brilliant in this song.


Mid-way, track 4, the Celtic song, "Shores of Avalon", is gorgeous. With a gentle and glimmering acoustic introduction, Kate's vocal performance takes center stage as she sings the spiritual masterpiece. Another song about reaching the shore, this lyrics take you over stormy seas to a place of peace and tranquility. "Don't look back.There's nothing left to see."


"I Know A Heartache When I See One" is the second cover song on the album. It was originally released in 1979 by Jennifer Warnes. With a country rock flare heard in the twangy production work, Kate is completely at home with this song. Staying true to the song's original vibe, Kate let's go and has fun singing this timeless gem. Background vocals and lead guitar work are superb.


Track six, "The Water is Wide," encompasses the album's pure and healing essence. Kate's lovely harp, an acoustic guitar, and a fiddle accompany her dreamy vocals. With a duet comprised of two angelic voices singing a powerful message about the strength of love, this song has earned it's place as the album's title track.

The next song, "Backstory", stands apart as a social justice song. Kate has a powerful message to share and she does it with grace allowing her message to unfold with vocal softness. The most intense and darker toned song on the album describes corrupt elitists. "Backstory" is about "the story behind the story." It's a call to read between the lines. The heartbreaking lyrics ring true and send shivers up your spine while leaving you with a lot to think about.


"Sea Fever" takes us back to the beach with a song that vividly depicts daybreak on the beach. The song's lyrical imagery is so vivid, you can feel the wind on your skin. A fluttering and playful flute accents the melody. Background vocals are especially lovely.

The album closes with “Clothes of Heaven,” a mystical song with cello, harp, and acoustic guitar. The subtle touches of symphonic instrumentation with folk harmonies come together perfectly. The poem opens with the riches of the wealthy then speaks of the poor who only have their dreams to share and do so graciously. One can interpret this poem to be about unrequited love or about society at large and how those who have more than others should soften their hearts. Either way, "tread softly" is the meaningful message that Kate sings.


There’s so much to receive in The Water is Wide. This is an album that you can listen to over and over again. With poetic lyrics, detailed imagery, and in-depth storytelling, Kate's gift is a heartfelt message of grace, purity, and inner power and she delivers it with one of the most beautiful adult contemporary voices on the music scene today.

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