The unflinchingly jagged world of KATE VARGAS Rumpumpo LP
by Walter Price
Hold on there 2021. You almost snuck out the door with this year’s most unconventionally intoxicating and intricate album. This just below the radar LP is Kate Vargas’ ‘Rumpumpo’. A title that’s more of a sound you’d hear from New Orleans second-line procession than a word, but that’s what this album is. It’s an exceptional world of the unexpected. With stops of raspy blues, shadowy and poetic soul-stirring ballads, and full-tilt backroom rock n roll all twisted together into something that’s unlike anything else.
Vargas and her crew of top-tier co-songwriters and backing players know how to tell tales that cause unrestrained impulsive body movements, bewildering contemplations, and plenty of dry-bottomed whiskey bottles along the way. It’s the magical and twisted powers of ‘Rumpumpo’, it’ll pull ya in and put you in a willful spell.
If you’re a fan of a wide swath of vibes from the likes of Dr. John, Joplin, Adam Green, to Of Monsters and Men and Suzanne Santo, that’s awesome…but start anew with a fresh fandom of the eclectic brilliance that is Kate Vargas and her chronic, the hypnotic… ‘Rumpumpo’… it’s a wild ride worth every mystifying second.
You can stream the full Charles Newman-produced LP and see the music video for “Church of The Misdirection”, here at the GTC.
Side note: It’s a small debate ’round here…but is there a sneaky piccolo in the track, “Glorieta to the Holy Place”?
KATE VARGAS Rumpumpo LP
+ Church of The Misdirection
Artist photo by Jared Roybal
Recorded, produced, mixed by Charles Newman at Cottage Sounds, Los Angeles
Additional recording in homes on both coasts
Mastered by Tom Rogers at Atomix Studios, Los Angeles
Album cover by John Vochatzer
Design by Stephanie Haller at HALLA!
Kate Vargas – Vocals, electric and acoustic guitar, resonator, flute, whistle
Granville Mullings – Drums and percussion
Eric McFadden – Electric and nylon acoustic guitars, resonator
Matt Basile – Electric and upright bass
The Reckless Daughters (Lena Kaminsky and Lizzy Vargas) – Backing vocals
Stewart Cole – Alto and baritone horns, trumpet
Probyn Gregory – French horn, trombone
Charles Newman – Keyboards, aux percussion, pump & Hammond
Butch Norton – Additional percussion
All songs written by Kate Vargas, co-writers are noted as:
written w/ Bruce Butkovich / Ruby James at The Holiday Music Motel
written w/ Chando Yun
Spit 3 Times
written w/ Wally Ingram and Barrett Tasky at The Holiday Music Motel
written w/ Eric McFadden
written w/ Peter M. Murray
written w/ Feathered Mason and Josh Harty at The Holiday Music Motel
“I’m completely enchanted words. And I’m a sucker for a good story. Sometimes one word will grab me. Sometimes I’ll hear a story, or a piece of one, that I want to recreate. On occasion, I’ll just get a feeling that inspires me. Anything can be inspiration, if I let it. As much as I try to fight it, I do my best writing in a dimly lit room between the hours of 11 pm and 3 am.” – Kate Vargas (earbuddy)