The Walleye Magazine

The Land, The Water, The Sky

-Melanie Larson

Black Belt Eagle Scout

The Land, The Water, The Sky is a love letter to the ancestral lands of Swinomish/Iñupiaq singer-songwriter Katherine Paul, otherwise known as Black Belt

Eagle Scout. Through 12 sonically lush vignettes, Paul evokes the sights, sounds, and traditions of her home along the Skagit

River. And, while each story she tells is undeniably personal,

Paul’s songwriting is also deeply and intentionally communal.

Even on a track as intimate as “Understanding,” Paul performs with such warmth and selfawareness that I could almost feel her loved ones’ presence within the soundscape, holding her close as she confides that “[s]ometimes I can’t even hold me.” Paul’s lyricism is also noticeably more concise on this album, which affords her ample space to showcase the storytelling potential of her intricately evocative guitar solos. The Land, The Water, The Sky solidifies Paul’s reputation as a multifaceted storyteller whose wailing guitar work and emotive lyricism equally contribute to the album’s overarching narrative of healing through homecoming.

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