Kate Vargas’ smoky vocals slink across the ominous corridors of “7 Inches”, a jazz-infused folk song from her forthcoming LP, For the Wolfish & Wandering. Having played with this chord progression since she was 16, the song silkily sleuths through potentially criminal permutations before a big reveal. She provides us with an inherently ensnaring composition, from the way its lyrics are written to how Vargas and her band deliver them alongside such a smooth air of mystery.
By the end, its tongue-in-cheek lens over the standards of both breakup and murder ballads give way to a cleverness behind Vargas’ croon. It’s a unique take on both that keeps listeners on their feet, most certainly deserving of a title as For the Wolfish & Wandering. The LP is set to be released on 27 July. Ahead of the full album’s release, Vargas has shared some words on “7 Inches” with PopMatters.
“There’s a big reveal in the song so, if you haven’t listened to it yet, please do so before continuing.”
“I had listened to a very in-depth podcast about Charles Manson before we wrote this song. The thing that stood out to me the most was this story about how the Manson Family would break into people’s houses, but they wouldn’t take anything, they would just move the furniture.”
“I co-wrote this one with Carley Baer and Tarl Knight at the Holiday Music Motel in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. They wrote all the clever lines.”
“There’s an incredible thing happening there, at the Holiday. Three times a year, 30-40 songwriters are invited to stay, write, and record for a week. The songs coming out of there are among the best I’ve ever heard. And all of them play on their own online radio station.”
“I’ve got a few stories from performing this one because, not wanting to give anything away, I only preface the song by saying the title is ‘7 Inches’. And sometimes I’ll add that it’s about criminal activity. The audience is usually quite tense until we reach the end of the chorus, the reveal line. I once played it in a church, and the pastor told me afterward that, up until that line, he thought he was going to have a heart attack!”
“He forgave me.”