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"I am in awe of Karen's singing. Her voice is one of those rare gifts that make singing seem effortless"   - Slaid Cleaves, Rounder recording artist

"Karen Mal is a breath of fresh air in the crowded world of Austin music"   - Paul Barker, Barker House concerts

"One of Austin's fastest rising stars"  - Austin Kessler, Live Oak Coffeehouse Concerts

"Outstanding! Karen Mal is riding a musical high"   - Sing Out! Magazine

Karen Mal 's songs are like the old time remedy that mixed honey and lemon....They are sweet without being precious and have a lasting bite to them that makes them both memorable and good for you. Add a voice to match, and you have a musical panacea, curing our ills and adding to the grace of living.   - Michael Jaworek, The Birchmere


Reviews for Mercury's Wings:

A Fine Solo Debut With Many of Austin's Best
On her debut record, Austin-based singer and songwriter Karen Mal delivers a selection of fine songs with a musical intelligence and grace -- and an inviting voice -- which suggest she's one to watch. Fellow Austin musician Jeff Talmadge wrote one of the top cuts, "Take a Drive," in which Mal gives the right touch of understated emotion the slightly ambiguous tale of lovers wanting to talk. Talmadge collaborated with Mal on "Beyond the Headlights," a vivid evocation of journey and belief. Kelly Willis duets with Mal on that song, an engaging combination of voices similar, yet different. Willis returns again in a back up role on a bittersweet visit to the past, "Gibraltar Road," while Mal solos on another view of childhood, that of an adult leaving a well-loved child, with "Rosalie." There's also a reflective cover of Tish Hinojosa's passionate "Solo Tus Ojos." Mal also produced the disc, and shows that she's sensitive to the best framing for her voice and wise use of some very talented back up musicians, notably Chris Irwin on harmony and banjo, Jeff Plankenhorn on dobro, and Chip Dolan on accordion and piano. Chris Gage, Christine Albert, Paul Pearcy and Marvin Dykhuis are among the other top Austin-based musicians who sit in with Mal on this fine recording.
---Folkwax (11/27/02)

Karen has a real gift for words, for literary devices. Even sharper, Mal shows a real sensitivity for complex human thoughts and relationships in her songs; her own soul is really bursting out of its seams here. People who follow Texas songwriters will love this album.
---Green Man Review (Fall 2002)

Karen Mal is riding a musical high, having been selected as a finalist for the past two years in the Kerrville New Folk Competition. She gives much credit to the supportive Austin music community.
Karen's voice sometimes has a Southern twang suggesting Iris Dement, while other times she has very little regional intonation. She plays guitar and mandolin, the latter so well that she frequently gigs as an accompanist for other performers.
The recording follows the principle that less is more, deliberately keeping the instrumentation simple. Karen proudly has produced the album herself. She wrote four songs including the outstanding title cut, written for the late Fred Alley, musician and theatre personage who died of a heart attack while jogging at the age of 38. Five songs were co-written, and Karen also offers up a beautiful Spanish rendition of a Tish Hinojosa and Peter Rowan collaboration.
Overall, this is a highly listenable album by a young singer-songwriter who is honing her skills at a rapid pace. She has years of theatre production and acting, giving her ample subject material for writing and and active performing schedule for strengthening her playing skills. Karen Mal is someone to listen to as she grows to be an ever more skillful writer, producer and musician.
---SingOut Magazine, Fall 2002