Deep Dive: Kate Wolf, POET’S HEART

Monday, January 27, 2020
Kate Wolf POET'S HEART Cover

Today we celebrate the birthday of Kate Wolf, the late, great singer-songwriter who managed to make a major impact on folk scene – first as a member of the band Wildwood Flower, then as a solo artist – before succumbing to leukemia at the far-too-young age of 44. To commemorate this day of her birth, we’re taking a look back at the last studio album that Wolf released in her lifetime. 

During her final year or so, Wolf kept busy, appearing on A Prairie Home Companion and Austin City Limits, and also recording that very album. Co-produced by Wolf and Bill Griffin, POET’S HEART may not have been intended as a swan song, but it proved to be one nonetheless. In Richie Unterberger’s review for, he observed that the LP found Wolf “continuing to capably explore pretty much the same musical territory she always had, perhaps with a slightly heavier heart and somewhat more acute lyricism.” You’d think that this could be attributed to the fact that Wolf was writing the album with the knowledge that she would lose her battle with leukemia far sooner than later, but she didn’t. It wasn’t until after the album’s release that she found out. It’s worth noting Unterberger’s additional remark about the album, which is that Wolf “was still looking for new ways to modify her core approach, making imaginative use of dobro and steel guitar player Mike Auldridge and Celtic harpist Kim Robertson.”

With songs like “All He Ever Saw Was You,” “Carolina Pines,” and “Slender Thread,” POET’S HEART proved to be just as beloved an album amongst Wolf’s fans as the ones which had preceded it, but it still didn’t shift mass units. In the long run, however, the limited sales of Wolf’s albums haven’t kept her reputation from growing larger and larger over the years. 

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