Like a lot of people, I loved the debut of this artist. It's a genre and a groove that countless numbers of people try to do, and so few pop through with that something special. Kathleen's got the endearing Ottawa country girl looks, smart heartfelt lyrics, and the superior melodies that plainly stood her out. But there's a lot more. She's really profane, and she's really fun, and she's got a helluva lot of juice. Her smile is deeply infectious and does not reek of coyness or artifice. She's so hometown that you'd have to follow her press to know the long list of cities and towns she's played in just over a year in support of Failer. Leno, Letterman, opening for Dylan, how's that for a freshman year?
Although Ottawa born and bred, her folks were in the Foreign Service (where her brother is also headed) and she spent parts of her formative years in places as far flung as Korea and Switzerland. She studied violin a dozen years growing up, but didn't get around to playing guitar and writing songs till her later teens. In her early twenties, she'd recorded an EP and booked herself across Canada. By 24, she was on international tour playing with her heroes.
I was pretty goosed to see her at The Americana Awards Show. You might have seen our wrap up on that Conference including the show--but if you did not, suffice it to say that our decided opinion was that she kicked everybody's ass, hands down. Since Rodney and Lauderdale and Allison Moorer and others were playing, I was caught by surprise. I could see Kathleen and her guitarist beau Colin Cripps from my seat at the end of the show, and walked over to say hi and tell them how good I thought they'd played. Colin had this outrageous Nudie Suit on, looked like frickin Porter Waggoner. They were both super nice, very friendly and excited to be there. (My one regret about that whole conference is that I lost one night of photos due to operator error while trying to download them, and in that batch was the shot of me and Kathleen, where I looked pretty good for a change. Damn. And she looked great, which is probably not out of the ordinary.)
If you don't have Failer and are a fan of alt-country, you're really missing something. The clips on the Listen page will straighten you right out. The band and studio hounds on the record are the down home analog bunch from her hometown with whom she cut her original EP that got her on the road. Jim Bryson plays excellent guitar on that disc, he's a big influence and supporter who will be in our next issue. Her current stringman Colin Cripps plays a very big guitar indeed, and I'm looking forward to hearing that on the sophomore release. For the follow up, I imagine they'll be headed into some hotshot room in Toronto, where the artist now resides.
I wish more Americana artists sounded like this, and I wish more women were like what Kathleen seems to be like. Guess that's what makes the special people special. The good news is that she lays it down, live and on record for all to enjoy. We think she's gonna be around, that it's a fast train you can still catch that's not yet but a handful of stops down the line.
Believe me, we had to edit a plethora of profanity on both sides of the phone line to get this into print. We had a real good time, and I look forward to our next opportunity. continue to interview