Excluding the monthly wedding receptions I’ve attended lately, it’s been a long time since I’ve heard live music. I’m not sure the reason for the long hiatus, but it ended with a recent concert by Kate Redgate at the Firehouse Center in Newburyport, Massachusetts.
In all honesty, I didn’t know anything about Kate or her music. I simply wanted to hear live music and I had a sense she’d be good. Sometimes men can have solid intuition too.
I should note now that I’m no music critic. I’ve loved listening to music most of my life, but I’ll probably use the wrong terms. Bridge, chorus (no, I know that one!), riff, melody–I should have listened in eighth grade music rather than passing notes to the girls. Forgive my ignorance. Correct it if you’d like!
Kate’s music is folk-rock artistry with a dash of blues and some serious “New Country” undertones. Backed by a talented five-piece band, Kate filled the theatre with her deep, rich voice and broad smile. The strength of her voice might only be surpassed by her soulful lyrics. Comparisons to the Pretenders’ Chrissie Hynde or Sheryl Crow wouldn’t be far off the mark.
Donning cowboy boots, jeans, and a big, shiny belt buckle, Kate might have looked a little out of place in the New England seaside city. But, as it turns out, she had earned those boots. In between songs, she spoke of growing up along the Mississippi River and later moving to Montana, where she sat with friends drinking whiskey. The boots and buckle were earned.
Kate has done some living and her songs benefit from her life experience. She wrote all the songs (co-wrote one track) on her album titled “Nothing Tragic” and the lyrics evoke topics ranging from heartbreak to legacies to second chances. The lyrics are thoughtful without being self-indulgent. They’re real.
“Nothing Tragic” doesn’t have one throwaway song. Personal favorites include the emotive “Last to Know,” the up-tempo “Into The Blues,” and the powerful lyrics of “Bitterroot Valley Goodbye.”
Do yourself a favor and check out Kate Redgate. Her web site is still being built, but you can listen to a few songs at her MySpace page. To purchase a copy of “Nothing Tragic,” e-mail Kate directly at kredgate at gmail.com and she’ll mail you a signed CD. In a month, the album also will be available on iTunes and other online outlets.
This is good music–even if I don’t know how to properly describe it. Enjoy it.
Photo courtesy of Jeff Page, JC Page Photography.