click to enlarge
October 16, 2012
If Kat Edmonson were singing in the 1940s or ’50s, her name would be mentioned alongside those of Peggy Lee, Dinah Washington, Julie London, and Anita O’Day — maybe even Billie Holiday. ~Boston.com
- Tue 8pm - $16
Kat Edmonson is a buoyant singer-songwriter from Texas whose tiny stature belies a powerful voice. She makes smart, familiar pop; though steeped in vintage tradition, her style leans left of center. Kat’s biggest strength is her rich vocal control: alternately coy, elegant, and poignant, she often shifts tone effortlessly from one note to another, and she’s not afraid to leave in the occasional touch of gravel in her recordings. The singer is exceptionally present both on her albums and in concert.
She’s performed with Willie Nelson, opened for Smokey Robinson, toured with Boz Scaggs and Lyle Lovett, and headlined the Taichung Jazz Festival in Taiwan. She also recorded "Baby It's Cold Outside" with Lovett for his new album Release Me (Feb 28, 2012).
Now splitting her time between Austin and NYC, Kat is eager to release her second record, Way Down Low. She hopes it will be "a launching pad to play all over the world and travel wherever I can."
Growing up an only child with a single mom, the singer spent a lot of time daydreaming and avidly absorbing her mother’s collection of old movies and records. "School was really agony for me," she says. When she wasn’t writing songs in class, she would skip school and drive around for hours on end, listening to Neil Young, Carly Simon, Frank Sinatra, etc. This private communion with some of the musical greats, her heroes, was her true education.
After highschool, Kat left Houston for Austin in search of her musical home. There, she started attending open mic nights at a club called the Elephant Room and met a vast array of local players to collaborate with. These new-found relationships allowed Kat to begin playing regularly in the scene and she soon became a well-known success.
Her 2009 record, Take To The Sky, is an homage to songwriters. Kat says the record was "me trying to question what a standard actually is, and what popular music is; taking tunes and using them as canvases for self expression." On it she re-interprets such storied works as "Summertime" alongside more recent pop gems such as The Cardigans’ "Lovefool" and The Cure’s "Just Like Heaven".
Of her heroes, she says, "I pretty much look up to everyone that’s good . . . but out of all of them, Nina Simone . . . she does musically what I want to do. She defies genre. She exists as a sound unto herself."