I awoke on my birthday to find vanilla shortbread cookies in the shapes of owls and cats and a birthday card from my girlfriend's mom that included a Starbucks gift card and was signed "Mom Karen." I also received an offer from one of my best friends in North Carolina to send me a copy of all the episodes of one of my favorite (short-lived) British shows and I received a ton of birthday wishes from people on Facebook. Kathy had given me my birthday present from her a few months early, but nevertheless, she still got us tickets to the Cathy Richardson show at Martyrs' last night. Everything counted, I felt like a pretty special girlie yesterday.
So last night, we went to the Cathy Richardson concert. If you've never heard of her, you should. She's one of those artists that sort of defy categorization now that I think about it. The first time I saw her was when she was touring with Janis Joplin's former band, Big Brother & The Holding Company, and singing all Joplin songs. That was at Northhalsted Market Days a couple of years ago, and she was terrific. We ended up staying and watching her whole show. Though I said she defies genre, I'll try and describe her anyway. She plays songs that toe the line between a blues-rock/folk-rock sound and she sometimes sounds a little like Joan Osborne and even, just occasionally, Melissa Etheridge. Kathy likened her to singer/songwriter Kim Richey. I tend to love bluesy chick singers, though last night, her music seemed much more "rock" and less "blues rock" – but that was great, too. She's very energetic on stage and she interacts with the audience a lot, showing of her charisma. Here's a snippet of video from the show:
I think women pull off the "blues rock" sound much better than men do, honestly. Give me your Joan Osbornes, Joss Stones and Cathy Richardsons any day over fucking Blues Traveler (actually, whenever I hear Blues Traveler, I am reminded of this scene in "Ghost World" – a movie I adore).
All that said, I still prefer real, actual blues to "blues rock" stuff, without a doubt. I think even in that genre, I lean toward the female artists (though there are notable exceptions, of course: I have always loved Robert Johnson and more recently have been listening to a lot of Skip James and Jimmy Rogers on my mp3 player at work). I want my Bessie Smiths and my Big Mama Thorntons, which reminds me: the Elvis Presley version of "Hounddog" is just bone-dry and sucked pale next to her version. Take a look.
Anyway, I had a great birthday and now I'm in the mood to rock out to some twangy guitars.