What makes a performer special? The ability to empathize through a well-turned lyric, the talent for writing an effective hook, a connection with an audience projected from the stage, and a sense of purpose and passion in an artists' music are all qualities possessed by those who are able to make the transition from musician to performer.
In 2001 Kathy Phillips released her debut album "Sway" (Black Potatoe) to unexpected success and acclaim. In 2002 Kathy was awarded Best Female Artist and Best Song (for Leaves Changing) by New Jersey’s Courier News/Gannett Newspaper Group. Referring to the Best Song award, the papers wrote “Phillips' song about out-growing a relationship is good jazzy-folky medicine.”
The CD’s praise and her intimate live performances at local venues such as the Stone Pony, the Starland Ballroom and the Stanhope House created a tremendous regional following. Phillips’ smooth polished sound was described as a graceful connection between rock, folk and pop and drew media comparisons to early Natalie Merchant and Edie Brickell. Phillips’ became a compelling indie music force to the point where several tracks from the record were chosen for a popular MTV series.
Five years later Kathy Phillips releases her sophomore CD for Black Potatoe Records entitled CARRIES YOU AWAY. Sticking with a winning sonic formula the CD is once again produced by label owner Matt Angus (Levon Helm, Warren Haynes, Rodney Crowell) and a collection of 11 roots-driven songs of which Phillips wrote eight. Once again Matt and Kathy capture her expressive lyrics, strong melodies, gorgeous harmonies and excellent musicianship.
Despite using the same production techniques, Phillips is uninterested in treading similar musical ground. Rather, she returns with a more expansive Americana leaning collection including a visceral interpretation of The Band’s classic ‘Evangeline.’ This new direction reflects Phillips personal growth and musical evolution garnered from experiences like singing alongside The Harlem Gospel Choir singers and playing festivals as a duo and full ensemble. On this record, Phillips promises to connect with current fans as well as reach new audiences with musical honesty and eloquent stylistic impressions.
Adding the twang to Phillips’ rootsy redirection is Nashville based pedal steel legend Robby Turner of Waylon Jennings/Highwaymen fame and recording partner of Jim Lauderdale, Willie Nelson, John Prine, et al. Other band members include Barry Mitterhoff (Hot Tuna-Jorma) on Mandolin, Anthony Krizan (Spin Doctors, Lenny Kravitz) on electric guitar, Matt Angus on guitar and Hammond, Kim Williams on keyboards, violin, and vocals, Walt Bibinger on acoustic guitar, Todd Lanka on bass, Tom Nelson on drums and Travis Wetzel on violin.
Kathy has opened for/shared the stage with national acts such as:
Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, Shawn Mullins, Marshall Crenshaw, America, Blues legends Honeyboy Edwards and Pinetop Perkins, Hootie & the Blowfish, Styx, Andy Summers (Police), Levon Helm, Garth Hudson, Dickey Betts, Catie Curtis, Tony Levin Band, Chris Barron (Spin Doctors), Michael Glabicki (Rusted Root), Bernie Worrell, John Ginty, Shannon McNally, Jeffrey Gaines, Lee Rocker of The Stray Cats, The Fab Faux and drumming legend Bernard Purdie. Kathy has also been involved with singing backups for The Matt Angus Thing alongside members of the notorious Harlem Gospel Choir.
She has performed at notable venues such as:
New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), Bergen Performing Arts Center, The Stone Pony, The Stanhope House, The Starland Ballroom, Maxwells, The State Theatre in New Brunswick, Mexicali Blues (NJ), The Living Room, The Wetlands, The Knitting Factory, The Cutting Room, The Postcrypt Coffeehouse (NYC), The State Theatre in Easton PA, and The House of Blues (Boston), and also has been a part of the Black Potatoe Music Festival (Clinton, NJ), the Knowlton Music Festival (Delaware, NJ), COTA Jazz Festival (Delaware Water Gap), NJ Singer/Songwriters, Chick Singer Night, and many others.
She performs regularly in the tri-state area with the incredible talents of Walt Bibinger on guitar and Kim Williams on keyboards. Full band ensemble includes Randy Artiglere on bass and Dave Hedden or Tom Nelson on drums.
Kathy recently co-wrote a song with Anthony Krizan (Spin Doctors, John Waite) and Jacqueline Rose called "I Wanna Feel Good" which will be in the upcoming movie "Wake" due out in theaters soon.