For those unfamiliar with the name, Katee Kross is a 22 year old country singer from Bishopbriggs near Glasgow. This event, organised by TownKross Media (a collaboration between Kross and Glasgow based country duo ‘Raintown’) was a sell-out and I was pleased to have bought my ticket for the evening some weeks ago when the event was first advertised.
I first saw Katee last year supporting US songstress Jessica Lynn. I was pleased to invite her onto the roster for the album release event for Eric Paslay, co-hosted by Help Musicians Scotland and the Scottish Country Mafia. She shone that night too so expectation was high for last night.
The new album – “Show Your Hand” – is Katee’s 4th studio album in 5 years and she has a prolific songwriting partnership with her father, Peter, and lead guitarist, Ross Barron.
I’d had the pleasure of a pre-release copy of the album and reviewed it in full on the SCM Facebook page. So my main interest last night was seeing how the songs would move from the recorded format to live performance world.
The evening commenced with CIMV’s very own Ali Donowho compering with his usual confidence and prowess. Ali’s first job, other than pushing the availability of merch (quite rightly) was introducing support act Nicol & Elliot, who gave an engaging set, albeit I wondered what was coming after two unusually placed very slow numbers at the start of their set. Thankfully they got going as the songs moved on and I found myself liking their sound and stage presence. Shout-out to the bass player who was worth a watch.
Katee and her enlarged band took the stage thereafter. It was great to see the addition of a fiddle player (something I’d love to see more of at country gigs) and the eponymous Stevie from Raintown who added mandolin and other stringed sounds to the evening. The new keyboard player seemed to have little to do but came into his own with his ‘low D’ performance !!
Performing the album in its released order, my song highlights from the night were ‘Two Outlaws’, ‘Diamonds in the Dust’, ‘Still the People Talk’, ‘Please Stay’ (hauntingly beautiful track) and the southern-rock inspired banger ‘Keep On Keepin’ On’.
Katee took centre stage throughout and is undoubtedly maturing as a performer. Her engagement with the audience whilst introducing the songs and inspiration therefore was warm, often funny (yes your Dad is wrong about ‘Dancing with My Past’) and heartfelt.
A live audience always gives immediate and honest feedback and there was genuinely warm appreciation throughout the evening for all that was laid before us. Indeed, one over sauced member of the crowd really loved it, with “I love you Katee” being shouted at least a dozen times before her ‘minder’ encouraged a swift exit for fresh air, never to be seen again!! Katee handled it all with good grace and professional aplomb.
There’s clear joy in Katee and her band at these new songs and Julian the bass player gave us an impromptu funk solo, such was his delight at being in the groove. It’s fair to say his playing added the bass I had said was a little lacking on the version of the album I had listened to prior.
All in all this was a warm and joyous night to celebrate one of our own and her rise to the very top of the UK country scene. The new album is a delight and I’m generally a somewhat harsh critic of UK country acts. There’s no faux American accents here and the new album is a great collection of varied songs taking you on a journey with Katee’s talents.
Her voice is powerful and the encore of ‘Bluebird’ from her 3rd album and covers of Tiffany’s ‘I Think We’re Alone Now’ and The Beatles ‘All You Need is Love’ ended a flawless night.
Watch this space for more from Katee Kross. She’s going places.