Listening to (Doing it for the Chicks) has confirmed all the promise of the cover. Pride, poignancy, power abound amongst carefully crafted gem after gem that don’t mince words but never preach. Kate Reid is uplifting, life-affirming and she’s a magnificent singer and writer of beautiful songs. -Sean McGhee, Rock 'N' Reel Magazine, UK
Reid is both bold and witty. -Nicole Veerman, Jasper Fitzhugh
If you don't know Kate Reid is out after about 20 seconds of her CD, then you probably think The Indigo Girls are just too busy singing to settle down and find a nice husband. On her previous two discs, she's brought us such gems as "The Only Dyke At The Open Mic" and "I'd Go Straight For Ridley Bent", so it's not like you need the Rosetta Stone to decipher the lyrics. And yes, the songs are as funny as the titles. -Bob Mersereau, CBC East Coast Music Blog
She’s back to her winning ways right from the opening track of her latest “Doing it for the Chicks,”.....nothing but the finest in contemporary Canadian folk music. -Stuart Derdeyn, Vancouver Province
Kate Reid is, quite simply, one of the best songwriters to emerge from the Canadian folk roots scene since David Francey. -Tim Readman, Penguin Eggs Magazine, Edmonton
I’m not ashamed in the least to admit that talkin’ tales like “Ex-Junkie Boyfriend” and “Truckdriver” made me fall head over heels for her. -Jeffrey Morgan, Media Blackout, The Metro
Anyone who'd write a song called "The Only Dyke at the Open Mic" deserves a medal. And when she follows it up with "I'd Go Straight for Ridley Bent" and "Co-op Girlz" (about trying to pick up chicks a health food store), she should be eligible for the Order of Canada. A woman who breaks the stereotypes and makes us all think as welll as laugh. -Richard Flohil, Toronto presenter
Her lyrics are so honest and outspoken that her style sometimes resembles blogging, only with a guitar instead of acomputer keyboard. -Alex Varty, The Georgia Straight, Vancouver
....gut-splittingly funny...her lyrical edge is as sharp as a samurai, slicing away any of the mush that makes much roots/folk writing smell like cow patties. -Stuart Derdeyn, The Vancouver Province
Like so many musicians before her, Reid really is “Doing it for the Chicks.” What else but quadruple-entendre humour, cherry flavored cigars and a hilarious album cover that paints her as a misogynistic femme rapper can one expect from one of the queerest straight-shooters in contemporary music these days. “I’m merely on a divine plan to convert you all to the dark side of the bedroom,” she sings on the title track of her eagerly anticipated third album. “The music's all just extra-curricular, I’m just doing it for the chicks.” It’s not for nothing, then, that Reid has recorded Led Zeppelin’s cock-rock classic “Hotdog” with a bluegrass-styled hoot, holler and a broad wink.
Given the all-persuasions crowds drawn to her shows, Reid is doing it for the ladies and everyone else with a yen for her fiery performances and rare ability to glide from laughaloud sing-alongs to intense tales about the price some pay in staying true to their own trailblazing sexual identities. Critics have been cheering her on as much as her diehard fans and the new album follows the wave of acclaim that greeted 2009's "I’m Just Warming Up". Indeed, Reid was voted Favourite New Discovery of 2009 by Penguin Eggs Magazine (Canada's Folk, Roots and World magazine) critics, received a Canadian Folk Music Award nomination for Best New/Emerging Artist of the Year (2009), a Toronto Independent Music Award nomination for Best Acoustic Album (2010). In the interim she has toured like a flame-haired banshee while nurturing a grassroots audience that now stretches east across Canada and south into the U.S.
Reid now lives on idyllic Bowen Island just north of Vancouver following years in the heart of Vancity’s culturally diverse east side. Known for a style she once termed “slam poetry meets folk music,” the farm girl raised in Ayr, Ontario has dialled in more directly on the folk, country and roots directions hinted at on the last album and her 2006 debut, "Comin' Alive". She cites some of her influences from folk, country and rock genres alike: Ferron, Ani Difranco, Tracy Chapman, Indigo Girls, Ridley Bent, k.d.lang, Johnny Cash, Peter, Paul and Mary, The Dixie Chicks, The Allman Brothers, Bob Dylan, Neil Young along with comediennes like Ellen DeGeneres and Margaret Cho. She credits Toronto-based producer, Adam King (Jill Barber, Jully Black, the Good Lovelies) for the sparkling sound of "Doing it for the Chicks", high five-ing the cast of musicians who augmented her own guitar and harmonica with lap steel, banjo, fiddle and mandolin and percussion.
Passionately delivering alt-culture songs that move audiences to laugh, think and cry is Reid’s strength, and the new disc’s 11 originals (plus that one Zeppelin cover) showcase her fast-talking humour, activist spirit and compassionate take on life’s bittersweet truths. The title track, Doing it for the Chicks was written in response to a man who agreed to host a house concert for Reid before realizing that not only is she queer, she sings about it too. Revolution is a hard-hitting protest song about violence against women. Isn’t No Drama Queen chronicles the struggles of being out and speaks to the queer youth suicides that dominated the media in the fall of 2010. My Baby’s in the Beer Tent Again is already a crowd favourite on the festival circuit. And while a real-life, cross-dressing tugboat driver from Nanaimo, BC inspired Captain Cupcake and the Cambie Hotel, Closet Femme is a hilarious confessional about Reid’s own penchant for cross-dressing.
Kate Reid continues to build her audience by touring across the country and down in the US. And, she'll be unapologetically flying the flag whether performing for large festival audiences, in clubs, house concerts or Pride events across the country. Says Reid, “I definitely like shaking up opinions and perceptions. And yet, it seems that my lyrics resonate with people from all walks of life, because the songs aren't really about being queer, they are about being human. I also love seeing people howl, tap their feet and respond to what I am singing about, whether they get teary or they bust a gut laughing. That’s when I know I am doing my job right.”
Kate is currently in the studio working on an album for families. This fourth studio album boasts a collection of songs she wrote based on interviews she conducted with nearly 40 children, youth and adult children of LGBTQ parents. Kate wanted to capture the lives and stories of children who have and are growing up with gay and lesbian parents and turn them into songs. "There are no albums out there that speak to the lives of children being brought up in the queer community. Given our society that still has much to learn about acceptance, I think it's important that their voices and stories be heard." This album is set for release in January 2013.
Kate Reid - vocals, guitar, harmonica
2011 - Doing it for the Chicks
2009 - I'm Just Warming Up
2006 - Comin' Alive
2005 - Kate Reid (six-song sampler EP)
Doing it for the Chicks
When I Was a Little Boy
Captain Capcake and the Cambie Hotel
Ain't No Drama Queen
Steal Me Away
My Baby's in the Beer Tent Again
The Only Dyke at the Open Mic
Kate Reid - Doing it for the Chicks - CD Review
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Haven’t we had enough of CD sleeves featuring artists dripping with bling, smoking cigars and surrou...Haven’t we had enough of CD sleeves featuring artists dripping with bling, smoking cigars and surrounded by handfuls of fawning girls in skimpy clothes? Yes, but (stifled laughter) here come Kate Reid doing just that-oh yes, satire is alive and well and is now a Canadian lesbian touting sticky-up hair, a bagful of great songs and a parodied record sleeve. I make no excuses for mentioning Kate’s sexuality-she’s a giggling, fire breathing, rasping, crooning singer with an out-and-out (and out) laugh in the face of the historic, overdone, and cliched heterosexual love song. The title track here is a gorgeously clever statement of intent: ‘I’m on a divine plan to convert you all/To the dark side of the bedroom’. Doing it for the Chicks is a mix ‘n’ match blend of Kate Reid’s sexual politics, humour, smart rhymes and pop-country slick production-I can’t help hoping that the A&R gleam of some of the songs might allow them to slip onto mainstream radio and wake a few people up. And in case any of you same-sex couples are planning a wedding (or civil partnership-don’t want to upset the conservatives) you will want to get on the phone to Kate and invite her over to sing ‘Tie One On and Tie the Knot’, her very own good-time wedding song: ‘Tonight we’re going to celebrate, kick up our boots, get lubricated/Then we’ll consummate and we’ll try our damnedest to procreate.” - Boff Whalley, (Chumbawumba), Rock ‘N’ Reel Magazine, UK, March/April 2012
Kate Reid - Gem After Gem
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I receive thousands of CDs per year, from all corners of the world....one glance at the cover pic of...I receive thousands of CDs per year, from all corners of the world....one glance at the cover pic of Kate (Reid) adopting the role of a rap artist adorned with suitable adoring ‘chicks’ suggested this was a performer who understood wit and irony.
Listening to the album has confirmed all the promise of the cover. Pride, poignancy, power abound amongst carefully crafted gem after gem that don’t mince words but never preach. Kate Reid is uplifting, life-affirming and she’s a magnificent singer and writer of beautiful songs.
Kate Reid is Doing it for the Chicks
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West coast singer-songwriter and self-styled “queer music activist” Kate Reid may be Doing It For Th...West coast singer-songwriter and self-styled “queer music activist” Kate Reid may be Doing It For The Chicks, as the title of her latest album goes, but women, or lesbians aren’t the only ones enjoying her tunes. “I’m very passionate about it,” she admits. “My core audience is definitely queer-based women but it also goes out to straight people because these subjects affect them too. The folk music community seems to be generally open-minded and social issues have always been part of what folk music is about. It’s about people regardless of their gender issues, race or whatever.”
Folk fans may recall seeing Reid at the 2010 Folk Fest. She’s hard to miss with her vertical shock of bright red hair and an unapologetically forward stage presence. Doing It For The Chicks has its share of chuckles on tracks like Captain Cupcake & The Cambie Hotel (inspired by a man with alternative clothing tastes), My Baby’s In The Beer Tent Again, and a rather ironic cover of Led Zeppelin’s Hotdog. Reid grew up in small-town Ontario and discovered the power of singing at church camp. After picking up guitar in high school she made her first performances in her dad’s cover band. Still, it was most of a decade before she started writing her own songs and found the courage to start performing them at open mike nights. In between, she took a degree in psychology at Guelph University and in 1994, moved out to British Columbia.
She credits artists like Ferron, Ani DiFranco and Indigo Girls as early influences who steered her to find her own voice while she was delving into themes of sexual identity and healing. Reid also worked to include humour in her songs from the beginning with her first album Comin’ Alive in 2006, and again on I’m Just Warming Up in 2009, the same year that she made music her full-time career. She feels her songwriting and production standards have matured a lot in the past five years and you can hear that on Doing It For The Chicks, which features a pack of expert support players from around Toronto alongside her own guitar, harmonica and exuberant vocals. Much of the album is upbeat, sometimes frantically funny, but there are serious moments too, and you don’t have to have to be a lesbian to enjoy it. “Whether they’re funny or very serious, I still like to write songs that talk about the truth, to keep that in the forefront and to be direct in saying what I want to say. The broader message is about humanity. I’m human too. I just happen to be a lesbian.”
Queer Vancouver Folkie Doing it for the Chicks
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Some of the best shit disturbers out there are the ones who know how to mix the right amount of hone...Some of the best shit disturbers out there are the ones who know how to mix the right amount of honey in with their medicine, and BC singer/songwriter Kate Reid has the intuitive ability to meld the sassy and sweet just perfectly.
Reid's new CD, Doing It for the Chicks, is her third disc, and it is far and away her strongest offering yet. The sardonic cover picture (featuring her in gangsta wear, surrounded by fawning women in little black dresses) is a perfect pairing to the title track. Surprisingly enough, a Yukon church minister was the inspiration for that track. "I was doing a tour of house concerts, and one of the guys on the predetermined circuit was this very conservative minister. I had to quell some fears of what he thought might happen if I sang in his living room," says singer/songwriter Kate Reid.
"I was doing a tour of house concerts," Reid recalls, "and one of the guys on the predetermined circuit was this very conservative minister. I had to quell some fears of what he thought might happen if I sang in his living room," she says with a laugh. "He was just a homophobic guy. That's where the song came from — the weird phobias people have about lesbians and queer people."
The night of the Whitehorse show, the crowd loved her, and CD sales were fantastic, but perhaps the evening's biggest success was the tongue-in-cheek song born out of it. "I'm merely on a divine plan to convert you all to the dark side of the bedroom / So why don't you come and pray at my church for a change / and I'll prey on you 'cause that's what my kind of people do."
True to form, Chicks has its fair share of humour; Reid's songs and shows traditionally contain as much comedy as musicality. Included on the disc is a coming out of her own, a surprising detail from Reid's secret life. In it, you'll hear the faux-hawked, soft butch sing: "Underneath the semi-tough exterior, I've got a high-gloss interior / In the privacy of my own home, I like to put on women's clothes / Yes it's true, I'm one of them, I am a closet femme."
Reid says the track is going to surprise a lot of people. "There's some preconceptions about me based on how I look. If we enter into a different kind of relationship than we're expected to, or dress differently, some people get judgmental about that," she observes. "Sometimes our fears are just our own projections."
Reid's devoted fan base already knows she's capable of contemplation and depth in her music, but on Doing It for the Chicks, she reaches a new level of intensity and solemn self-reflection. In "When I Was a Little Boy," filled with heart and ache, Reid sings about her conflicted childhood: "I played the husband or the hero in every single make-believe scene / When I was a little boy, when I was a little girl." And she worries in "Ain't No Drama Queen" about her ability to be a successful artist: "I'm too out to be in," she sings. "I'm too out to make it someday."
In the disc's toughest song, "Revolution," Reid addresses being molested as a young child by her grandfather. "I had to ask myself the question, 'Do I wanna put that out there?' Yeah, I'm afraid, but fuck it. As a songwriter, my goal is to change people's lives, to move them into action, to touch something inside of them that they can't even explain," she muses. "Good lyrics speak for other people; they say things that we can't even unearth until we hear it. That to me is good music, it is important music."
Reid is on tour throughout Canada until Christmas. She plans to release an album for children of queer parents next year.
Kate Reid - There's Out and Then There's Out
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There's out, and then there's out. If you don't know Kate Reid is out after about 20 seconds of her ...There's out, and then there's out. If you don't know Kate Reid is out after about 20 seconds of her CD, then you probably think The Indigo Girls are just too busy singing to settle down and find a nice husband. On her previous two discs, she's brought us such gems as "The Only Dyke At The Open Mic" and "I'd Go Straight For Ridley Bent", so it's not like you need the Rosetta Stone to decipher the lyrics. And yes, the songs are as funny as the titles.
Of course, there's the dead serious goal behind the tunes. Reid states on this disc that over the last few years she's been able to change her source material. At first she wrote for and about herself, but after being on the road, getting her music out and hearing back from so many Canadians, now she has their stories to tell. So we get to hear from real-life people across the country, and their own experiences with sexuality and society. The title cut is Reid's tongue-in-cheek response to a conservative guy hosting a house concert, and worried about her lifestyle and lyrics. "Tie One On & Tie The Knot" is her whoop-it-up matrimony song, for all the times she's been invited to sing at lesbian weddings. The best true story belongs to the titular character in Captain Cupcake & the Cambie Hotel, whom she met at a slightly dodgy gig in a rough Nanaimo bar. He turned out to be a cross-dressing tugboat captain, who ends up with the most stunning waitress in town. As Reid says about these real people,"I know you are out there, and I honour you."
Not all the tales she hears have a happy ending, or can be softened with funny title. "Revolution" is her protest song, for all the stories of male violence against women. "Forget the war on terror and all those other useless wars, too/What about this war on women/that's right in front of you?"
Sizzling Platter of the Week #288-Doing it for the Chicks
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If I threw out all the records in my collection that were recorded by homos, alkies, murderers, junk...If I threw out all the records in my collection that were recorded by homos, alkies, murderers, junkies, lunatics, adulterers, gypsies, tramps and thieves, I’d have nothing left to spin except my Pat Boone albums—and even they’d be suspect after he was seen in the company of Alice Cooper: a guy with a girl’s name, of all things.
Besides, I’ve got too many albums to burn even if I did want to torch them, which is why I rationalize my paucity of purification by reminding myself what a mortally wounded Lee Marvin sagely said at the end of The Killers after he plugged double-dealing Ronald Reagan and was about to perforate two-faced Angie Dickenson: “Lady, I don’t have the time.”
Well we may not have the time but it’s obvious that a whole host of others do, judging by the number of decadent discs which keep a-tumblin’ into my rock critic sin bin, including this latest licentious offering by Kate Reid. You may recall that I reviewed Kate’s debut disc I’m Just Warming Up a year ago in MB234—but if you don’t, I’ll reiterate for ya:
“With song titles like ‘The Only Dyke At The Open Mic’ and ‘Emergency Dyke Project,’ you can probably guess which side of the swingin’ gate country singin’ Kate is straddling. She’s got a brain as big as her heart and a good-natured sense of humor that’s even bigger. But don’t let her cheerful chirpy voice fool ya ’cause Kate’s nobody’s fool, nuh uh. That’s why she prefaces each set of lyrics in the booklet with insightful little explanations and relevant bits of advice like: ‘In mainstream pop culture, lesbianism is becoming a marketing tool to reach male audiences. Not good.’ Of course Kate’s right but, what with me bein’ a guy who still harbors eleventh hour Honor Blackman conversion fantasies, I’m not ashamed in the least to admit that talkin’ tales like ‘Ex-Junkie Boyfriend’ and ‘Truckdriver’ made me fall head over heels for her.”
That said, I was kinda hoping that my hyper-masculine review might switch Kate over but, wouldn’t you know it, not only has she remained stubbornly unchanged, the brazen hussy now has the nerve to actually use her latest tell-all album as a recruitment tool to conscript innocent sweet young things into her service, as evidenced by her oral offer on the title track wherein she actually admits: “I’m merely on a divine plan to convert you all to the dark side of the bedroom!”
Okay, I give up. Just like Kate, I know when I’m licked. So if you’re a skirt with your eye on some fresh lettuce you’re seekin’ to sway, go to Kate’s website and buy both of her albums. Together they’ll make the perfect box set—and so will the two of you, if you catch my drift.
Kate Reid - Nothing but the Finest in Contemporary Canadian Folk Music.
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Great songwriters are almost always expert storytellers. Suggesting that she was still getting her c...Great songwriters are almost always expert storytellers. Suggesting that she was still getting her chops up, Kate Reid titled her second CD, I’m Just Warming Up. The disc was a cross-Canada hit, connecting with folk, queer, indie and other audiences through its merging of “slam poetry meets folk music” and equal parts rave-ups and poignant ballads with a particular emphasis on observing the oddities of small town life. She’s back to her winning ways right from the opening track of her latest “Doing it for the Chicks,” telling the tale of a cross-dressing tugboat skipper chasing down love in one of Nanaimo’s rougher drinking holes in “Captain Cupcake & The Cambie Hotel.” The disc closes with another comedic twanger titled “My Baby’s In the Beer Tent Again,” but along the way the dozen tracks touch on serious romantic balladry, political observation and clarion calls and points in between. Expect an evening of nothing but the finest in contemporary Canadian folk music.
Humour Can Be Cathartic
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The humour comes chuckling through the title track of her latest album, Doin' It For The Chicks. The...The humour comes chuckling through the title track of her latest album, Doin' It For The Chicks. The title track is quite a bold statement. "Sometimes I get irritated with people's homophobia and I just wanted to write something snappy and bad assy and cathartic." said Reid. "That song is my cheeky response to those people who mudsling at the queer community. I'm so tired of hearing that stuff and I just thought well, here it is, it's back in your face -- what are you going to do with it now?"
The cover of Doin' It For The Chicks is a photo of Reid with a cigar in her hand, staring into the camera while a harem of pretty girls fawn all over her. "And the album cover makes me laugh every time I look at it!" A fan favourite is a song called Captain Cupcake and the Cambie Hotel. Reid said it's a long song but it tells a really good story.
When it comes to her style of music, which is telling a story to music, it lends itself to a captive audience. This is not the type of music people would have a conversation over, while Reid sings in the background. "Sometimes it's a curse and sometimes it's great because I want people to listen," said Reid. "It's just something that I hit upon. I like stories, I like descriptive stuff and I love words so I just had to fit it all together and syllabic rhyming is totally fun and I totally get off on it. Rhyming words is like fitting pieces into a big puzzle."
Reid came into performing later in life while she grew up with music all around I only started pursuing music as a career about five years ago," said the 40 year old. "Because in my 20s and 30s I was quite lost, I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life and I always had these dreams of making music but it never translated into real life for me because I couldn't imagine how it was going to happen."
It took quite a bit for Reid to gather up the courage to take a stab at the dream. "I didn't want to look back at my life and ask why I didn't try that?" said Reid.
Out and Outdoors
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Meet Kate Reid, Canadian folk singer, queer activist and musician extraordinaire — she wouldn’t say ...Meet Kate Reid, Canadian folk singer, queer activist and musician extraordinaire — she wouldn’t say that last part, but it’s true.
Reid is a legit fulltime starving artist from north of the border whose music is geared toward the day-to-day, in a queer way.It is fitting that Reid is the headliner for the Eugene/Springfield Pride festival, as she is a passionate voice from a culture far more friendly to the LGBT community than our own. “I feel very aware of what I am when I’m in the U.S.,” Reid says, “I’m a voice of hope.”
A diligent guitarist since her high school years, Reid began her stage show as a 21-year-old singing Janis Joplin tunes with her father’s bar band. Her style is neo-folk music meets slam poetry, often self-deprecating and very engaging.
Though her presence on the microphone is brazen, offstage Reid is shy and she speaks openly of her performance fright. “I was terrified of jumping on stage and doing something I felt so passionate about,” she says. When asked about the scene in Canada, in contrast to the one she plays in when touring the U.S., Reid says, “I love pride festivals like the one in Eugene. In the U.S., with the struggles with marriage rights, it’s important music like this is played and that we (LGBT community) are visible in our celebration.” She adds, “We have to keep pushing.”
Emotional Rescue-an interview with Kate Reid
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Kate Reid owes her life to music. It lifted her from chronic despair into an outrageously funny and ...Kate Reid owes her life to music. It lifted her from chronic despair into an outrageously funny and utterly engaging performer feted by tugboat hands and critics like Tim Readman. He supplies the superlatives.
Kate Reid is, quite simply, one of the best songwriters to emerge from the Canadian folk roots scene since David Francey. Songs such as The Only Dyke at the Open Mic, Ex-Junkie Boyfriend and No More Missing Daughters showcase her ability to write compelling, often funny, sometimes tragic songs that make listeners sit up and take notice. For many, songwriting is a hobby, for some it is a profession, but for Kate it is literally a matter of life and death. “Growing up, I was afraid of success, afraid of failure, afraid of just about everything. I had a lot of grief, sadness and anger, and I hadn’t really uncovered a lot of stuff about my childhood that was sitting inside, stuff that I couldn’t articulate. I always say that music saved my life and it truly did. It helped me rise up out of situations of despair. “I was extremely terrified about doing music but even more frightened of not doing it. I knew I’d have to get over it if I wanted to do anything with music. Now I have to keep my songwriting at a level that is deep and not shut myself off. I don’t want to have that feeling of being dead ever again, because that’s what it felt like in my early life.”
Her music started with singing at camp and in school choir. “The sound of everyone’s voices coming together was so powerful. I knew then that I could sing and it made me feel good.” She picked up the guitar at 17 years old and played covers of Joni, Neil, Ferron and the Indigo Girls. She soon realized that she wanted to write her own songs, wanted to write about her life. “I was too nervous, so I wouldn’t play in front of people. I had no sense of myself as a musician. Then I played for a couple of friends, and they encouraged me to go to open mics. I moved to Midway, BC, and then I wrote a couple I thought were half-decent.” One of those songs is Small Town, which appeared on her first CD, named, appropriately enough, Coming Alive. It is about her time in that rather red-neck community and it features the deliciously funny lines: And in an effort of self-preservation / I took to shaving my legs / Cuz I didn’t want to get confused with an animal / And end up in my neighbour’s deep freeze / Freezing. “By then I really liked how it felt to sing my songs. It was a good way to get all that stuff, all that turmoil out of my body. I needed to know who I was and songwriting was a way to find out. With music I came alive. I came alive when I sang. I discovered I had a voice I had never heard before inside myself.”
She got more and more positive feedback, and realized she was touching on stuff that was meaningful to others, especially when they laughed because of her words. “I realized, ‘Oh I’m funny!’ I didn’t know! I could see myself in other people’s reactions. It helped me to have a sense of self.” Coming out as a lesbian was difficult. “I was learning another part about myself that I was trying to hide, that I was really scared of. I was really worried about what people would think. I had a lot of internalized homophobia. Because of being empowered through my music, I can own that part of myself and feel proud of it.”
Now people are always asking her, ‘Do you really have to go on about being a dyke all the time?’ She replies: “There are road blocks whenever I talk about my sexuality. Look at the paper. We just had two guys in London who were gay bashed. We have gay marriage and stuff but there’s still a lot happening out there that are hate crimes. A lot of people make the mistake of saying we’ve won the fight. I remember listening to music that got me through hard stuff and I want to write music like that because it’s really important. “We live in a culture where the mainstream is so straight and narrow, and I want to throw a wrench in there somewhere. I am not a spokeswoman. I don’t know if I can be the voice of the lesbian community. I am a white middle class woman who happens to be a lesbian. All I can do is speak about my experience and if people resonate with that, that’s great. The lesbian community is so diverse. I’m not the IT girl, I just sing the songs.”
Her latest CD, I’m Just Warming Up, is a testament to her growing maturity as an artist. It is brilliantly written, beautifully sung, packed with diverse emotions and extremely musical. “Being in the studio is a really good lesson in listening to oneself. I know when something is right and not right. It’s one of the few times I am very sure about what I like and what I don’t like. In the studio I am very clear.”
She is excited about her next project. Originally it was to be called Songs for Kids with 2 Mums, but then she realized, “There’s gay and lesbian joint parenting, insemination, adoption, step parenting—all these different possibilities of families I never thought about.” She already has more than 20 interviews lined up. She plans to take it into schools as an educational tool for promoting diversity, inclusion and acceptance. As she wryly observes, “I know what it’s like to be a bit different.”
These days she writes constantly, often about the people she meets. Like the bloke in a bar on Vancouver Island who looked like an average guy. “He came and told me he drives a tug boat, he loves my songs and that he’s a total cross-dresser. His nickname is Captain Cupcake. How can you not write a song about that?”
Queer Musician Kate Reid Tackles Tough Subjects with Humour
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A song can be a dangerous thing. Ask Vancouver-based singer-songwriter Kate Reid. Reid, who is a les...A song can be a dangerous thing. Ask Vancouver-based singer-songwriter Kate Reid. Reid, who is a lesbian, said that while Katy Perry’s song I Kissed A Girl is catchy, it may have unintended effects for the GLBT community by misrepresenting their experiences to mainstream audiences. “(That song) was counter-productive ... (It was about) a straight woman trying to get more attention from men and the media,” said Reid. “A lot of people might not think about the implications of a song ... She’s not trying to represent us at all. She’s just representing herself.” Similar to comedians like Dave Chapelle, Reid blends political awareness with wit. By directly challenging stereotypes, she tries to capture the stories of the people she writes about, including herself. Tracks like I’d Go Straight for Ridley Bent and The Only Dyke at the Open Mic are as funny as they are catchy. “I think it’s easier to stomach what I’m talking about if I make fun of it,” she said. “I want to address stuff like homophobia — even our own internal homophobia ... If people feel like they are part of the story ... (that) helps us see how we are similar (as well as unique).” That said, it’s not all fun for Reid, who also tackles tough subjects — a challenge during live sets that shift in emotions. For example, No More Missing Daughters, about the missing women of Vancouver’s Downtown East Side, is still difficult to perform. “It’s hard for me to separate my emotions — not so much when I’m writing, but when I’m on stage,” she said. “I’m trying to learn techniques like making a set list, and making sure I have comic relief to offset the heavy songs.” Writing in a self-reflexive manner, Reid draws on the role that music played in her own experience of coming out. Stories told by musicians like Ani Difranco, Tracey Chapman and the Indigo Girls helped her figure out her own situation, and she hopes to do the same for others. Her next album will feature stories from cross-country interviews with children who have lesbian moms — an idea that came after a 13-year-old fan sent Reid a letter about her experience. “(I wanted to) look at how they feel as kids,” said Reid, whose partner has two kids. “I heard all these cool stories, and wanted to turn them into songs, so I sent out an email and lined up 20 people within 24 hours who said they would love to be a part of it.”
Calgary Shows for Funny Folkie
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Reid's appeal springs from humanity of lyrics By LISA WILTON, SUN MEDIA She's a self-described...Reid's appeal springs from humanity of lyrics
By LISA WILTON, SUN MEDIA
She's a self-described 'homofolkie', but Kate Reid says her music appeals to more than just gay and lesbian music fans.
"A lot of straight men like my music for some reason," she says with a laugh. "Obviously I'm a dyke and I talk about it. But what appeals to people is the humour and the humanness of what I write about and the storytelling aspect. It's more about who we are as people rather than sexuality or a gender."
That said, Reid's next CD will be a youth-oriented collection of songs written specifically for children with lesbian parents.
"I got inspired by fan mail from some young people and also some friends of mine who are lesbians with kids."
"I know it's going to really pigeonhole me, but I realized there are a lot of kids who don't have songs for their lives. They don't have a language for their experiences in their families, which are different from the experiences of straight families."
Reid hopes to interview children of lesbian couples during her current Canadian tour. She says she will listen to their stories and turn their experiences into songs for the CD, titled Songs for Kids With Two Moms.
"I'm really excited about it and I think it's going to be a really fun project in terms of doing the research and writing the songs and trying to create a body of work that expresses the experiences in their lives," says Reid, who plays tonight at Soda, and Monday night at the Ironwood Stage in Inglewood.
The 38-year-old singer's latest album, I'm Just Warming Up, has been well-received by folk music fans across the country and her live performances are filled with so many one liners they could be stand-up comedy shows.
It's not just her hilarious between-song banter that brings the laughs. Songs such as The Only Dyke at the Open Mic, Junkie Ex-Boyfriend and Emergency Dyke Project also demonstrate Reid's keen lyric writing skills and sharp sense of humour.
"I have no idea where it came from," she says. "It just sort of happened. I think it came out of the hard times in my life and the sense of humour just helped keep me afloat. I realized that laughing at myself and at the world was helpful when I was going through the dark stuff."
Reid admits she is better known for her wisecracking than some of her deeper, more emotional numbers such as No More Missing Daughters, which was inspired by the Vancouver-area prostitutes murdered by B.C. pig farmer Robert Pickton.
But Reid says she doesn't want to add gravitas to her songs just for the sake of being taken more seriously.
"I like to do a mix of funny and serious on my albums and I don't want to get away from that."
Kate Reid - Gay and Proud -Aug. 2009
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I’m Just Warming Up - CD Review With such song titles as The Only Dyke at the Open Mic and Emerge...I’m Just Warming Up - CD Review
With such song titles as The Only Dyke at the Open Mic and Emergency Dyke Project it’s easy to identify Kate Reid’s sexual orientation.
But the question posed by I’m Just Warming Up is whether the West Coast singer/songwriter’s music transcends gender identification.
The answer is affirmative. Smart, saucy and witty, Reid is an artist who happens to be lesbian rather than a lesbian artist with an agenda.
Her artistic reach embraces No More Missing Daughters, a song inspired by the missing women of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside worthy of Ani DiFranco, to Truckdriver, a coming-of-age song worthy of Ferron, to an adaptation of Robert Service’s The Cremation of Sam McGee.
Kate Reid - I'm Just Warming Up - CD Review
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I'm Just Warming Up Self-effacing Vancouver folkie Kate Reid knows how to write poignant and ang...I'm Just Warming Up
Self-effacing Vancouver folkie Kate Reid knows how to write poignant and angry songs. The titles say it all: No More Missing Daughters, The Cremation of Sam McGee and Reach to You, whose harmony vocals evoke the Dixie Chicks. Reid is funny too: In Emergency Dyke Project, she sings to pop teen idol Katy Perry, "I've kissed a girl and I liked it too/ In fact, I've kissed a few in my day/ so how come I'm not famous for it yet?" A terrific album that catapults Reid into the ranks of Penny Lang and Joan Baez.
Kate Reid Blogs with her Guitar
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The East Van singer-songwriter says performing helps her reclaim her power and her voice. Almost...The East Van singer-songwriter says performing helps her reclaim her power and her voice.
Almost everything you need to know about Kate Reid is contained in “The Only Dyke at the Open Mic”, from the East Van–based performer’s brand-new CD, I’m Just Warming Up. Part pop, part folk, the song references Joni Mitchell and Kurt Cobain and being too broke to buy a beer. It’s also funny and poignant and strikingly self-assured, or at least it is once the narrator recovers from the shock of being out and alone in a room full of straight people and the shame of knocking the microphone stand to the floor.
Sexual specifics aside, it’s a story that will be familiar to anyone who’s ever worked up the nerve to sing their songs in front of an unfamiliar audience. And it’s also Reid’s life in miniature: lonely outsider finds acceptance, community, and even love through her music.
“I’m the only dyke at the open mic / I’m working the crowd and I’m making ’em laugh out loud” Reid sings. “I’m the only dyke at the open mic / Well, whatta ya know / I was winning ’em over.”
Reid’s been a minor star in womyn’s-music circles ever since the release of her debut CD, Comin’ Alive. More recently, though, she’s been winning over bigger audiences with songs such as that disc’s hilarious ode to a local alt-country icon, “I’d Go Straight for Ridley Bent”, and the new record’s barbed riposte to I-kissed-a-girl tease Katy Perry, “Emergency Dyke Project”.
“I’ve been pleasantly shocked and surprised to find that lots of people in the straight community really like my music—and particularly straight men, for some funny reason,” Reid reports, on the line from her home. “I’m not really sure why that is, but it’s been really cool to see the audience expand, and to see that acceptance. People are actually really enthusiastic. They’ll come up and say, ‘Wow, this is hilarious and so great,’ and all that sort of thing.”
It’s probable that Reid’s new fans, like her earlier constituents, are simply responding to the singer’s unwillingness to be anything other than herself. Her lyrics are so honest and outspoken that her style sometimes resembles blogging, only with a guitar instead of a computer keyboard.
“Blogging with a guitar? I’ve never heard that expression, but it’s good,” she says, laughing. “Sometimes I wonder if it’s a little self-indulgent—but, you know, it seems to be working. It’s not conceptual stuff, and it’s very personal, and there are lots of words, so I think it’s more like slam poetry meets folk music.”
The singer’s exuberant style doesn’t mean that she skims over serious topics, however. One of the reasons that she’s a performer is to give vent to feelings that she’s long kept bottled up. As Reid explains, she’s the product of a profoundly dysfunctional family environment, and that experience is the subtext behind many of her most moving songs.
“I won’t go into the gory details, but there was sexual abuse in my family, and some alcoholism, and then mental illness to go along with all that stuff,” she reveals. “And, yeah, the incest was sort of the big piece. But there was just a lot of silence around that, so I didn’t get it until I was well into my early 30s—why I was feeling like crap all the time, and why I was so paranoid and so unsteady and so worried about people. I was fearful, right? So that’s one of the basic things that I talk about.”
Today, Reid seems anything but depressed, and she credits two things for that confidence: coming out as a lesbian, and getting on-stage as a performer.
“That’s why I called my first album Comin’ Alive,” she says. “That was what it felt like for me when I discovered that I could write and perform and sing and make people laugh. I mean, when I have a good crowd and there’s fun stuff happening back and forth, there’s nothing I’d rather be doing—except maybe hiking.
“Performing is a way of reclaiming my power—and reclaiming my voice,” she continues. “I’m saying things that I wasn’t allowed to say as a child. So for me it’s very much about finding my voice and defining who I am, as separate from my parents and from all that shit that happened. So, for sure, it’s been a really powerful tool for healing for me.”
The joyous emotions Reid expresses in new songs like “Reach to You” and “Dirty Girl” suggest that the healing process is well under way. “I feel like I’ve simmered down a little bit,” she confides. But will love songs ever replace the sociopolitical themes in her repertoire? It’s unlikely. Reid expresses cautious optimism that the world is becoming a better place, but as long as hate, abuse, and homophobia exist, she’ll have lots to write about. As she says, she’s just warming up.
Only Dyke at the Open Mic? Kate Bridges Gap.
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Only Dyke at Open Mic? Kate Bridges Gap Few artists burst on the scene with the impact that accom...Only Dyke at Open Mic? Kate Bridges Gap
Few artists burst on the scene with the impact that accompanied Kate Reid's arrival. Going from unknown act to the artist bringing the room to its knees nightly, the local singer/songwriter's first CD, Comin' Alive, boasted such genius moments as "I'd Go Straight for Ridley Bent" and the equally hilariously honest "Starving Artist."
Her sophomore effort, I'm Just Warming Up, dropped last month.
Produced by Adam Popowitz of Pacifika, the new album is a big jump in songwriting, variety and powerful messages. It's been a flurry of gigs since, hitting Pride events in Edmonton, Winnipeg and Victoria before this weekend's Vancouver Folk Music Festival appearances. While she loves being active in her lesbian community, that's not where her goals begin and end.
"Who would've thought it would go over as well with the mainstream or straight crowd as it did," says Reid. "Having a variety of people coming to my shows and being able to branch out and bridge the gap is awesome."
With songs as varied as the ridiculously funny story "The Only Dyke at the Open Mic" to the moving road ballad "Truckdriver," many will warm up to this CD.
Lesbian Singer Targets Perry's I Kissed a Girl
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Vancouver-based folksinger Kate Reid has kissed a girl or two in her day. She's kissed a few, actual...Vancouver-based folksinger Kate Reid has kissed a girl or two in her day. She's kissed a few, actually. She makes no bones about it in her new song, Emergency Dyke Project.
Oh yeah, and she liked it too.
Now where we have heard that story before?
Of course, it's a riff on the electro-bouncy "lezploitation" ditty I Kissed A Girl by pop-star sexpot Katy Perry, which was one of the biggest hits on the radio last summer, even earning the rock Betty Boop a Grammy nomination.
But not everyone liked the song. Reid didn't, nor did her friends in Vancouver's lesbian community. Actually, the song offended her enough that she decided to take a flippant, though unmistakably sharp dig at it in Emergency Dyke Project, off her second independent release I'm Just Warming Up.
In the song, Reid accuses Perry of treating lesbianism as a "trendy joyride," something that the singer-songwriter finds off-putting.
"It bugs me because she's using the lesbian experience to promote herself and she's not [a lesbian]," says Reid, 38, who will be performing at the WISE Hall tonight. "It's a pose and she's making money off of it."
Emergency Dyke Project, and a good deal of Reid's music, is about the perceived hurdles lesbians still face in today's society -- even though lesbianism now has a sort of pop culture chic about it, as evidenced by the runaway success of a tune like Perry's.
That trend is part of the underlying problem, as Reid sees it. "It is trendy, for sure . . . but it's not [depicted realistically]," Reid says. "I Kissed A Girl doesn't portray real lesbian women [or their] lives. . . . Katy Perry certainly doesn't represent me. I'm not in her songs. No one that I hang out with is."
Perry, for her part, has borne the brunt of this very sort of criticism since her song topped the charts last year.
Defending herself, Perry told one interviewer: "I'm not a lesbian, but I can appreciate the beauty of women. That's what the song is about: Me opening up a magazine and seeing Scarlett Johansson and saying 'if she wanted to kiss me, I wouldn't say no.' . . . It's fantasy. It's a song about curiosity."
In taking such offence to the tune, some might say Reid's being humourless about the subject. And, speaking of the perception of lesbians in society, there is the stereotype that they tend to be a humourless, up-in-arms bunch.
That's a stereotype Reid tries to combat with her material, actually, much of which takes a playful, funny approach to lesbian life. Songs like Ex-Junkie Boyfriend, The Only Dyke At the Open Mic, and Co-op Girlz are examples of this approach. As is the proclamation on Reid's MySpace page that announces: "Wisecrackin' homofolkie releases latest CD!"
"I never really thought about it when I started writing funny songs," Reid says. "I just wanted to write about my life. . . . It wasn't a conscious thing on my part to fly in the face of the stereotype. But now I realize it is a tool I use to make the idea of lesbianism and being gay more palatable for people."
However, Reid stresses that she's not just a singer of humorous songs and that's true. One of her songs in particular makes that clear and that's the dark, seething No More Missing Daughters, inspired by Robert Pickton, the serial killing pig farmer from Port Coquitlam who was convicted on six counts of second-degree murder in 2007.
He still faces an additional 20 counts of first-degree murder.
It's a song that Reid says she needed to write, but notes that she only performs it for certain crowds at this point.
For now it's her more lighthearted songs that are bringing Reid attention from the mainstream, and that's something she's hoped for -- even if she didn't think it was possible when she first began pursuing a musical career four years ago.
"Initially I was like 'OK, this is going to be pretty big on the gay scene.' . . . But I'm finding out that the straight community is really liking my music, which is great. . . I've been shocked. I've come away from gigs going 'Oh my God, that was so fun and it was mostly straight people. They loved it.' Who knew? I didn't think that was going to happen.
"But I guess that's my own phobias speaking, because I expect the worst sometimes."
In fact, Reid's had such positive feedback from the straight community that she's set new, ambitious goals for herself.
"I've written this down at home. I want to have the things I sing about become more mainstream. I want the gay and lesbian community to be more accepted and I want my music to be a bridge between the communities.
"In my dreams, yeah, I'd love to be in the mainstream. Absolutely."
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Homofolkie Triumphant! “Too lesbian”? “Too feminist”? Singer/songwriter Kate Reid doesn’t know the ...Homofolkie Triumphant!
“Too lesbian”? “Too feminist”? Singer/songwriter Kate Reid doesn’t know the meaning of those phrases
Published June 11, 2009 by Kathleen Bell in Music Preview
She’s Not A Spokesman | But singer/songwriter Kate Reid does want her music to speak strongly to women and men alike.
“If somebody doesn’t like my music because I’m too lesbian or too feminist, well I don’t really give a shit,” declares singer/songwriter and self-described homofolkie Kate Reid — but in the friendliest possible way. “There’s always going to be somebody that doesn’t like it, right? It just may not be their cup of tea. I guess I shouldn’t say I don’t give a shit, I think it would bug me, but I’d have to realize that that’s not necessarily about me either.”
And anyway, anyone who can’t appreciate Reid’s special blend of fema-power ballads and her quirky look into queer life is missing out on many a hearty laugh. Her sophomore release, I’m Just Warming Up, is a sassy stroll through Reid’s life — from her small-town upbringing to her stint with a “boring junkie boyfriend” to her struggle to erode anti-gay discrimination through song. While she isn’t shy about addressing the topic of sexual orientation — in fact, she brazenly confronts anyone who dares suggest she tone down the lesbian references in her lyrics — her songs aren’t alienating but funny, often vulnerable, and always honest. “I don’t want to say I’m a spokesperson for the gay and lesbian community,” Reid says, “but I want there to be music out there that speaks to, and is about, lesbians and women.”
Nevertheless, when a reviewer from a folk magazine commented that her songs focused far too much on being a lesbian, she took the criticism under consideration. “When I first heard that,” she says, “I thought, ‘Decent feedback,’ right?’ And then I thought, ‘Wait a second — that’s extremely homophobic.’ And the reason I thought that was, I don’t think anyone has ever said that to an artist that sings about straight relationships.”
Out came “Uncharted Territory.” The track is a blatant assertion of her modus operandi, on which she proclaims “I’m political just by loving who I love. By being who I am. It’s an act of rebellion” while happily strumming an acoustic guitar, backed by some cheery banjo-pickin’ and harmonica-whistlin’. “I get so much great feedback from people — straight, lesbian or gay, whatever — about how different, unique, and great it is for them to hear those words, so I know that it’s right. I am doing what I need to be doing. But it really was born out of anger. It was like, ‘Fuck you! I’m going to do it anyways because somebody’s gotta do it.’”
Strong words set against a sprightly arrangement of folk music may seem slightly counterintuitive, but it’s nothing compared to the juxtaposition she plays with on “No More Missing Daughters,” an acoustic track written for Vancouver’s missing women. Reid calls for the accused’s head on a stick, more or less, wishing she could gather a “pack of angry bitches” to hunt the guilty party down.
“I thought it would be even more powerful if I sang soft and sweet,” she explains, “but if I was coming back with this kickass image and message. I also try to make fun of it a little bit, too. It’s sort of like, ‘Duh, why wouldn’t we be bitches?’ I mean, look at the world, look how women are treated and then we get called those names.” Under her command, ‘bitches’ seems like a word repossessed, full of fire instead of a way to douse a spark.
And while people may try to extinguish Reid’s rhetoric by giving her “advice” on how to make it in the “biz,” she’s happy figuring things out for herself. “It’s getting clearer to me every day about who I am, what I’m doing, and what my purpose is,” Reid says. “I mean, so far I’ve mostly heard really, really great stuff. So essentially it’s easy to accept and be happy about and be excited about, right?”
Reid Between The Lines? No need to as singer-songwriter's lyrics razor-sharp.
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The best thing about good singer/songwriters is their honesty and sense of humour. Thirty seconds in...The best thing about good singer/songwriters is their honesty and sense of humour. Thirty seconds into our interview, Kate Reid jokes about being an airhead. OK, technically, that's "Ayr"-head.
"I grew up on a farm in a small town in Southern Ontario called Ayr," says Reid. "I went to University at Guelph to do a degree in psychology and moved to Vancouver in '94 via the New Orleans jazz festival up through Utah.
"I always wanted to to live here because of the mountains."
A few years on the coast was enough to realize that said mountains were larger inland, so she loaded up the truck and she moved to Nelson. The shangri-la in the Kootenays provided the right environment for her to get the bug again. The music bug, that is.
"I taught myself to play guitar when I was 17 so I could play along with my dad when he got back from a business trip and learned the Eagles' "Lyin' Eyes." I played with him in my 20s. Around '96, I started playing my own songs at parties."
People were super supportive and encouraging of the original material, egging her on to hit the stage. So she did, debuting at the "Five Feminist Minutes" cabaret organized by the Nelson's Women Centre. Initially, the stage fright was "terrifying." In short order, she transformed into a freakin' whirlwind. She honed her craft everywhere there was, performing songs from her first CD, Comin' Alive. Her passion and fire-red dyed faux-hawk aren't easily forgotten. She banks on getting an audience's attention early.
"I don't want to be the background because I can't be. I suck at guitar, so I can't depend on that to grab anyone. I'm a lyricist most of all."
That's too critical of her strumming. Her bio is more accurate: "One Woman. One Guitar. Lots of Attitude. A straight shooter but definitely not straight, Kate Reid has busted out of the closet with a knack for candid storytelling and songs that are riddled with humour and social commentary." No kidding.
Since arriving back in town two years ago, she's been tearing up the local scene with showstoppers such as the hilarious ode to an evening when she was wowed by a fellow singer titled "I'd Go Straight For Ridley Bent."
"I'm an experiential songwriter. My lyrics come from my life. The more I do, the more songs can come of it."
Comin' Alive documents a decade of artistic awakening revealed through day to day life. From "Small Town" -- "hey this is where I live, it's one of those places you don't want to blink or else you'll miss it" -- to the budding romance in "Times Like These" -- "we started seeing each other a week after I moved into town and we put our best boots forward like dykes often do" -- her lyrical edge is sharp as a samurai, slicing away any of the mush that makes much roots/folk writing smell like cow patties.
The word is getting out about it, too. Thanks to katereid.net and fans.
"I just got back from playing the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival and it was incredible. There's so much going on down there. That's totally where my heart is, and where I write from, but I also think my writing is broader than that and crosses over."
She dreams of taking her talent across Canada to expose her art to more folks. Doubtless, she'll have her little notebook in hand jotting down new tales to put to music.
By Stuart Derdeyn, Vancouver Province-August, 2007
One Witty Chick....
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Vancouver-based singer-songwriter Kate Reid is one witty chick. She nails the lesbian experience wit...Vancouver-based singer-songwriter Kate Reid is one witty chick. She nails the lesbian experience with songs like “Everyone’s Fucked But Me,” with its references to uptight straight women trying fit in at women’s events, two-year relationships and going to therapy to support local women in business. Whether she’s singing about having crushes on “Co-op Girlz,” or living in a town midway to nowhere on “Small Town,” Reid is uncompromisingly queer. No ambiguous pronouns, no potential breakout singles, just a collection of 12 highly personal songs that offer her take on the universal human condition.
Reid’s guitar style—basic pop-folk— provides a nice accompaniment for her truly impressive voice. Produced by former Mollies’ Revenge frontwoman Yvette Narlock, “Comin’ Alive” sounds great. The vocals are exactly where they need to be—forefront and centre.
In the song “Starving Artist,” she asks: “How will I get on the radio when I cuss and swear and sing about women?” Tongue-in-cheek, she knows that the price for play outside the confines of co-op radio, or maybe CBC on a good day, would be integrity. Reid doesn’t sound like she’s up for the compromise.
Doing it for the Chicks
The Only Dyke at the Open Mic
Steal Me Away
Captain Cupcake and the Cambie Hotel
Ain't No Drama Queen
I'd Go Straight for Ridley Bent
When I Was a Little Boy
Reach to You
My Baby's in the Beer Tent Again
Emergency Dyke Project