Karen Potje

Karen Potje

 Montréal, Quebec, CAN
SoloAmericanaChildren's Music

Karen Potje tells passionate stories about real people, in a style that pulls together elements of country, roots, blues and jazz. Heart on her sleeve or tongue in cheek, brooding, poignant, or playful, Potje's lyrics are intelligent, with razor sharp hooks anchored by gorgeous melodies.

Biography

Ontario-born Karen Potje’s childhood disdain for country music was turned upside down when, at 32, she moved to Texas. With hurtin’ songs, Western swing and Honky Tonk filling the airwaves, she couldn’t help loving the stuff and writing some of her own. A move to Montreal a few years later took her music in a new direction, blending blues and jazz with a country vibe that remains strong (nourished by yearly visits to family in Sevierville, Tennessee – Dolly Parton’s home town).

Potje’s new release, Somebody I Used to Be, is an album of big songs and intimate moments, stories that have been writing themselves for a long, long time. Some songs came in a blaze of inspiration and passionate scribbles. Others came slowly, with weeks, months or even years between revisions, giving her the distance she needed to get everything absolutely right and absolutely real.  The result is a roller-coaster ride of emotions, a rich cast of characters and some surprising twists of plot.  

Somebody I Used to Be is country at its core.  Case in point - ''I Wrote It Down'' - a whip smart country boogey. But Potje mixes it up, with the soulful blues of ‘‘Ordinary Sad’’, a bit of reggae-latin fusion in ''I Never Told You'', and the driving force of her rock-flamenco mashup, ‘‘Somebody’s Hero’’. Intelligent lyrics with razor sharp hooks are anchored by gorgeous melodies and warm vocals, all backed by a core of seasoned Montreal musicians, with Floyd Cramer style piano, wild and woolly fiddle and banjo, and lush and sometimes loopy vocal harmonies are layered on in just the right places. 

This is Potje’s second cd.  She won awards* and accolades for her first, Can’t Help But Love You, Baby, a quirky collection of jazz and country for kids (*John Lennon Songwriting Contest 2008, Parent’s Choice Awards 2009).  Now she applies her polished song-writing chops to grown up themes – hope and foolishness, truth and lies, and all those grey areas in between.

Similar to: 
Rose Cousins; Aimee Mann; Kathleen Edwards; Kacey Musgraves

 

 

Lyrics

Bunnies on my PJs

Written By: Karen Potje

There are bunnies on my p.j.s and it makes me wonder why
Did some grown-up somewhere think I'd be a bunny-loving guy?
Well, I may just be a baby but I don't like baby stuff
I'm a baby but I like my p.j.s tough

Well I didn't pick these p.j.s, I would never go for cute
Any baby'd be embarrassed by this stupid bunny suit
And who thought I needed footsies? Aren't dumb bunnies bad enough?
I'm a baby but I like my p.j.s tough

I like dinosaurs and lizards and big fat warty toads
I like power tools, construction boots and bumpy gravel roads
If you asked me my opinion I would say, "Lay off the fluff"
I'm a baby but I like my p.j.s tough

There are lambies on my booties and it makes me wonder why
Did some grown-up somewhere think I'd be a lambie-loving guy?
Well, I may just be a baby but I'm not in nursery school
I'm a baby but I like my booties cool

I like roller-blades and ninja, I like MTV and rap
I like sweat pants and old running shoes and backwards baseball caps
To the grown-ups who buy booties let me tell you, I'm no fool
I'm a baby but I like my booties cool

BRIDGE: There are lambies on my booties and it really isn't fair
Shouldn't grown-ups see that lambie feet
Are not the kind of boots I wanna wear?

There are duckies on my diapers and it makes me wonder why
Did some grown-up somewhere think I'd be a duckie-loving guy?
Well I may just be a baby but I'm never infantile
I'm a baby but I like my diapers wild

I like tigers and safaris in the jungle, not the zoo
I like motocross and 4-wheel drive and Terminator Two
Though I may just be a baby I'm not some wide-eyed child
I'm a baby but I like my diapers wild

Yeah, I may just be a baby but I don't like baby stuff
I'm a baby but I like my p.j.s tough

Lullaby for You

Written By: Karen Potje

I tried to rock-a-bye you, Baby
In your cradle, but you cried.
Then I sang "Hush now, little Darlin"
But your eyes stayed open wide.
I know a dozen sleepy songs
But not a single one will do
And so I'm looking for a lullaby for you.

"Lullaby and goodnight"
Almost convinced you -- but not quite
That we'd all feel so much better
If you'd just sleep through the night
Since the old songs still aren't working
Guess it's time for something new
And so I'm looking for a lullaby for you.

May my arms be the cradle
That rocks you to sleep
And my heartbeat
Your lullaby song.
May my love be the blanket
That covers and keeps you
Protected and warm all night long.

It should take just a little stardust now,
As sleepy as you seem
To comfort you and close your eyes
And wrap you in a dream
I have been wishing on a star
That you would sleep the whole night through
And so I’m looking for a lullaby for you.

INSTRUMENTAL

I have been wishing on a star
That you would sleep the whole night through
And so I’m looking for a lullaby for you.

Yes I've been wishing on a star
That you would sleep the whole night through
And so I’m looking for a lullaby for you.

Can’t Help But Love You, Baby

Written By: Karen Potje

I just can’t help but love you, baby
That’s how I’m naturally inclined
You’ve made a tangle of my heartstrings, you know
So tight they never will unwind
You’ve got me wrapped around your finger
And every day I’m more entwined
We must have lucked out up in heaven above
When moms and babies were assigned

I just can’t help but love you, baby
I know they say that love is blind
Your toothless smile can melt my heart with one look
What an extraordinary find
Seems like you’ve got that special something
As babies go, you’re so divine
We must have lucked out up in heaven above
When moms and babies were assigned

Daddy and I know together we will love you forever
As we’ve known since you were nothing but a notion
And we keep thanking our stars that you are just who you are
A little angel who inspires such deep emotion

I just can’t help but love, baby
And I’m so grateful that you’re mine
You’ve got a sweetness that I just can’t resist
‘Cause that’s the way you were designed
Those little baby hugs and kisses
Those baby eyes, so bright they shine
We must have lucked out up in heaven above
When moms and babies were assigned


Daddy and I know together
We were meant to feel this way
When they matched us up in heaven
What a blessing to be having
Such a lucky lucky day

I just can’t help but love you, baby
That’s how I’m naturally inclined
We must have lucked out up in heaven above
When moms and babies were assigned
We must have lucked out up in heaven above
When moms and babies were assigned.

Garbage Day

Written By: Karen Potje and Jules Ownby

It’s garbage day! It’s garbage day!
What’s so great about garbage day?
Garbage trucks come out and play
That’s what’s great about garbage day

It’s garbage day. It’s garbage day
What’s so great about garbage day?
Throw your stinky stuff away
That’s what’s great about garbage day`

Fuzzy food that shouldn’t be
Macaroni and BLUE cheese
Smells so bad they make you cry
Hold your nose and say, ’’Bye bye!’’

It’s garbage day! It’s garbage day!
What’s so great about garbage day?
Garbage pickers celebrate
That’s what’s great about garbage day

It’s garbage day! It’s garbage day!
What’s so great about garbage day?
Throw those sacs of trash away
That’s what’s great about garbage day

Peelings and banana skins
Smooshed in bags and garbage bins
Smells so bad they make you cry
Hold your nose and say, ’’Bye bye!’’

It’s garbage day! It’s garbage day!
What’s so great about garbage day?
Throw your germy junk away
That’s what’s great about garbage day

Nothing special six long days a week
School or chores, piano lessons, homework, what a treat
All that time and you can hardly wait
Hold your nose ‘cause here comes garbage day

It’s garbage day! It’s garbage day!
What’s so great about garbage day?
Garbage men can earn their pay
That’s what’s great about garbage day

It’s garbage day! It’s garbage day!
What’s so great about garbage day?
Garbage trucks come out and play
Throw your stinky stuff away.
Everybody shout ‘Hurray!’
That’s what’s great about garbage day

A Song About Ferrets

Written By: Karen Potje

I’m writing a song about ferrets
They’re some kind of rodent, I guess (No, they’re mustalids!)
Ferrets rhyme nicely with parrots
But parrots and ferrets and really quite different pets

Parrots are feathered and flighty
And squawky and even quite talky
Once they have been taught
Ferrets are furry & cuddly & nibbly & nuzzly
But quiet, they don’t talk a lot

I’m writing a song about ferrets
I could say I’m not – but I am
I could be poetic and feed them fresh carrots
But that would be cheating ’cause they prefer jam

Strawberry jam doesn’t have all the vitamins carrots are noted for but
When you are writing a song about ferrets
You don’t make things up

I’m writing a song about carrots
They’re orange and crunchy and long
They aren’t related to weasels, the cousins of ferrets
The subject of this silly song

Weasels are wiggly like ferrets
Not orange like carrots
And carrots aren’t feathered or furred

Ferrets are wriggly and lovable
Carrots are vegetables
Parrots are birds

I’m writing a song about ferrets
They shouldn’t be paired up with parrots
They don’t go in salads like carrots
I’d better stop there it’s the end
‘Cause I’ve run out of words

Better Keep Your Shoes On

Written By: Karen Potje

Better keep your shoes on
They will keep your tootsies neat
That way you'll be sure your toes
Stay fastened to your feet
If one day you notice
You are missing one or two
Just chase them down and line them up
Inside a sock and shoe.

Better keep your shoes on
Just because you never know
Your toesies might decide
They don't like standing in a row
If your toes get tangled
I will tell you what to do
Comb them out and quickly stuff them
In a sock and shoe.

BRIDGE 1
Use your shoes for walking on the carpet or the street
Shoes are very handy things, especially on your feet
Tuck your toes in slippers when they're feeling kinda shy
Buckle up your winter boots and you'll stay warm and dry

INSTRUMENTAL DOUBLE VERSE

BRIDGE 2
Mommies, majors, millipedes, most everyone you meet
Monks and mailmen wear them and they all have happy feet
On the lawn, the boulevard, the sidewalk or the floor
Baby those ten tender toes, make sure they're never sore

Better keep your shoes on
Just to keep your toes in line
You can count on fingers
(Or at least I can on mine)
But toes are unpredictable
As everybody knows
So you'd better keep your shoes on
They will keep you on your toes.

Discography

Can’t Help But Love You, Baby (14 songs for kids and grown-ups)
Released May 2008
Co-produced by Karen Potje and ombu productions http://www.ombu.ca/en/catalogue/
Distributed by CanadaCD.ca
http://www.canadacd.ca/en/search/?page=1&searchID=131132&resultsPerPage=25
and http://www.ombu.ca/en/catalogue/

Awards:

The Parent's Choice foundation has named ''Can't Help But Love You Baby'' one of their recommended music CDs for 2009. http://www.parents-choice.org/product.cfm?product_id=26003&StepNum=1&award=aw
Here’s what they say:
''Karen Potje's appealing new release sparkles with sophisticated vocal stylings and a dash of quirky humor......reminiscent at times of Jessica Harper's melodic and lyrical prowess. ''
Lynne Heffley ©2009 Parents' Choice

"Garbage Day", one of the sillier songs on Can’t Help But Love You, Baby
was a finalist in the 2008 John Lennon Songwriting Contest, Children's Category, session 1. http://www.jlsc.com/winners/2008a/finalists.php

Karen Potje was a finalist in The Children’s Music Web Awards 2008: Best New Artist for Preschoolers, for her submission, Can’t Help But Love You, Baby.
http://www.childrensmusic.org/cmwa08finalists.html

Reviews include:
Kids music that rocks http://kidsmusicthatrocks.blogspot.com/2008/07/friday-free-for-all-15.html
5 minutes for mom www.5minutesformom.com/?s=potje

Radio Play:
Homerun CBC Radio 1, 88.5 FM, Montreal, Quebec
Couleurs Jazz, Radio CKLX, 91.9 FM, Montreal, Quebec
The X, Campus and Community Radio, Radio CFBX, 92.5 FM, Kamloops, British Columbia

Set List

For children's gigs I perform the 14 songs from," Can't Help But Love You, Baby" as well as some new tunes. Also booking alt counry/blues/jazz gigs for grown-up audiences -- all originals, all the time!