Kat Danser (*see GIGS on Website for ALL SHOWS)
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Kat Danser (*see GIGS on Website for ALL SHOWS)

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada | INDIE | AFM

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada | INDIE | AFM
Band Blues Singer/Songwriter


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"TBS Women's Blues Revue (2012)"


“For this scribbler, the highlight of the night was the discovery of Edmonton’s self-styled Swamp Blues Queen Kat Danser, a barrel-sized woman with a commanding presence, powerful and expressive voice and a deft touch on guitar and other stringed instruments. In a word, her performance glistened.”

David Farrell – FYI Music
Massey Hall’s 25th Anniversary of the Women’s Blues Revue - FYI Music Toronto

"Edmonton Journal (2013)"

EDMONTON - Where is the dividing line between the blues and gospel music?

Edmonton’s self-styled “queen of swamp blues” Kat Danser has been pondering that question for years. Her latest record, Baptized By The Mud, delivers some wonderful, moving insights as she finds her own middle path between the genres. Despite its universal themes, it may also be her most personal album yet.

“I’m certainly not the first blues musician to do so, but I wanted to look at the struggle inside me, the struggle between sinner and saint,” she says. “In taking that focus, I’ve also come to see the way things were divided between gospel and blues as a very artificial industry-driven thing. I wanted to show that they’re really one and the same.”

Danser points out that one of her biggest inspirations, early blues singer Ma Rainey, gave piano man Thomas Dorsey his start. Dorsey went on to write many of the most famous songs in gospel, using the same structures he learned from Rainey with different lyrics.

The album’s title tune is “a very personal song” that touches on how she came into the world, from her Catholic baptism to growing up amid abuse and violence in a dysfunctional family, experiences that pointed her to a later career in social work. These days, she doesn’t have a lot of time for “the dogma of organized religion” but follows a deep spirituality in her everyday life. Mortality and thoughtful looks at love and lust also figure in the earthy but smartly woven threads that tie the set together.

Produced by Steve Dawson at his Vancouver studio, Baptized By The Mud is sonically gorgeous, with a glowing mix of string instruments from Danser and Dawson, vintage keyboards from Darryl Havers and solid, relaxed grooves from bassist Jeremy Holmes and drummer Geoffrey Hichs (the same crew is flying in for her Arden Theatre show on Nov. 1).

Two covers pay tribute, Fred McDowell’s You Gotta Move and Rainey’s Prove It On Me Blues, but it’s great to hear Danser maturing into a fine, original writer-performer. “I think I’ve hit my stride and I know who I am.”

In the decade since she put out her debut album, the singer and string slinger has evolved from a gifted blues apprentice into a seasoned artist, paying respect to the past and doing her part to take the music forward.

Earlier this year, she finished her master’s degree in ethnomusicology at the University of Alberta and her musical education outside academia continues in earnest. She’s still taking regular trips to Mississippi and other southern U.S. locations to connect with blues music culture. A jaunt to Wyoming found her studying with ex-Nashville, Grammy-winning guitar-ace Mike Dowling. In 2011 she made it over to Ghana, West Africa for three months to study the roots of African-American music at the source. She’s had some great tour dates too, like the 25th anniversary concert of Canadian Women In The Blues at Toronto’s Massey Hall.

Danser is especially grateful to the grassroots fans who came together — along with an Alberta Foundation for the Arts grant — to help her make the new album.

CBC Radio is recording her CD-release show in Calgary this week for later broadcast. - Roger Levesque

"Passin'-A-Time Review"

"Delta blues rising out of Saskatchewan's wheat fields"
If you've ever been to Saskatchewan, Canada, you'd be hard pressed to find much Delta influence in its landscape, let alone any real presence of injustice or feelings of oppression amongst its people. Come to think of it, this proud prairie province with its wide open spaces seems more likely to promote elation over anything resembling the blues. Yet Kat Danser proves the colourful exception to the rule with the release of her third album, PASSIN'-A-TIME. This is authentic blues-featuring great songs, impassioned vocals and inventive rhythms-an invigorating collection of 10 strong originals, complete with tasteful packaging.
Danser's key instrument is a Weissenborn Hawaiian lap slide which, when combined with her deeply soulful singing voice across highly personal lyrical content, conjures the deep blues of more southern climates-if not the very Crossroads where the blues began-with a purity seldom heard on this side of the 49th Parallel.

The song, Little Allis, percolates along with its banjo-driven rhythm as wiry slide guitar (John Ellis) wraps its way throughout the song, lifted high by backup singers and inventive percussive accents. Mista Preacherman features strong harp, hand percussion and some stunning slide work from both National Resophonic slide guitar and Elliss Fender Strat. Danser's deep, earthy, gospel-charged vocals complement her significant 6-string prowess and the fact that this music was born in 2010 is beyond impressive.

From her gift of approximating the sounds of old-time stringbands as she does with her band on No One Can Stop The Clock From Tickin' to divining the lazy blues of the calibre she accomplishes on the title track, Danser proves a talent that doesn't come along often. Clearly the Delta draws from the north as well as the south - one person's wheat is another's cotton.

Eric Thom - Maverick UK

"Lunenburg Folk Harbour Does It Again"


"Kat Danser, Queen of the Swamp Blues, writes feisty, bawdy lyrics and howl-outs full of challenging sexiness, but her vocal and instrumental style includes unusual sensitivity to the warps and tone-bendings of the blues vocabulary, following them out to the end of a breath with an almost unvoiced upward resolution. Simply amazing and standing ovations well deserved! "

- Halifax Chronicle Herald

"Winnipeg Free Press CD Review"

"Saskatchewan born, Edmonton based singer songwriter Kat Danser began her passionate affair with the blues after hearing Bessie Smith. This passion continues on her second disc, Somethin' Familiar, where she showcases her powerfully husky yet velvety smooth vocal as she belts out "swamp blues", a hybrid of blues, roots & gospel. With a wealth of fine musicians they create one of the finest acoustic roots blues albums to come out of western Canada in some time." - Winnipeg Free Press

"Edmonton Sun"

"Somethin’ Familiar is beautifully written and performed…her lyrics tell a story while also generating evocative and poetic scenery…and the production is stunning." Kat is "brilliant in the same way that Marcia Ball is brilliant...this disc is really, really damn good! (4 of 5 stars)" - Jeremy Loome - Edmonton SUN

"Pipes or What?"

"Kat Danser has developed a unique expression of music that finds blues, roots and gospel at its core. She generates a powerful sound based on early acoustic roots and blues musicians yet with all the sensibilities of contemporary stylings. She is definitely Canada's Queen of the Swamp Blues." - The Georgia Straight (Vancouver)

"CBC Feature Review"

“Kat Danser has something very special in her recent album, Somethin’ Familiar. She presents a richly textured approach to blues music with outstanding songwriting as a jumping off point. Kat’s talent is evident not only in her songwriting ability but also in her vocal prowess and gift of striking the right groove everytime. With the support of a very talented group of musicians, Somethin’ Familiar is an album that will be remembered for a long time!”
Le Artiste Feature – Radio Canada (CBC) – Montreal - CBC Radio One

"Canada Produces Another Stellar Female Musician!"

“Acoustic blues is so beautiful in Kat’s hands. Somethin’ Familiar sounds really fresh and the arrangements on the album are deep, memorable and very interesting. They create a certain mood and atmosphere. Her singing is emotional and sexy and together with first class backing musicians, audiophile sound and mixing quality it makes “Somethin’ Familiar” a stand-out CD, for all lovers of blues and gospel music!” - National Blues Society of Poland

"Kat Danser - WOW!"

“Intricate melodies in minor keys. Superb and delicate musicianship. Original and lovely heartfelt lyrics. Put them all together and you get this album (Somethin’ Familiar), with eleven beautifully crafted songs. Filled with melancholy and longing, they are a tribute to Kat’s songwriting skills.”
- Manitoba Blues Society

"Kat Danser - WOW!"

“Intricate melodies in minor keys. Superb and delicate musicianship. Original and lovely heartfelt lyrics. Put them all together and you get this album (Somethin’ Familiar), with eleven beautifully crafted songs. Filled with melancholy and longing, they are a tribute to Kat’s songwriting skills.”
- Manitoba Blues Society


Baptized by the Mud
(2013) Outside Music

(2010) Outside Music

Somethin' Familiar
(2007) Outside Music

(2002) CD Baby



Queen Of The Swamp Blues

Kat Danser’s music navigates a paddle steamer from the muddy banks of the Mississippi Delta downriver toward a big ol’ full moon over New Orleans. Dubbed ‘Queen of the Swamp Blues’, this Edmonton-based guitarist, songwriter, and vocalist channels the spirit of pioneers of roots, blues and spiritual music.

Her fourth album, Baptized By The Mud, is a collaboration between Danser and Juno-award winning producer Steve Dawson. The recording aurally addresses the dichotomy of ‘church-blues’: blues music as devilish and church music as angelic. This sub-genre demonstrates that human truth and the divine are one in the same – “one is preached from behind the pulpit and the other from behind the plow”.

This CD (distributed by Outside Music) is the summation of years of study, mentorship, and songwriting with legendary blues icons in Mississippi- birthplace of the blues- and her graduate studies at the U of A, where Danser focused her Masters thesis on the representation of blues music over the past century.

A national touring and award-winning artist, Danser has performed at the 25th Anniversary of Canadian Women in Blues at Massey Hall in Toronto, the Calgary International Blues Festival, Winnipeg Folk Festival, Edmonton Folk Music Festival, Calgary Folk Festival, Folk on the Rocks Festival in Yellowknife, Saskatoon Blues Festival, Island MusicFest, The Winspear Centre’s ‘Mayor’s Celebration of the Arts’, Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival, Mountainview Music Festival, and the Vancouver Island Music Festival.

Media reviews and interviews have occurred on CBC Radio, Global TV, Halifax Chronicle, FYI Music, Vancouver Georgia Straight, Edmonton Journal, CKUA Radio, Winnipeg Free Press, CTV, Edmonton Sun, Toronto Blues Society, Blues Matters!, Penguin Eggs; with highlights being featured by CTV’s Alberta Primetime, co-hosting an edition of Natch’l Blues on CKUA with Holger Petersen, and completing a short documentary film entitled Rails & Rivers: Searching for the Heart of the Blues.

Her accolades of late have been many. Danser garnered her first national Maple Blues ‘Best New Artist’ nomination, her second Western Canadian Music Award ‘Blues Recording of the Year’ nomination, and the completion of a Masters in Music from the University of Alberta.

Danser is currently working on her PhD in Music focusing on music and meaning. She instructs undergraduate students of Popular Music at the University of Alberta, facilitates music and healing at the U-School Program, and instructs an all-ages summer music instructional camp. She has a passionate commitment to end homelessness in Edmonton and has performed live- to engage with and fundraise for- inner city mental health programs. Danser’s primary goal is to engage anyone who wants to learn in a process of self-discovery so that they may connect to the universe of sound.

Band Members