Kate Moran Band
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Kate Moran Band

Alexandria, Virginia, United States | SELF

Alexandria, Virginia, United States | SELF
Band Pop Rock


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Kate Moran Band @ St Elmo's Coffee Pub Inc

Alexandria, Virginia, USA

Alexandria, Virginia, USA

Kate Moran Band @ St Elmo's Coffee Pub Inc

Alexandria, Virginia, USA

Alexandria, Virginia, USA

Kate Moran Band @ First Thursday, Del Ray

Alexandria, Virginia, USA

Alexandria, Virginia, USA



If ever a sitcom were set in Del Ray, Kate Moran would write the theme song.

Like the Rembrandts assuring viewers that the "Friends" will always be there for each other, or the kids on "Glee" belting "Don't Stop Believing," Moran sings the sort of honest, uptempo tunes that people hear in neighborhood bars or around town at outdoor events. From Fireflies to the Halloween parade, Moran is a Del Ray fixture.

Now she's released her first CD, a promising five-track EP called "On the Avenue," produced by local music VIP Paul Ottinger. He's better known as one-third of the Virginia Coalition, and while Moran is a formidable vocalist, it's Ottinger's instrumental work that makes the album worthwhile. His Hammond B3 organ is carefully layered beneath the rough-edged guitars and propels the tunes along.

"I Don't Know Why," the opening track, is an anthem on the cusp of a breakup. There's a no-good guy between the lines, and vocally, Moran is split down the middle between the soulful earnestness of Bettye Lavette and the folksy precociousness of Dar Williams. If there's a theme to the album, it's uneasy relationships, and in that sense, "On the Avenue," seems a less-than-fitting title. It's hard to think of, say, the al fresco seating at St. Elmo's as a place of romantic strife. But wait! There's a hint that maybe the unrequited-love scene recounted in "Keeping Me Awake" happened elsewhere: there's no indie record store selling 45s in Del Ray! Vintage comic books we've got, but no vinyl.

Moran founded her band in 2006, and a year later, launched the Del Ray Music Festival. She's got standing gigs at both Fireflies and the No. 9 Lounge, upstairs at the Evening Star Cafe. Live, she adds covers of 80s tunes and contemporary pop to her repertoire. Those gigs might provide a better sense of her range. The production quality on the EP is noticeably subpar. Moran's vocal line should be more distinct, and there's some ill-advised reverb on several tracks, most notably "I Dreamed" and "Carry On." Lyrically, she often settles for well-trod top-40 lines about stolen hearts and shining stars.

But in this age of declining record sales, where only a few artists actually make money on albums while the rest toil away producing the proverbial long tail of music few will buy, it's laudable that Moran made an album at all. Log on to http://www.katemoranband.com/ and give it a listen. Better yet, hear her live. - Del Ray Patch

The Third Annual Del Ray Music Festival brought live music and fun to Commonwealth Avenue on Saturday. The festival, which lasted from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., featured a variety of local musicians performing everything from swing to Celtic Caribbean rock.

There were two separate stages, one main stage and a “15-minute stage” on which solo musicians played. In all, there were 22 performances in more than 10 different genres of music.

There were also several local restaurants stationed at the event, including Buzz Bakery, Evening Star Café, Del Merei Grille, Let’s Meat on the Avenue, Pizzaiolo and Taqueria Poblano.

While the older crowd enjoyed tasting the cuisine and watching the stage, kids stayed busy with carnival games. The moon bounce was the most popular attraction, drawing children of all ages.

“We initially came for the music, but it was such a treat to see all the games for kids -- and for free,” said Brenda Dunlap-Elkins, a resident of Del Ray.

There were more than 15 sponsors who made the event possible, including Guitars Not Guns (GnG), a local grassroots organization dedicated to helping children. Formed in 2000, GnG uses the power of music to inspire at-risk and underprivileged youth to succeed by providing them music education and mentoring opportunities. The afterschool club also partners with other local organizations, including Boys and Girls Clubs, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, county or church afterschool programs and government foster care agencies.

Paul Caffrey, a festival volunteer and owner of Del Ray Chiropractic and Massage, applauded the sponsors for their continued support within the community.

“It’s just neat that people wanted to sponsor here…they’re all about Del Ray,” he said.
The festival was co-founded by Steve Attix, owner of the Del Ray School of Music, and Kate Moran, who performed with her band at the event. It began two years ago and was originally held at the Masonic temple. In 2008, it moved to the Mount Vernon Recreation Center Fields in order to be closer to the community.

As more of the community becomes involved, the festival continues to grow and Moran soon hopes to “make the event about a cause.” - Alexandria Times

By James Cullum

The U.S. vs. Ghana World Cup match kept Alexandrians glued to their televisions and away from the start of the fourth annual Del Ray Music Festival. After the disappointing 2-1 U.S. loss, however, reggae, classic rock and bluegrass provided consolation. More than 20 bands performed on two stages from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Saturday.

"I was hoping for a U.S. victory and a quick game but it wasn’t to be,” said Fred Hoff, who plays drums, keyboard and guitar with the Elroy Jenkins Band. The band’s set ended at 5:45 p.m., just when larger numbers of people began to flock to the stages on the field at the Mount Vernon Recreation Center.

The festival was singer Kate Moran’s brainchild, and she begins planning for it each November. “I’ve been here setting up since 6:30 this morning, this is a little hot. But I love being here. Every year it seems to get a little bit bigger, a little bit better,” she said.

Saturday’s hot weather and the reggae sound of Richmond-based Antero went well together. “This is the only neighborhood I know that has its own music festival,” said Antero singer and guitarist Wyley Jones. “Give yourselves a round of applause,” he told the audience.

Festival organizer Pat Miller owns A Show of Hands on Mount Vernon Avenue. “This year, Kate [Moran] got some really good bands,” Miller said. “It’s been a great turnout.”

Local vendors included the Del Merei Grille, Pizzaiolo Café & Bar, Evening Star Café, Taqueria Poblano and Saeh’s Treats.

Christine Ponzi owns Pizzaiolo Café and Bar. “This is our second year at this event. This is more than about making profit. It’s about being part of the community,” she said. “This year we have focused on fund-raising for victims in Haiti, supporting local churches and the Alexandria Soccer Association.” - Alexandrianews.org

Indie rock musician Kate Moran knows that CDs are fast becoming a thing of the past. But that’s not stopping her from making sure she has a handful of them available for her fans. Sure, the songs will be available for purchase on iTunes later this month. But they’ll also appear on archaic removable storage devices that are quickly becoming a thing of the past.

"I guess it’s a little nostalgic," said Moran, 34. "Maybe it’s a generational thing, but it was really important for me to have the songs on a disc,"

Songs on the album, titled "On the Avenue," reflect Moran’s experience growing up in Del Ray. Moran said she experienced Mount Vernon Avenue blossom over the years from a quiet suburban outpost into a thriving regional hotspot, known to some as Old Town’s quirky sibling. She’s set to perform the songs during the next First Thursday celebration in Del Ray, scheduled for Aug. 5.

"Mount Vernon Avenue is the kind of place where you can sit at the coffeeshop and see eight people you know," she said. "I guess some people don’t like that, but I do."
- Alexandria Gazette Packet

Kate Moran grew up on The Avenue. Locals know that means Mt. Vernon Avenue, the corridor of the Del Ray neighborhood that has transformed from a somewhat dilapidated area of the city into a vibrant destination for both families and nightlife. Moran, a 1994 T.C. Williams graduate, has gone through some transformations of her own — personally and musically — and uses them as fodder for her first album “On the Avenue.”

It’s evident from talking with Moran that she’s always had music in her. Though she majored in theatre in college, her first solo musical performance was singing “Amazing Grace” at her aunt Nancy’s funeral. Nancy Dunning, who was well known in Del Ray and throughout the city, was murdered in her home in 2003. How Moran grappled with her Aunt’s death was one element of inspiration for her 5-track CD, but it doesn’t define her music.

It took Moran and her producer and co-writer Paul Ottinger (of Alexandria’s Virginia Coalition fame) to finish the album. Not that they were slacking; Moran is busy with a job at the Department of Education and with coursework for her doctoral degree.

But she had time to sit down with the Alexandria Times and discuss her past crushes, singing at a not-so-glamorous-but-satisfying gig and morning-time drunks — all of which have been merged to help create the soothing and poetic “On the Avenue.”

ALEXANDRIA TIMES: You grew up on Custis Avenue, so you have seen Del Ray transform, right?

KATE MORAN: I have. It has changed a lot. I used to ride my dirt bike every day to school at St. Rita’s and I wrecked right in front of [the now defunct] Mackey’s Pub. But there was this really nice drunk that helped me out. I love Del Ray, and loved it then. It was great, and I’ve seen it change a lot.

How has your neighborhood influenced “On the Avenue?”

I think ‘I Dreamed’ is most like Mt. Vernon Avenue, even though there’s no indie record store — that would be a good idea, though — and it’s just about all the things I’ve experienced. Since I grew up here I just felt like a lot of these songs happened here, whether it’s crushes, unrequited love — all that crap.

How did you get started singing?

At my aunt’s service I sang ‘Amazing grace’ and it was like this outer body … I don’t even know how to describe it … but it was just a really powerful experience. After that people started talking to me and said, ‘Why don’t you sing?’

At T.C. they have all the trade industries that you can get degrees in … so I sang two songs at the nursing program’s graduation: ‘Waiting for My Life to Begin’ by Colin Hay and ‘I Will Remember You’ by Sarah McLachlan. They really liked them!

I formed the band in 2006 so I’ve been playing around in this area since then at Vermillion, Evening Star. In April I got to play at Iota [in Arlington].

How did the memory of your aunt, Nancy Dunning, inform the album?

You learn so much about yourself when you go through situations in life, whether it’s with a love, whether you lose somebody, whether something works out. Every experience we have, we learn something from, and I definitely get a lot of my lyrics and my thoughts from feelings that I have, so it all comes from a true place.

With ‘Carry On,” that was the first one that we worked on. I’ve had the chorus in my head for a while after everything happened. It was such a good experience to kind of work through it and realize, ‘I am in a different place from when it happened, and I have come out on the other side.’ And it was just a great way to see and build a song that could be very dark and sad and make everyone want to jump off a bridge, but it [ascends] to a place where we ‘move on.’

Kate Moran performs at Fireflies, 1501 Mt. Vernon Ave., Saturday from 9 to 11 p.m. Find out more about her music and listen to some tracks here or download her album from iTunes. - Alexandria Times


Kate Moran: On the Avenue, released August 2010
Kate Moran Band: Fight, single released January 2012



Moran's music ranges from pop/rock and a little funk with a bit of soul to round out the sound! Her first CD, "On the Avenue," produced by Paul Ottinger (Virginia Coalition), is a collection of songs that they co-wrote. "Songs on the album, titled "On the Avenue," reflect Moran’s experience growing up in Del Ray. Moran said she experienced Mount Vernon Avenue blossom over the years from a quiet suburban outpost into a thriving regional hot spot, known to some as Old Town’s quirky sibling," according to Michael Pope, staff writer for the Alexandria Gazette Packet.

Beginning with a bang, some violin, and a little organ, "All I Ever Wanted," moves into the funky beats and piano keys of "Keeping me Awake." The crushingly sweet, "I Dreamed," walks you down the avenue and then rocks you back into the country with the simple band sound of, "Where I'm Going." Where the EP ends, is in the emotionally charged and soulfully explored sounds that remind us that we all can and will, "Carry On."

In January 2012, Kate released, "Fight," produced by Jarrett Nicolay. Released as a single, "Fight" was inspired by her participation in both a run for a friend who was currently battling cancer, and the CrossFit event, Fight Gone Bad, that she has participated in annually and raises funds for veterans. The proceeds from this single, are being donated to Livestrong to honor of her friend's fight, and Wounded Warrior Project for all of the Veterans, like her father, and their families who are so deserving of support when they return from their fight.

Kate has been performing from an early age and practically danced and sang her way out into the world. She formed the Kate Moran Band in 2006 and has performed locally both as a duo and with the full five person band, most notably at the Del Ray Music Festival which she co-founded in 2007.

The Del Ray Music Festival is a community festival to support local music education as well as highlight the musicians who live in and around Del Ray, a suburb of Washington, D.C. In her daytime life, Kate works at the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, and has worked in this field for over 15 years. She utilized music in her classroom instruction and has found it to be an extremely useful tool in working with any type of student.

Kate holds a BA in Theater from the Catholic University of America, a Master's in Teaching Special Education from the University of Virginia, and currently she is a Doctoral Candidate at George Mason University and will obtain her Doctorate in Special Education Leadership in May 2013.