Kathleen Haskard
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Kathleen Haskard

Los Angeles, California, United States | Established. Jan 01, 1998 | SELF | AFTRA

Los Angeles, California, United States | SELF | AFTRA
Established on Jan, 1998
Solo Americana Singer/Songwriter

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A California singer-songwriter who now calls London home. Haskard has a resume that confirms her craft and her politics. She's written tunes with Lowen & Navarro and Stacey Earle and sung in the choir on Neil Young's "Living With War". The deliciously deep-voiced troubadour is about to release "Don't Tell", a moody collection of Americana produced by Chuck Prophet and Simon Alpin. At her best, she recalls KD Lang. She will be accompanied by Brian Barns of Cafe Accordian Orchestra and Camille Gage. - Minneapolis Star Tribune / Jon Bream


Kathleen Haskard "Don't Tell" (Howlin' Hound /Nine Mile Records 2008)


It's a small, small world for sure

Having first encountered Kathleen Haskard many, many moons ago at a fantastic open mic night that used to run under a Turkish restaurant in Battersea, years later and I am given the task to review her second album. Weird. There, surrounded by some other great performers Ð The Big Shave, anyone? Ð Haskard, pretty much everytime, would come up with a song that would resonate around my head until the following week. Thankfully, given those memories, Don't Tell doesn't dissapoint. Produced knowingly and lovingly by Chuck Prophet, who unleashes that telecaster to great effect throughout you will be pleased to hear, Don't Tell is essentially a battle between heart and mind, a personal voyage down the thoroughfares of love whilst trying to avoid life's one way streets and emotional cul-de-sacs. A voice that is warm and rounded Haskard is not one to holding back when delivering lines full of grit and purpose. Stand-out tracks include the opening "Second Star," a slow-burning gem on which Prophet simmers with intent, "Losers Weep," a co-write with Stacey Earle hides an illicit secret in its poignant old-time delivery and "Hallelujah," a simplistic ballsy rocker that wouldn't have seemed out of place on an early Patti Smith record. There is honesty about Haskard that is endearing. Like her this is a record that comes across bold and brash at times but scrape away a little and you unearth a fragile heart of gold.

Date review added: Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Reviewer: Del Day
Reviewers Rating: ******** 8/10 - Americana UK


ROOTSTIME REVIEW DonÕt Tell May 2008

eloof it or not, but Kathleen also played Haskard with Neil Young. Admitted, as one of hundred in the chancel on " Living With War" , but it signs its activities such as champion of peace, equal rights and differently beautiful. After its debut " Into the Deep" from 1998 there is now at last, after ten years its Second solo-album, " Don' t Tell". This plate has been produced fancy by Chuck, pack which its hard, sometimes against militant having a scratch texts could in an accessible sound, with which she distinguishes himself of gelijkgestemde souls as for example Michelle Shocked and K.D.Lang. Chuck is thus more animated then ever. Because on its own previous year eighth cd appeared " Soap And Water" the American singer/songwriter have brought an intriguing collection songs at each other. Thereby he crawls behind the buds for the production of " Translated From Love" of Kelly will iris and dives he on plates of Aiden Hawkens and Alejandro Escovedo as a gitarist. And now he produces " Don' t Tell" , the recent cd of singer/songwriter and politically activist Kathleen Haskard who with the title number of this plate, punkpo‘tisch from the angle can come and zowaar just as returns to think of Patti Smith in its heyday days, also already because Haskard voice show only resemblance.

Of its cooperation with Stacey Earle also the nicely subdued " became; Losers Weep" taken along. Beside Chuck (jet ear/bass) got Haskard aid of session guns Paul Revelli (drums), Danny Eisenburg (ham mouth/piano), TOMs Heyman (pedal stalk), JJ Weisler (jet ear), Grand Drives Julian Wilson (organ, vocal) and with the London gitarist Simon Alpin has looked that the plate sounds subtly and laminated. Similar with Lucinda Williams on " West" turned out to be Haskard itself here as someone who is late on the evening, in a low tempo, on its best. Beside these imploring beautiful slow songs such as " Like A Pearl Necklace" and " Leave To Remain" to look the more harsher songs such as the titeltrack and " Hallelujah" , for alternation. The topic which she touches its among other things: like, love, loss, sorrow, (false) hope and resignation. Its voice, its phrasing, its songstructuren dangle between the Americana of Lucinda Williams and the punk rock rock of Patti Smith, but that combination is exactly this way unique. We call it ordinary but: West Coast Folk music rock Noire. This is a very healthy rock plate which grinds not too much for what now would be, but an attack commits on your capacity for music to taste. In short: " Don' t Tell" roots successful album are, with a hard, sound message, a plate which everyone should have in its plate cupboard

- Rootstime (rough translation from Dutch )


Singer, songwriter, political activist and all round task manager has her new album out on
July 23rd Dont Tell is released on indie label Howlin’ Hound. A sussed and aware musician who passionately believes in the healing power of music, people power and that the personal is most definetly political. We got together to chew over music, life and the family tree;

You have lived a varied and interesting life Kathleen, looking at your bio on your website, what came first for you, music or politics?
Definitely music. My dad was a singin’ in the shower kind of guy. He has a beautiful voice and was into Tommy Wolfe and Fran Landesmans SPRING CAN REALLY HANG YOU UP THE MOST type jazz. I was in school and church choirs from a very young age. An alto age 10!

Tell me something about your political awareness, how did your bullshit detector antenna know where to home in?
If activism can be genetic then it may have always been there laying dormant until it was lit up at 14 by my high school history teacher, Paula Ogren. Her mantra was “apathy is a sin”! and if you have the right to vote in what purports to be a democratic society then it is practically criminal to not exercise that right. And if you are a woman even more negligent and a minority woman…… well, you get the gist.

Who would you namecheck as inspirations to your music?
My dad, The Beatles, Leonard Cohen, John Prine, Bob, the Byrds, the Flying Burrito Bros, CSN&Y, JD Souther, Jackson Browne, Marianne Faithful, Joni Mitchell, Dolly, Bobbie Gentry, Steve Earle, Robert Burns and the mighty Chuck Prophet.

And more generally on your life?
My mom, Sister Mary Karlyn, Paula Ogren, Tom Hayden, Tom Paine, Sarah Raphael, my ridiculously beautiful, talented sons, Skylar, Aubrey and Luke are a constant source of inspiration and exasperation. My mad scientist/physician husband Dorian. His work ethic and dedication to his vocation is astounding.

You have quite a lineage, ancestors who led challenging political lives, tell me about them?
My maternal grandfather Robert O’Dowd was an Irish 1st generation American who was a card carrying member of the Communist Party back in the day when it was a romantic movement. When the farm in Michigan went bust he went into town to join the rank and file in the booming auto industry. He became embroiled in the embryonic Labour Movement and fought for the rights of workers to be members of a union. Though inspirational it was to be his undoing. He helped organise and lead various strikes and routinely got his head stoved in by government goon squads. He died before his time of a brain hemorrhage in his favourite bar.
My maternal great grandmother Elizabeth Broom was a colourful Englishwoman from Devon who owned and ran a speakeasy during the Prohibition which included girls upstairs as an optional extra.
And my great great uncle on my dads side of the family Jesus Garcia is a folk hero in Mexico who was a train engineer who when a dynamite laden train caught fire in the middle of the town of Nacozari, Sonora, he drove the train out towards the mines away from the heavily populated town center and blew up with the train! A folk song Maquina 501 tells the story in a bit more detail. That was November 1907 so this year is the centenary party which I’m hoping to get to.




I always find it confounding when I hear people say "I leave the politics to the politicians"........that in itself is an act of disengagement, surely?
Yep. That old apathy chestnut again. There’s no point whinging about stuff that you can ostensibly affect change about if you don’t make your feelings known to the people in power who are supposed to be there to represent and implement our ideas and opinions. Bitching and complaining can be great fun but pretty ineffectual unless it spawns great literature or art or is backed up with calls and letters and voting with your feet on polling day. Unless of course you are a member of the Anarchist Party whose motto is “Don’t Vote"! Because whoever you vote for The Government always gets in” !!!

Naomi Klein has written a book called No Logo, in an attempt to de-mystify and critique globalisation and capitalism. She makes clear the complete lack of unbranded public space, ie gigs, art exhibitions, murals - multinationals have crept into patronising all these events and use them as a tool to enhance a brand culture for themselves. Whats your view on this?
I instinctively disapprove of obvious branding and am much more likely to be positively predisposed to companies that keep their sponsorship on the down low. but therein lies the rub; no brand - no visibility and no easily attributable credit. Whatever happened to the buzz that came as a result of anonymous altruism?

It got sponsored by Nike. When will Tony Blair be in the dock for war crimes, I wonder?
My guess is never. Just as it’s only a matter of history that booze is legal and marijuana isn’t, with Blair it’s a question of whose in - www.brink.com / Paul Hawkins


16.07.07 Kathleen Haskard and The Guilty Preachers, Sam Sallon, Dave Sutherland

12Bar Club

A free evening and a quick internet search finds this interesting outing well worth the investment. Familiar and friendly from the off with an on-the-edge where-this-will-go approach Kathleen has a pedigree spirit. With songs from the superb Simon Alpin and Chuck Prophet produced CD ‘don’t tell’ (out next week but on sale tonight and my album of the year so far by a mile) this gig was one of those perfect showcases. Stand out songs Traffic Starts to Hum, Losers Weep, Pearl Necklace made the band of four guitarists and one drummer, er, stand out. Terrific. Sensual and moody, versatile and passionate, disconnected and dangerous. Kathleen loved singing Hallelujah so much she insisted on doing an immediate reprise. I’d have taken a third outing as it was a perfect cacophony of sound, spirit and swirling commotion. Four guitarists and one drummer makes for a close dynamic on the 12 Bar stage. And from that punky attack she was able to turn the session on it’s head with an incredibly intimate finale and the mesmerising Leave To Remain. Kathleen is hoping to line up as support to Chuck Prophet when he plays The Luminaire in early October.
Don’t Tell? Tell!

- www.myspace.com/Gaz Hayes


this debut album from the singer-songwriting former California surf chick and chum of Stacey Earle whose bloodline includes a Mexican folk hero and Irish prime mover of the American labour movement (not to mention used VW car dealers if Jello Mould is autobiographical) and who currently (at least at the time of the biog) calls south east London home. Working from an acoustic roots base, she weaves her way through the blues (Cheap Perfume a slow raunch with slide guitar), soul country (Galileo), country gospel (Out In The Light), sax hazed jazzy lopes (Strange Resistance), plangent guitar mid tempo poprock (Adam's Apple), desert noir soundscapes (Longing) and old school Bonnie Raitt (a useful comparison point) country rock (Out In The Light).

Into The Deep with its comparisons between love and addiction serves as a good example of her lyrical flavours, many of the mostly love songs veined with physical and sexual imagery in which she's variously self-confessedly weak and defiantly strong. There's a sense of tension to the work, underlying her vocals too, which perhaps gives added resonance to a song titled I Purr and I Roar. Maybe that explains the photo of her in that cold bath! - Net Rhythms - Mike Davies


Back in one of my favourite London venues again. By eight thirty Kathleen Haskard has climbed onto the stage to grab her guitar. The American comes to the microphone to begin a confident set of songs. Small audience or not she plays like she is stood in front of full house. Lasso's the audience with her banter while laying down a moody, engaging handful of songs. Her voice is deep, a hint of jazz, some blues.

What Kathleen Haskard gave was an all round performance. Some humour, a few digs at the 'corporate schemata' of things. 'Stacey and I figured that 12 per cent was not a good deal. OK so we started our own record labels so we could take 100 per cent. Now that's a good deal,' she laughed with a gleam in her eye. She also thanked the Borderline for providing '24 beers for Stacey and me' courtesy of the house. 'I mean 24 beers, we might be able to drink two a piece, so I've swapped mine for Margheritas,' she grinned. Then she fetched said Margherita from the small table at the back of the stage and proceeded to suck the iced drink through a straw up against the microphone. 'This is the third track on my CD, it's called Slurping,' she gurgled.

On this first listen I took to at least three of Kathleen Haskard's songs. One was called Galileo. It was about heartbreak. 'Gallieo would have seen it coming' she sang. Jello Mould was a bit of a rocker. I think this was the song that mentioned some of my favourite places like Tucumcari.

For her final song, Kathleen Haskard put her guitar away and asked the audience to help her by snapping their fingers along in time to a samba groove. From Oslo to Holland the songwriter had been teasing the audience by asking if there were any Englishmen in it. Her song concerns the reticent English stereotype lover. Just one of those typecast jokes we let our American cousins like Joan Baez get away with.

Kathleen Haskard started the song off with another slurp from the glass of Margherita then started snapping her thumb and fingers and grooving. It reminded me a lot of the salt shaking rhythms on Robyn Hitchcock's Wafflehead. - Isle of Wight Rock


Kathleen Haskard
Don’t Tell
Howlin’ Hound Records
****1/2
Talented singer-songwriter produces superb release, covering many different styles influenced by growing up and living alongside the sun-drenched beaches of California
Any project that Simon Alpin and Chuck Prophet are involved with has always got a good head start and this second release from Kathleen Haskard really is superb. Vocally, think Dido but with a harder edge. Dark and mysterious, Kathleen describes her music as folk-rock noir. I just love it when the first track on any album grabs your attention and with Second Star Kathleen hits the nail right on the head; a blues-based song on the theme of relationships that benefits from the guitar work of Chuck Prophet—he really does squeeze noises out of his guitar that are totally unique. The perfect backdrop to Kathleen’s breathy vocals, his playing lifts the song to a different level. Play Me the second track on the other hand is pure pop, but with an edge, still retaining a commercial feel this song could easily be on Radio 2 daytime play lists. Kathleen does rock out though, and the title track Don’t Tell is a real rocker, almost goth, reminiscent of Siouxsie and the Banshees both lyrically and in the song delivery. Apart from the normal line up of guitar, bass and percussion there is also some superb Hammond B3 organ and harmonica featured, especially on the wondrous track Will Someone Explain, a bluesy gospel style of song that is perfection.
Kathleen is a fourth generation Californian and splits her time between living in London and the Santa Monica mountains—at times the album has quite a British feel shown perfectly on Loser’s Weep, a co-write with Stacey Earle—a soft gentle folk song showcasing Kathleen’s perfectly clear vocal delivery, best described as British folk but with an American twist. This really is an album of many different musical styles encompassing rock, folk, country and blues, but all having an alternative edge. If you fancy trying something a little different from the norm this comes highly recommended. JHS
- MAVERICK


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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