Katie Terrio
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Katie Terrio

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"Boston Globe - CD Pick of the Week"

It's not every album that opens with the line, ''I've never had a star in my bed/ I've just had stars in my head." Based on that, one understands why Boston-based Katie Terrio occasionally gets compared to Liz Phair. But much more is going on in Terrio's world, negating any easy comparisons. This is her second album and she has come into her own. She exhibits a fine melodic sense that any Triple A radio programmer should jump at, while also possessing an original way of phrasing (with a nifty little tremolo at the end of some lines) that adds texture to her romantic dilemmas. Terrio has a girlishness that is almost Gwen Stefani-like at times, as on ''Keeper," but it's offset by a dreamy, folk-rock tone that evokes Beth Orton on several tracks, especially the hypnotic ''Out of Fame." And while there's a well-earned lyrical realism, Terrio also demonstrates optimism and a survivor's grit on ''(Can I) Please Come Home," ''Bird" (about losing fear), and the rocking ''Lipstick Baby." Also notable is the stunning production of Adam Steinberg, who has manned the console for locals Amy Fairchild and Carla Ryder, along with national luminaries the Dixie Chicks. Steinberg cowrites three songs and is a one-man orchestra, supporting Terrio's fretwork with his own electric and acoustic guitar, bass, keyboards, and drums. His thick, wall-of-sound rhythms in ''Everything You Are" really help the song stand out -- and the general focus he brings to the project is remarkable.

- Boston Globe - Steve Morse


""Radar Screen" Review"

It's been a while since we heard from the talented Katie Terrio, but after listening to her new album, Radar Screen, I can honestly say it was worth the wait. An emotionally charged singer and songwriter, Terrio has created eight new tracks in addition to three bonus cuts that have been transferred over to Radar Screen from her heralded 2001 CD release Songs From the Overground.

Katie’s uniquely original voice has an appealing, universal attraction. Fuse it to her fine electric and acoustic guitar work, brilliant songwriting, and all-American good looks, and Terrio becomes a tour-de-force to be reckoned with. In my humble opinion, she runs in the same class musically as Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders, Sheryl Crow, and Deborah Harry of Blondie…a real rock and roll diva with the goods to prove it!


Outstanding tracks worthy of a Grammy nomination (or at least a Boston Music Award nomination) include the sassy "Lipstick Baby", the anthemic "Letters", "Getting Out of Here", and the vocal workout of "I Do Too".If any time was right for Katie Terrio to break out into the mainstream, Radar Screen would be the vehicle to get her there. Good stuff!
- Metronome Magazine - Doug Sloane


"Interview with Katie"

Virtually disappearing from the local scene after her last album release Songs From The Overground in 2000, Boston-based singer-songwriter-guitarist Katie Terrio has resurfaced with an outstanding new CD entitled Radar Screen. Recorded solely by Katie and producer Adam Steinberg, Terrio has truly “found her voice” on this new release which finds the expectant mother-to-be more mature and in complete control of her music. Optimistic, sharp and focused, the following is a transcript of my conversation with Katie where she explains why it took her so long to record her new recording. I hope you enjoy the interview as much as I did...

METRONOME: It’s been since September 2001 since we last talked. What have you been up to since then?
I have been playing. In terms of a new recording, it was complicated by a few things. I went in to the studio in February 2001 to record a new record.
METRONOME: What was the name of the studio?
Sound Station 7 in Providence. Adam [Steinberg] and I brought a band in and recorded a whole record. Time went by and it got complicated by budget and scheduling issues and by the time Adam and I sat down again, I had written a whole new record, so we decided to scrap the record we had.
METRONOME: You didn’t use any of it?
We didn’t use any of it. It’s not exactly like I had the financial luxury to do it, but it was done none the less. It was a good record but it never got finished. A lot of it was written in the rehearsal space with a band so it tended to be a little more rock oriented. I think overall it was just better to make a new record.
METRONOME: When did you start working on your latest album Radar Screen?
We started in the spring of 2002 and it took a long time. I didn’t have a budget so between Adam and I, it was kind of like working in between everything. There was never really a body of money that allowed us to just do it. It was also a very organic process. I wrote several songs with him in the studio so it proceeded a little more slowly.
I kinda needed to relax too. I think I went through one of my little discouraged phases for a little while after the other experience. Then I put a band together in June of 2004.
METRONOME: Was most of the material recorded at that point?
Yes.
METRONOME: Where did you record Radar Screen?
We recorded that in Adam’s studio called The Fuzz Farm.
METRONOME: Is that a ProTools studio?
Exactly. We really shifted gears. There’s no official live band that recorded this record. It’s just Adam and I.
METRONOME: Did Adam play the drum tracks or were they loops...?
Adam played the drum machine, created loops... actually, it’s a little more complicated than people think. The point is they’re not real drums.
METRONOME: You can’t really tell...
He did a really great job. Where you sort of can tell, we found the tracks really charming. “Getting Out of Here,” is just a drum loop, period. We ended up finding out that it was kind of a signature of the record that we really liked. It doesn’t bother me at all that there are no drums and I love drums. I’m a big drum person.
METRONOME: Coming right out of an album that never happened, what was your impetus to write the new songs on Radar Screen?
When I recorded the studio record it was a very different experience. I was writing with a band so I was doing a lot of stuff in a rehearsal space. I didn’t go home and write stuff.
METRONOME: That was not your approach on your first album, Songs From The Overground, right?
Not really. I didn’t have a band at that point. I think Radar Screen is more similar to the first record in that sense. After we made the record in Providence and had mixed feelings about it, I felt kind of rushed. It wasn’t the experience I had before with Overground. When we decided to regroup and make a new record, I think I realized my job was to start to streamline my music a little bit. Songs From The Overground was the first solo record that I made and it was kind of a combination of many different stages. I love the record and I’m proud of it but it wasn’t a real cohesive record.
Radar Screen started out on more of a mature songwriting path. I made it my job to pay more attention to taking some of the quirkier elements out of the songs, keeping it really simple, trying to keep it really clean, and focusing on melody. Adam really helped me to do that. Ultimately, I think I found my voice. Ironically, I know it’s been a long time, but that time gave me the opportunity to discriminate a little bit.
METRONOME: It was really worth the wait.
Naturally, I’m not pleased that it took this long to come out, but I’m really happy with it. It makes me feel that I want to do more. I want to record more. I’m excited by it and not bored with it yet.
METRONOME: Did you got to Berklee?
I flunked out, but I did (laughs).
METRONOME: When did you go?
1988-89.
METRONOME: Are you a local gal or did you relocate here to go to college?
I grew up here.
METRONOME: Did you play music in high school and have a band?
Yes. I was a punk rock misfit kinda gal... but I was in chorus...
METRONOME: Who were some of your earlier musical influences?
I had a wonderful teacher at one point. I think I was thrown in to music because it was an early outlet for me. I wasn’t in with the “in crowd” and going to pep rallies and stuff. All I knew how to do was sing. A bunch of friends got together and we started making really horrible music... really awful, terrible. Then I went to Berklee, but it didn’t really work out for me.
METRONOME: Did you go for a couple of semesters?
I think I did a couple of semesters. I didn’t play an instrument. I was a Vocal Performance major and that was brand new to Berklee at the time. They wanted me to sing Bob Seger.
METRONOME: Bob Seger?!
Oh yeah. I got assigned to this recital and had to sing “Old Time Rock and Roll.”
METRONOME: That’s horrible. How could they have done that to you?
And I’m a woman. It was either that or Whitney Houston. I just figured I was a musician and had to go to college. I since went to Emerson College and graduated with an entirely different major. I’m an English major.
METRONOME: Who were some of your early influences?
I always loved Throwing Muses. I was always excited by the energy of Kristin Hersh’s stuff. I was a huge Pretenders fan.
METRONOME: I can definitely hear Chrissie Hynde’s influence in your voice and style and I don’t know whether that’s a natural progression for you or whether her influences come out of you unconsciously.
I think people notice the Chrissie Hynde thing more now and I think the influence is always there. I was always a big XTC fan. Absolutely mindblowing. I wish I could be Andy Partridge. I love Elvis Costello, I always have. I’m also a sucker for good old fashioned soul music... Aretha Franklin. As I’ve gotten older I’m listening to Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra.
METRONOME: How did you and Adam [Steinberg] meet?
I’ve known Adam since High School.
METRONOME: What High School was that?
Newton North High School. He was the older guy. He was in Push Push and they were really big at the time. We met then. He played with a bunch of my friends... Laurie Sargent, and when I began writing Songs For The Overground, I asked him if he wanted to play guitar with me and he said, “No, I don’t want to, but I’d love to produce your record.” And he did. We’ve had close to a seven year relationship at this point.
METRONOME: In this business that’s pretty good.
Yeah, and he’s become a dear friend. I think he was the first person that didn’t laugh when I played music to him. He really heard me out. He’s always let me be pretty much who I am.
METRONOME: Tell me about the organization you’re involved with called “In Each Others Voices.” What’s that about?
Adam, his ex-wife Gail, and I put together this musical structure were we would get together a whole group of people that would agree to cover one another’s music and perform it live at a local venue. We would choose a charity and donate the proceeds and in this case it was the Greater Boston Food Bank. We got together with Rick Berlin, Laurie Sargent, Christian MacNeil, myself and we all covered one another’s songs and played at the Lizard. It was wildly successful and tons of fun.
METRONOME: When was that?
That was in June of 2002.
METRONOME: Was that show the start of this event?
Yes. Adam has done one other. It was tough to get six separate songwriters in the same room and get them all to learn one another’s stuff but it was a lot of fun and it raised quite a bit of money.
METRONOME: That’s a very cool concept.
I don’t think anybody knew what the other person was going to cover until the night of the show.
METRONOME: You guys had to do some research as well...
Oh yeah. I was running all over Boston grabbing this CD and giving it to this one and grabbing those CDs and... musicians are not the most organized bunch (laughs).
METRONOME: Tell me about your song “Lipstick Baby,” I really like that tune?
I always say when I play it live... I don’t know why, I was playing it at The Paradise and I said, “This song is about sex,” and everyone, everyone listened! They all sort of stopped talking. I’ve got to admit the first couple of lines just kind of came to me. I can’t really say what it’s about. Maybe it is sort of about that. I love the groove on the guitar because it gave me a chance to sing in people’s faces.
METRONOME: Did you write it on an acoustic?
I probably wrote it on the acoustic. It didn’t take an electric to write that song.
METRONOME: But it is so electric...
It is so electric. In fact when I do acoustic shows I don’t play it. Somehow it’s not very interesting when I play it on an acoustic guitar. It just needs that push. Adam helped me shape it. I think my songwriting style is to create a feeling more than any sort of literal thing. I’m glad you like that song.
METRONOME: I also like “I Do Too.”
Adam calls that the greatest co-dependency song he’s ever heard.
METRONOME: Why is that?
We’ve all been in relationships where we depend on someone’s opinion of ourselves. When I wrote the chorus, “If you like me/I will too/If you love me/I do too,” Adam said, “Wow, who hasn’t been in a relationship where you don’t love yourself unless someone validates it.”
METRONOME: What spawned that?
I don’t say here’s an emotion or a thought and sit down and write about it. When I sit down and play my guitar, I have an inventory of thoughts and stuff. I mean, I’m married now so I don’t have to feel as validated as I used to, but I certainly remember feeling that way. Music and songwriting is just an opportunity to take it all and write these little stories about stuff that maybe I didn’t get a chance to. I love singing, “You’re my favorite alcohol/You’re my favorite glass of wine,” I don’t even know why, I just like. It sorta gets me some place. It’s like an addiction.
METRONOME: I noticed that you included three songs on Radar Screen from your album Songs From The Overground. Did you re-record them or are they the original recordings?
They are the original recordings.
METRONOME: Why did you bring those onboard to Radar Screen?
A couple of reasons. Primarily, the guy I’m working with Kimball Packard, suggested that we do that because the first record didn’t get heard by a lot of people. Stylistically, they seemed to make sense with this record. If I felt like the first record had really been saturated, I wouldn’t have done it at all. We both agreed some of those songs perhaps deserved more attention.
That’s why this album is called Radar Screen. Adam said, “You’re just below the radar screen. Nobody knows you’re making this music.”
The first album just didn’t get worked enough. It’s hard for people to self promote themselves. If Radar Screen gets heard by a lot of people, then I will be happy with that.
METRONOME: How did you meet Kimball Packard?
Through Adam.
METRONOME: Is Kimball doing more than PR for you?
He’s functioning as a manager at this point. He’s my contact guy.
METRONOME: It sounds like it’s taken 2-1/2 years to record this album. Is that right?
Yeah (laughs). It didn’t have to, but it did. I think it was more about scheduling and budget. Adam and I work brutally fast together but because of the time that it took... “Letters” for example was a totally last minute recording. So it gave us the chance to do stuff like that. I’d make a record a week if I could. I think a lot of people would.
METRONOME: Who are some of the musicians your going to assemble for the live show?
I’m doing a residency all this month (January) at Toad. I have Seth Pappas on drums, Bob Enik on guitar and a guy named John Rapoza on bass.
METRONOME: How did you connect with those guys?
I’ve been playing with John for a few months. It’s been kind of trial and error. Seth is new to the project, so we’re all kind of new to one another. It’s been a process of discriminating and finding people that I like working with better than with others.
METRONOME: That’s very important!
Yeah, it’s very underestimated but once this record was done, I became a lot pickier. These guys are really good. We’ll do our residency and hone our skills a little bit and see what that gets us.
METRONOME: Then you’re doing a CD release party on February 25th at The Paradise. Are you headlining or sharing the bill?
I’m sharing the bill. It’s my show so to speak, but I am sharing the bill with Amy Fairchild and Carla Rider. We’ve got a little chick show happening.
METRONOME: Will the three of you do a song together that evening?
We have batted it around and I hope we can. I would love it. Amy has been singing background vocals for some of my shows. She’s doing that at the residency. She knows my material and she’s got one of the most wonderful voices in the world.
METRONOME: Where can people find Radar Screen as well as your other album?
We’re going to focus on internet radio. We will certainly be selling it locally like at Newbury Comics but it will be available at my web site www.katieterrio.com where it will be linked to CDFreedom and CDBaby.com.
METRONOME: Do you have digital distribution for your songs?
Kimball is working out all the details right now. He is much more savvy than I am. The great thing about Kimball is that he’s really on top of the habits of how people are getting music and downloading and stuff like that. I’m sure there will be no stone unturned.
METRONOME: How do you, as an artist, feel about the whole internet thing?
Something happened to me recently that’s never happened to me. I have complete strangers that e-mail me and say I heard your music and I love it. So let’s face it, until I’m on Billboard or the Grammy’s, nobody in Idaho is going to know who I am, so it’s not a bad thing. I think it might be a really good thing. I’m not sure how successful I would be at this point if it was just telephones and local clubs. At least now, if you’re going to get in a van and do some dates, you can sort of back it up a bit. One of the things I do get nervous about is I think the industry needs to come up with a better way to reward the artists. The fact of the matter is that if all these downloads and swaps were record sales, we’d all be billionaires now.
METRONOME: How do you feel about some contemporary artists like Eminem?
I think Eminem is great.
METRONOME: Why?
I used to think he wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed, but, because at the end of the day it takes a lot of nerve to say things that people aren’t going to dig. Even if you think they aren’t tasteful. I think he’s innovative, I think he’s a cool vocalist. His rhythms are great and his rhymes are great. He doesn’t bother me, but I’m also not a #1 feminist either.
METRONOME: How about Sarah McLachlan?
I appreciate her music. I don’t listen to it. I like P.J. Harvey alot.
METRONOME: How about Britney Spears?
I think she’s an idiot. I loved her first thing. I’d love to be able to wear a kilt and dance like that. I wish I respected her a little bit more.
METRONOME: How about Shania Twain?
I think she’s a cool gal. I don’t know her music that well.
METRONOME: She’s a real success story...
Yeah, she is. I love Shelby Lynn.
METRONOME: Who else do you like these days?
Velvet Revolver’s record. I would love to be able to be Slash! Nobody wants to hear a woman sing like that but I love that kind of thing. I finally found a Lenny Kravitz song that I love... and I’m excited that the Pixies are back together.
METRONOME: It sounds like you really liked that late 80s underground cult era in music?
I loved it. I really feel like it was very, very exciting.
METRONOME: When are you expecting your baby?
In June. I’ll have a chance to play for a while. I’ll play until I can’t stand up anymore (laughs). I’m excited about that.

Copyright © 2005 Metronome
- Metronome Magazine - Editor Brian Owens


"Patriot Ledger"

Katie Terrio's songwriting career has followed a more circuitous route than most. Beginning as the lead guitarist in a rock band, where she didn't write much, she eventually struck out on her own as a solo artist who did write all her own material.

But after a promising 2002 debut, ‘‘Songs from the Overground,'' Terrio slipped out of sight until this month. Jan. 25 is the official release date for her newest album, ‘‘Radar Screen,'' and she'll be performing every Tuesday in January at Toad in Cambridge with her band.

Terrio, who lives in West Newton and works by day as a copy editor at Ziff-Davis, laughs as she she starts detailing her roundabout path to the new CD, which is a tasty melange of folk-rock and alternative rock sounds.

Comparisons to Liz Phair are apt, although Terrio's music is more roots-oriented, stripped down acoustic-based pop. Other tunes, like the opening ‘‘Lipstick Baby'' suggest Lucinda Williams rocking out in a gritty roadhouse.

‘‘In the rock band, Jack Frosting, I was the lead guitarist and not the main songwriter. The band consisted of some of the guys from (Boston alt-rockers) Orangutang and Bulkhead, and it was kind of time off from my own writing,'' she said. ‘‘I did write a few songs then, but when we did them we realized they didn't sound like that band. That was really why I left the band; I wanted to try something else, where I could put more songwriting chops more in front.''

Terrio's first solo effort stayed in that alt-rock category, but her clear, ringing alto voice garnered lustrous reviews. Three of the tunes from that first CD have been included as bonus tracks on this CD, but in newer versions which pare them down.

The biggest difference between the two albums might be producer Adam Steinberg, who has worked with Sheryl Crow, Amy Fairchild, Todd Thibaud and the Dixie Chicks. Terrio said she feels Steinberg was invaluable in focusing her music.

In fact, Steinberg accompanies Terrio on guitars, bass, drums, keyboards, ‘‘and everything else'' on this CD, as the liner notes attest.

‘‘A lot of the first record's songs were written very quickly, right before we went into the studio. It was a little angular type of rock,'' Terrio said. ‘‘Here, we took parts of that first record and honed in on them, like the essential melody, and cleaning out the instrumental mix to make the vocals all clearer. I worked hard on developing my vocal range, and in general we worked on taking the quirkiness out of the arrangements.''

Don't mistake that for taking the individuality out of the music. Terrio's new effort provides ample proof of the appeal of her sinuous voice, along with plentiful hook-filled choruses.

‘‘Adam was basically saying over and over, ‘Take the straight path,''' Terrio said. ‘‘He kept me focused on what was the most real and what I enjoy most: singing and getting my lyrics across to people.''

In preparation for the album's release, and her busy spring of promoting it, Terrio has assembled a quartet of some of Boston's best rock veterans to accompany her: Seth Pappas on drums, Bob Enik on lead guitar and John Rapoza on bass have already played a half-dozen shows with the new material, and Terrio admits the Toad residency is a chance to test the live versions before taking the show on the road.

It does seem like the three-plus years between albums is a long germination period, however, and it turns out there's more to that story.

‘‘The second album was held up for a lot of reasons,'' Terrio said. ‘‘Without a big recording contract, money and scheduling was a problem. And then in 2002 we went into the studio and recorded a whole album with a band - and ended up scrapping it.

We just decided that what came out of those sessions was not me, and not the way I wanted to present my songs.

‘‘I'm thankful for that experience, because I think it yielded a much more meaty record this time.

We simply took some time and regrouped.''

‘‘Radar Screen'' was written over a longer period of time, while Terrio was also finishing college at Emerson. She's now attending graduate school at Suffolk University, studying interior design.

But before you get the idea she's an egghead, she's quick to note with a laugh, ‘‘I am one of the few people to actually flunk out of Berklee School of Music. Most people have these great stories how they dropped out to go out and play, but I just simply got a report card with actual F's on it, and was told to go home.''

Terrio, who lived in Hingham in the 1990s before moving back to her hometown, says her work as copy editor, both on a freelance basis, and now on staff at Ziff-Davis, has helped her refine her songwriting. And once again, Steinberg provided some guidance.

‘‘I'm not a very linear writer, and that's another thing Adam has helped me with, making my lyrics more understandable,'' Terrio said. ‘‘I usually come to a song with two or three lines which set the stage, and then progress on to a musical idea. Like ‘Lipstick Baby' began with an opening line, and then I just kept going from there, almost stream of consciousness. ‘Bird' is about going from the East Coast to California - my sister was out there and I was visiting her - and how it felt like I was going to Mars. There's a lot of melancholy and longing in that one.

‘‘Overall I think ‘Radar Screen' is more edited, more concise, and much more consistent than my previous work.''

Over time, she said, ‘‘I feel like my songwriting is much more honed, with more solid melodies. When I was younger I'd just play my guitar until something hit me, for a song. Now I know where I want to go, I know my way around songwriting better and I know my instrument better. I feel much more confident about knowing what works, and what can be left aside.''

It what might rightly be dubbed a summit meeting of Boston's best female rock songwriters, Terrio joins Amy Fairchild and Braintree's Carla Ryder for a show at the Paradise Lounge in Boston on Feb. 25, when new releases by all three will be celebrated.

Copyright © 2005 The Patriot Ledger

- Terrio back on "Radar" with new CDD


"Boston Press"

Songs From The Overground, released 2001

"Katie owns her style . . . her style is distinct enough to make it stand out from the pack, and yet so alluring that you are drawn in”.


- Soundcheck Magazine


Discography

Songs From the Overground - 2001
Radar Screen - 2005

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Already a major contributor to the vibrant Boston music scene, Katie Terrio has had a busy 2005, with the release of her second solo record, Radar Screen, and the birth of her daughter and future rocker, Ellie. Her debut CD -- Songs From The Overground -- was released in 2002 to strong reviews. Letters To Cleo’s Kay Hanley has called Katie one of her favorite vocalists. With comparisons to Chrissie Hynde and Liz Phair, Terrio’s no-nonsense rock is uniquely her own and sets her apart in the over-crowded field of singer/songwriters.

Before writing her own material, Terrio formed the critically acclaimed Jack Frosting with Tom Devaney (formerly of Betwixt fame). The band contributed two songs to local record label Monolyth Records' Songs For The Modern Home compilation and tracks for a Newbury Comics' Wicked Disc compilation.

Together with Adam Steinberg, who aside from producing Terrio's work has worked with Sheryl Crow, The Dixie Chicks, Todd Thibaud and Amy Fairchild, Katie also founded "In Each Others' Voices," a grassroots organization dedicated to raising money for the hungry. The kick-off event featured local artists Rick Berlin and Laurie Sargent.

Brian Owens, Editor of Metronome Magazine perhaps summed it up best when he wrote, “Katie’s uniquely original voice has an appealing, universal attraction. Fuse it to her fine electric and acoustic guitar work, brilliant songwriting, and all-American good looks, and Terrio becomes a tour-de-force to be reckoned with. In my humble opinion, she runs in the same class musically as Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders, Sheryl Crow, and Deborah Harry of Blondie…a real rock and roll diva with the goods to prove it!”