Katy Moffatt

Katy Moffatt

BandAmericana

Biography

“Anyone unaffected should check their pulse”
~Fred Dellar, Mojo

“Well-crafted songs frame her rich, thick soprano . . . exquisite.”
~ Dave Zimmerman, USA Today

The most memorable American roots music -- be it western, country, folk, rock or the blues -- is always informed by a simple fact of life: you live and you learn. Just ask Katy Moffatt. Or better yet, listen to her sing, be it a song from her own prolific pen or a choice cut from a favorite songwriter. It’s clear that Katy sings and writes with the voice of hard-won authority. As BAM observes, “She doesn’t just hit the notes and get the words right; Moffatt evokes the emotions behind the tunes and meaning between the lines.”

Katy’s current project, Midnight Radio: A One-Woman Show, is the culmination of her years as a performing songwriter. Reflecting a passion for historical events, past and present, personal and farther afield, her songs shine a light on her life and the lives of generations of Americans. Never bound by the constraints of musical convention, Katy seamlessly weaves together a story that is at once singular and universal. This one-woman show is the history of a woman, all women, and a nation.

Debuting in 1976 with Katy on Columbia Records, Moffatt has continued to grow and expand her own artistry so effectively that November 2002 saw the reissue of her first two Columbia albums on compact disc. In 2008, she participated by special invitation in a star-studded tribute to Les Paul presented by the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. 2009 brought yet another reissue: a two-CD set called Trilogy, comprised of three significant albums first released in the 1990’s. In 2010, the esteemed Dutch label, Strictly Country, announced the release of Playing Fool, a 15-song CD of performances, mostly duets, recorded live in Europe. Hers is a career marked by consistent critical acclaim, industry appreciation (a 1985 Academy of Country Music nomination as Best New Female Vocalist), movie appearances (Billy Jack, Hard Country and The Thing Called Love), songs covered (by talents such as Hoyt Axton and Janie Fricke), and an album that outsold Garth Brooks on the U.K. country charts (The Greatest Show on Earth a.k.a. The Evangeline Hotel, which stayed on those charts for six months).
But then again, Katy Moffatt has been learning her lessons well ever since she first became enthralled with music as a child growing up in Fort Worth. Captivated by Broadway show tunes, the Beatles and Motown, she was an avid listener to Top 40 radio and says, “I used to come home from school, have dinner, go to bed, and set the alarm for midnight. Then I’d get up and do my homework and listen to the radio. It was my favorite time -- I could be alone with the music.” This she recalls in Midnight Radio, the title song of her lauded second Watermelon Records release, which was preceded by the Gavin Americana Chart success Hearts Gone Wild.

By high school, she was absorbing Tom Rush, Judy Collins and Leonard Cohen (whose ‘Dress Rehearsal Rag,’ Katy says, “made me want to perform”.) Later, Tracy Nelson and Ella Fitzgerald, (whose version of the Cole Porter gem, ‘Miss Otis Regrets’ would later inspire Katy’s brilliant acoustic adaptation of the song on 1998’s Angel Town) became vocal touchstones for Moffatt, who recalls that “as soon as I started performing, I knew this was what I wanted to do. But there weren’t many places for a young girl to perform.” Early gigs included a small Ft. Worth coffeehouse, an old folks home (where her audience included Willie Nelson’s grandmother), and a Neiman-Marcus fashion show with a then-trendy folk music theme. During her college years in Santa Fe, she fronted blues and jugband groups, starred in her “one and only musical” (The Fantastiks), and was cast as a folksinger in Billy Jack. After college, she spent time in Austin opening shows for the likes of Jerry Jeff Walker and Willis Alan Ramsey before landing in Denver, where she was discovered by Columbia Records.
Her two Columbia albums Katy (produced by Billy Sherrill) and Kissin’ in the California Sun won rave notices from Rolling Stone and Newsweek, but the ever eclectic Moffatt found herself caught in the crossfire between country and pop divisions of a large corporate record company. “I started six albums, finished three, and two were released,” she recalls. “I often had marvelous opportunities and no way to maximize them.” Eventually, Katy found a greater satisfaction was to be had by simplifying: first, making records under her own terms, then making licensing agreements for them. “This made much more sense to me,” she adds. “It removed a tremendous disconnect.”

A move to California in 1979 landed her within a burgeoning community of like-minded country rockers, and after recording an album for Permian/MCA (yielding three single releases which earned her the ACM nomination), Moffatt appeared on the groundbreaking A Town South of Bakersfield compilation amid kindred spirit

Discography


Katy On The Record(s)

TRILOGY
(Floating World/Evangeline, 2009)

FEWER THINGS
(Zeppelin, 2008)

UP CLOSE & PERSONAL
(Fuel, 2005)

KATY and
KISSIN’ IN THE CALIFORNIA SUN
(Demon, 2002; originally released 1976/1978)

COWBOY GIRL
(Shanachie, 2001)

LOOSE DIAMOND
(Hightone, 1999)

ANGEL TOWN
(HMG, 1998; Panther City, 1998)

MIDNIGHT RADIO
(Watermelon, 1996; CMLO, 2000)

SLEEPLESS NIGHTS
(Rounder, 1996)

DANCE ME OUTSIDE
(Philo, 1995)

TULARE DUST
(Hightone, 1994)

HEARTS GONE WILD
(Watermelon, 1994)

THE EVANGELINE HOTEL
(Philo, 1993)

THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH
(Centerfire, 1993)

INDOOR FIREWORKS
(Red Moon, 1992)

CHILD BRIDE
(Philo, 1990)
I

WALKIN’ ON THE MOON
(Philo, 1989)
Content copyright 2012. Jay Pilzer. All rights reserved.