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SOULFUL IMPRESSIONS | profile | all galleries >> CATHY RICHARDSON BAND tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

CATHY RICHARDSON BAND

PHOTOS OF CATHY RICHARDSON BAND BY KURT SWANSON
E-MAIL: kurtswanson@juno.com
**UNDER CONSTRUCTION**

With her eagerly anticipated new CD, "The Road to Bliss," Cathy Richardson takes an extraordinary musical journey and brings everyone along for the exhilarating ride. Already hometown heroes in their native Chicago (voted Best Band in polls by the Chicago Tribune and Fox News) this intriguing singer-songwriter and her finely tuned bandmates are fixin' to drive right into your rock and roll heart. And with a 2003 GRAMMY Nomination for Best Recording Package in tow, the future seems paved with possibilities.

In this self-produced recording, Richardson's powerful, versatile voice glides effortlessly from gorgeous to gritty and back again. She often soars into the stratosphere with those remarkable pipes, but her songs remain down-to-earth and always passionate. No one who listens to "The Road to Bliss" will be surprised that Richardson portrayed Janis Joplin in the Off-Broadway hit "Love, Janis" and occasionally sits in with Big Brother and the Holding Company, rendering those heart-wrenching songs to spine-tingling effect.

The new CD's theme is movin' on-always to something better. "You never know where the road of life is going to take you," Richardson says. "It's full of twists and turns and surprises, but you trust that if you follow your heart, and follow the signs, your path will unfold and lead you right where you need to be." In a characteristically daring move, she's wrapped her musical concept in a package the likes of which have not been seen since the Rolling Stones' notorious Some Girls.

The CD's chipboard box (no "crappy jewel case," she says) opens into six panels of "road" photos, taken by Richardson, of the kind of grand scenery-mountains, seas, rainbows-that evokes yearning and big dreams. When you fully unfold the box, you're in the driver's seat of a vintage car, complete with dashboard, rearview mirror, and "steering wheel," the CD itself. Open the glove compartment-yes, it opens-and you'll find inside a detailed map of Road to Bliss's psychic landscape, the CD booklet.

Why the elaborate artwork? "It's a return to album art," says Richardson. "I wanted to create a package that draws the listener into the music and makes them part of it... in a way that stimulates all six senses," she adds with a laugh. Voting members of the Recording Academy have, obviously, appreciated this effort, honoring Richardson and co- Art Director Bill Dolan with a 2003 GRAMMY Nomination for Best Recording Package.

In this case, it's art that reflects the caliber of the music. The roots-, country- and blues-tinged songs are equally ambitious. "Miracle" is an honest, upbeat look at envy; "Blindsided by Love," a duet with Emily Saliers of Indigo Girls, is a shimmering, hopeful ballad; "I've Changed" is one of those raucous, so-true anthems, reminiscent of the Spencer Davis Group's "Gimme Some Lovin'," that seem to have existed from the beginning of time (or rock 'n' roll, anyway). "This Town," with an infectious slide guitar hook and potent lyrics like, "I'm wavin' one finger good-bye," has already caught the ears of Chicago's WXRT Radio programmers, who added the song into daily rotation. These songs, along with eight others, convey emotions that are all stops on the scary, bumpy, thrilling and beautiful highway of life.

Track titles appear as "cities" on the booklet map. They're mostly along the main route, 444-a magical number, Richardson believes-and surrounded by such towns and features as Saliersbury (in honor of Emily Saliers), the Kristen Hall of Fame (Kristen Hall co-wrote four tunes), the Janis River (no explanation necessary), and Dolan Bog (artist Bill Dolan designed the package with Richardson). Rabid fans can have a blast figuring out the map, though band members are pretty easy: Breckenfeld Ridge for drummer Ed Breckenfeld, Hoekstra Primate Sanctuary for guitarist Joel Hoekstra, Klemson for bassist Klem and, of course, the mountain range called Cathy Rocks.

Does she ever. Lucky for us we get to listen. This is car music like you've never experienced before, and a trip in more ways than one. Take the ride. ~crband.com

WEBSITE: http://www.crband.com


LOVE JANIS
LOVE JANIS
BIG BROTHER & THE HOLDING COMPANY WITH CATHY RICHARDSON
BIG BROTHER & THE HOLDING COMPANY WITH CATHY RICHARDSON
CATHY RICHARDSON
CATHY RICHARDSON
CATHY RICHARDSON
CATHY RICHARDSON
CATHY RICHARDSON
CATHY RICHARDSON
CATHY RICHARDSON
CATHY RICHARDSON
CATHY RICHARDSON
CATHY RICHARDSON
CATHY RICHARDSON
CATHY RICHARDSON
CATHY RICHARDSON
CATHY RICHARDSON
ED BRECKENFELD
ED BRECKENFELD
CATHY RICHARDSON
CATHY RICHARDSON
FRAN KONDORF
FRAN KONDORF
CATHY RICHARDSON BAND
CATHY RICHARDSON BAND
FRAN KONDORF
FRAN KONDORF
FRAN KONDORF
FRAN KONDORF
CATHY RICHARDSON
CATHY RICHARDSON
CATHY RICHARDSON
CATHY RICHARDSON
CATHY RICHARDSON
CATHY RICHARDSON
FRAN KONDORF
FRAN KONDORF
CATHY RICHARDSON
CATHY RICHARDSON