The Tucson Weekly Tucson Area Music Awards (TAMMIES 2006) Best New Release, Best Songwriter, and Best Folk categories went to Kathleen Williamson and The Sacred Spud.
August 2005 heralded the long anticipated CD "The Sacred Spud," songs written by Kathleen over the last two years concerned with the current state of affairs integrating personal and global worlds. A real toe-tapper, this Americana album seeks to "take back God, Country... and country music... from the evil doers!" The CD as well as limited edition art giclee prints of this Williamson photograph of a real sacred spud as it existed in 1996 are available at www.judymiller.com.
Kathleen began her music career in the late 60's in her native New York City, forming high school basement rock and roll bands, playing open mikes in Greenwich Village, and writing songs of love and protest. She was heavily influenced by contemporary folk, soul, jazz, and rock music. In 1974, Kathleen took her guitar to Jerome, Arizona, where she was further influenced by her mentor and friend, the renowned folk indie pioneer Katie Lee. In 1978, Kathleen toured Ireland for five months and won the prestigious Cailean Deas Balladeering Competition in Westport, Mayo. Later that year, she joined forces with the late legendary Joe Wolverton, jazz guitar virtuoso and teacher of Les Paul. Alongside her own successful solo act, she worked regularly with Joe until 1986, touring in Japan, Guam, Hong Kong, Korea, and Samoa. During the late 70s through the latter part of the 80s, Kathleen was one of the most popular solo performing acts in Central and Northern Arizona. Kathleen headlined such firsts as Guam Jazz Festival in 1983 and the Tucson Folk Festival in 1986. In the late 80's and through the 90's, she relocated to Tucson and earned doctorates in law and cultural anthropology.
Since 2000, Kathleen increased her performances both here and in Europe. Her recent performances as a solo and/or with Owl's Nest Recording Artist and international blues diva Lisa Otey include regional listening venues such as Greenfire Books, Javalina's, Janos Restaurant and Cushing St. Pub in Tucson and Charly's Pub in Flagstaff, as well as regional and international festivals, including the Tucson Folk Festival, the Tucson Blues Festival, the Tucson Acoustic Blues Showcase, the Benson Blues Festival, Silver City Blues Festival, the Café Central in Madrid, the Edmonton Jazz Society, the Jazz en Artois, Blues Sur Seine, and Cognac Blues Passion festivals in France, and the Boogie & Blues Night at Schouwburg De Meerse in Hoofddorp, Netherlands. Among many televion and radio performances, Kathleen has also performed her original songs on Amy Goodman's Democracy which is broadcast on over 200 television and radio stations across the United States and Canada. www.democracynow.org.
In November 2002, Williamson released her critically acclaimed and award winning debut CD, love is best of all (Owl's Nest Productions®), in Europe and in the United States. The album heralds a diverse but integrated variety of "post-modem" (a kathleenism) Americana styles consisting of heartfelt original songs. The styles range from what she calls "blues for post-modems" to "Zen-Irish" to US/Mex border country "pinkgrass" to "Raga&Roll" (coined by Pete Fine) to "fem-hop" to a straight on bossa nova with japanese pillow book lyrical imagery, and more; all employed to construct her moving ballads and shuck-jive dance tunes. Kathleen presents excellently produced arrangements, intelligent and humorous lyrics, and compelling grooves. love is best of all won the 2003 TAMMIES Best CD. Kathleen also earned 2003 TAMMIES BEST SONGWRITER AND 2003 TAMMIES BEST UP-AND-COMING ARTIST. SING OUT! MAGAZINE FALL 03--"Combining world mysticism, soul, and jazz, Kathleen Williamson brings a new relevance to the word "eclectic." The title track harks back to George Harrison's sitar-tinged work; 'Secret Song' recalls Astrud Gilberto; and 'Big Deal Small Talk' combines funky guitar and rap. Love may be best of all, but genre hopping is lots of fun, too."
Kathleen and Lisa Otey's dramatic original song "I Can See the New View," commemorating the events of September 11, is featured on "love is best of all," Lisa Otey's "Hard Workin' Women," and is one of the fine selections also included in KXCI-FM Tucson Folk Festival Collection CD released in May 2003. Info at www.kxci.org. You can hear the full song as performed by Lisa Otey at www.lisaotey.com
Kathleen Williamson was awarded a 2004 ASCAPLUS award by the American Society of Composers and Publishers. The ASCAPLUS is granted by ASCAP to support and encourage writers of serious music. It is based on the unique prestige value of each writer's catalog of original compositions and works performed substantially in media not typically surveyed by ASCAP.
"My Hometown," one of Kathleen's recent original songs, about the production of war in Tucson and its export to Iraq as experienced by a television watcher empathizing with the suffering of both desert environments and cultures, has been included in a new KXCI-FM CD compilation titled "One Song at a Time." This excellent CD, recorded live in KXCI's Studio B, includes songs by Michelle Shocked, Joey Burns, Nancy McCallion, and many fine songwriters. www.kxci.org. "My Hometown," was also recently featured on Amy Goodman's "Democracy Now!"