Katie Rhodes was born in Manchester
into a large Irish family. Many of her sisters and brothers are
very talented musicians and vocalists. While Katie was young,
her parents and siblings had an Irish/Country band which travelled all
over the UK and Europe and sometimes Katie used to sit in the large
living room watching and listening as the family rehearsed new songs,
or a new instrumental, sometimes laughing at the frustration of her
father (a superb mandolin and lap steel player) couldn't get it right.
Then watching while they all got ready for a gig, arguing and fighting
for the bathroom; the girls usually won - little knowing that years
later she would follow in their footsteps! Katie says she has
learned a lot of valuable lessons from her family. The whole family
being entertainers, they would often sit around the living room singing
songs, playing instruments and singing five-part vocal harmonies for
their own entertainment. Who needs to go out to listen to a band
when you've got one at home?
Her parents had a wide taste
in Country music; her father loved listening to Cajun and Bluegrass
music, while her mother liked to listen to more traditional songs.
In her early days, Katie was heavily influenced by the older country
music constantly listened to and performed by her parents, with people
like Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Marty Stuart, being particular favourites
of theirs. But she has also developed a real fondness for more
modern Country music. Generally though, Country music in one form
or another was constantly being played in the household.
By the time Katie was old enough
to become involved with her family's band, unfortunately her parents
had divorced and the family band ceased to be, which was a big disappointment
to Katie, who had by then learned to play the bass guitar to all of
their songs, hoping to join them.
She went to college, learned
a trade and got a job, all the time wanting to sing. It was whilst
out on a night out that she went to see an Irish band and found out
that they were looking for a bass player and although she hadn't any
real experience working live, having always just played along to music
on her hifi, Katie joined them, playing bass and singing mainly harmonies.
The band did very well, playing venues all over the UK and abroad, playing
mainly Irish music to Irish audiences. However, her real passion
was to sing Country music and when added to the fact that the band already
had a superb singer, who wanted to do the majority of the lead vocals,
and understandably so, unfortunately, this hastened her departure from
On nights when the band weren't gigging, Katie would play bass for other bands when their own bass player couldn't make a gig. She has also worked as a session singer, including laying down harmonies on tracks for bands needing backing vocals for recording CDs. She found that very enjoyable but preferred to be on stage as opposed to singing behind a curtain.
Katie then spent a short spell
singing in various guises whilst studying the Country scene, with a
view to establishing herself as a Country act. Not knowing anybody
to get advice from, she and her partner, Adrian, who thought she had
a lot to offer the Country music scene, decided to go visiting Country
clubs and realised that there was plenty of room out there for another
female singer as they seemed to be at a premium.
On one occasion whilst watching
Blue Orchid, Katie got talking to them and they invited her to get up
and sing a couple of songs. She did and, as a result was immediately
given her own booking in that same club, which was to be her debut night
as a solo artiste.
She then worked solidly perfecting
her show in readiness for her debut night in May 2006, trying to please
everybody, the show consisted of a bit of all types of Country; some
slow, some fast, some old, some new, some classics, some definitely
not, including an original song penned by BL Locklin, who was in attendance
on the night to hear her perform it. By May 2006, Katie was ready
for her one and only gig, at the Lever Club. The evening was a
resounding success, and included guest spots from BJ Locklin and Pat
Having a show and the ability
and enthusiasm to perform, all she needed now was bookings, which, as
everybody is well aware of, can be very difficult to obtain for new
artistes, since many clubs will not book acts without having seen them
first, and obviously they will never see them if they have no bookings
- catch 22! She then asked her partner if he would assist her
to get bookings, which he did, and the rest, as they say, is history!
Since Katie's debut night,
she hasn't looked back. Being a bubbly, happy go lucky type
of person, and a bit of a joker in real life, she has developed her
show with a touch of tongue in cheek banter with her audience. She says
she has made an enormous amount of personal friends who she holds close
to her heart. She says artistes need people like these in the
crowd to give the artiste the belief in themselves. She says 'Without
an audience, I am nothing', which is very true.
In September 2006, an opportunity
then came along to tour with Heather Myles as part of her backing band
‘The Cadillac Cowboys' playing bass and singing backing vocals due
to the fact that her own bass player was unable to travel. She did that
first tour with Heather's band in September and October 2006, travelling
to France, Norway and Holland (where the live DVD was recorded), amongst
other places. She has since toured with Heather Myles on two further
European tours, performing in Spain, Billy Bob's C&W Saloon at
Euro Disney in Paris, Holland again, Norway, Switzerland (opening up
for The Bellamy Brothers), Sweden & France again, to name but a
few of the venues. On one particular date in Spain, Danni
Leigh was in attendance and got up and did a guest spot with the band,
which was another great experience.
Katie loved these tours and
dreams that one day she might be lucky enough to play such venues in
her own name.
She has perfected her act so
that now she is able to perform to all audiences. For added professionalism
she has a soundman (her partner) present on all her gig.
Her favourite songs she likes
to perform are power ballads, to show her vocal talent, but knows that
she can't sing those kind of songs all night long!
As well as being a huge fan
of traditional Country music, Katie also loves more modern styles and
her repertoire of songs includes some very up-to-date material, e.g.,
Kelly Pickler, Lee Ann Womack, Julie Roberts, etc.
Last year Katie played at a
few festivals, which, although she found very nerve wracking, had a
great time. She has been booked to do more festivals this year
(including Skipton, Oswestry, Morecambe and Ayr) and is really looking
forward to them.
So far she hasn't recorded a CD as she has been spending most of her time perfecting the songs she sings on stage and also learning new material, but she assures everybody that her first CD will be out by the summer.
She is now starting to spread
her wings and is playing much farther afield, including Scotland and
some gigs in Belfast later this year.
Katie hasn't decided which
way she wants to go with her Country music as the music is so varied,
so she is learning all types of songs. She knows there's so
much to learn and she's learning all the time. Some day she
would like to write her own songs. In the meantime, she's going
to carry on trying to please all of the people all of the time. As for
the future? She just wants to see where the music takes her!