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Cathy Richardson rose to Chicago rock royalty in the 90's with her powerful, soulful voice leading her wildly popular namesake band, relentlessly pummeling the Midwest college and festival circuit turning in some 150 shows a year. An engagingly entertaining performer, her shows are the stuff of local legend (check out some of the videos on her website) and her catalogue of 7 self-released CDs have marked sales of over 30,000 thanks to her devoted fan base and steady rotation from great Chicago radio stations like WXRT.
Over the last decade, her career has taken a few colorful turns that steered her out of the local scene and into the International spotlight, smack in the middle of the rock ní roll history that inspired her to rock. Along the way she's continued releasing new records, picked up a Grammy Nomination, four DIY Music Awards... and a Doobie Award from High Times Magazine.
Richardson's real life rock n' roll persona led to her discovery for the role of Janis Joplin in the original Off Broadway cast of the show Love, Janis where she channeled the late music legend to rave reviews in New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Arizona. The San Francisco Chronicle said, "when Richardson pours her magnificent, flexible voice into one of Joplin's signature numbers... the experience is more real than any live recording ever captured." In 2007, she toured the US with Janisí original band members Big Brother and the Holding Co. on the Summer of Love 40th Anniversary Tour.
Headlining that tour was the legendary classic rock band Jefferson Starship, led by founding member and Rock Hall Inductee Paul Kantner, who took note of Richardsonís show stealing performances with Big Brother and, consequently, asked her to join them the following year. Music critic Greg M. Schwartz at Bullz-eye.com named Richardson Breakout Artist of 2008 for her work with Jefferson Starship, who released their first album in over a decade, Jeffersonís Tree of Liberty and toured the US and beyond, from Tokyo to London.
2009 ushered in the 40th Anniversary of the famed Woodstock Music and Art Fair and Richardson, who was born in 1969, once again found herself in the spotlight standing in for another one of her musical heroines (this time the inimitable Grace Slick) on the Heroes of Woodstock tour. Headlining major venues across the United States and Europe, including the site of the original Woodstock in Bethel, NY on the actual anniversary, Richardson sang with Jefferson Starship playing the set that Jefferson Airplane played when they headlined the original Woodstock in 1969. Grateful Dead keyboardist TC (aka Tom Constanten) sat in nightly for mini-Dead sets and the occasional Janis cover. A film crew documented the Woodstock reunion tour for a forthcoming 3D concert film experience called the Road to Woodstock. What a long, strange trip, indeed.
When not on tour filling in for rock legends, Richardson has a smoking band to cover her own epic musical catalog, featuring the amazing Jude Gold on guitar (besides being an absolutely monstrous player, heís the Director of the Guitar Institute in LA and a longtime editor at Guitar Player Magazine) Jon Herrera on bass (so obsessed with his instrument that he is also an editor at Bass Player Magazine) and rock veteran Donny Baldwin on drums (Richardsonís bandmate in Jefferson Starship) , as well as longtime friend and Chicago-based fiddle player, Anne Harris.
Fans can always expect a high-energy, soul-spilling show filled with favorites from Richardsonís vault of tunes, inside out interpretations of unexpected covers (like her Janis-ified version of Madonnaís Take a Bow) far-out jams by virtuouso musicians, and plenty of room for the off-beat spontaneity of Richardsonís in-the-moment style of performing.
Richardson fans will likely be thrilled her by her next major musical endeavor- The Macrodots, an amped up, hard-rocking collaboration with San Francisco guitarist/songwriter/producer Zack Smith. Their debut album the Other Side, in the works for the past three years, will be unveiled in 2010, but you can get a sneak peek at the work in progress at