Candye Kane Is No "Aging Fetish Model Exploiting the Blues"
Blues songstress Candye Kane is imploring her legion of devotional fans "Please write to this jerk, Jay Horton at the Williamette Weekly in Portland, and tell him that I am so much more than an 'aging fetish model exploiting the blues.' I cant believe this guy chalks up my entire three decade long career to 'half hearted attempts at swing, punk and country.'"
Kane says she pours her heart into everything she does, and there's nothing half hearted about her. "If he doesn't like the CD Sister Vagabond, so be it, but to say I have a 'worrisome trend toward self seriousness and mawkish balladry' insults all the great musicians on Sister Vagabond, including Laura Chavez. I guess Horton is right about one thing, fighting pancreatic cancer does tend to make a person more serious. I don't get why someone would even write a cruel preview like this one...I know this is just one idiot's opinion, but it's so insulting."
"It is also an insult to all blues fans, calling us 'the sort of folks who plan civil war re-enactments'...most of all, I hate when my band is just marginalized for decisions I made to support myself, decades ago. The whole thing stinks."
Raised in a dysfunctional, blue-collar family, Candye Kane became a teenage mother, a pinup cover girl and a punk rock, hillbilly, and blues-belting anarchist by the time she was just 21 years old. Eight CDs, six record labels, millions of international road miles, and countless awards later, Miss Kane has proven to be a true survivor as she scrambled her way to the top of the roots music heap, creating a world-renowned reputation that has spanned two decades.
Kane first gained attention after being signed by CBS Records in 1986, though the label later dropped her. Then married to Thomas Yearsley of the Paladins, she was touched by the music of Big Maybelle, Big Mama Thornton, Ruth Brown, and more. Her self-released 1991 album Burlesque Swing caught the ear of Texas impresario Clifford Antone, who signed her to a deal with Antone’s Records.
Los Lobos’ Cesar Rosas and Paladin/Hacienda Brother/Stone River Boy Dave Gonzalez co-produced the first album of the deal, Home Cookin’. Picked up by Discovery (later Sire) Records, the Dave Alvin/Derek O’Brien-produced Diva La Grande was followed by Swango, released during the height of the swing craze.
She moved to Oceanside around 1991 and began evolving musically into an accomplished blues belter. Rounder/Bullseye Records signed her in 1995, releasing The Toughest Girl Alive, produced by Scott Billington. Four albums followed on the German RUF label, including the Bob Margolin-produced Guitar’d and Feathered. In 2008, Ruf Records released a live album featuring Kane, Deborah Coleman, and Dani Wilde.
A new musical based on Kane's early life story, The Toughest Girl in the World, debuted in workshops at the Diversionary Theatre in January 2009. The production includes many of her songs, with guest pianist Sue Palmer, a longtime Kane associate.
In 2009, Kane signed with Los Angeles label Delta Groove Records. The subsequent album Superhero was nominated for Best Contemporary Blues CD in the Blues Foundation's Blues Music Awards. Around the same time, she battled -- and beat -- pancreatic cancer.
In 2010, she completed her autobiographical stage play The Toughest Girl Alive. It debuted January 15, 2011 at the Moxie Theater, running through February 6.
Early 2011 also saw two Kane albums: The Best of Candye Kane: Songs from the Toughest Girl Alive Stageplay includes her 23 original compositions for her autobiographical stage show, while a new CD version of Burlesque Swing became available at CDBaby.com.
In summer 2011, she released a new album, Sister Vagabond. “I take things one day at a time and today I am feeling great and very optimistic about my new CD,” Kane says. It’s been awesome to write and co-produce again with my guitarist Laura Chavez. I am grateful for every chance I get to make music live, or in the studio. Most people are given only three months to live after a pancreatic cancer diagnosis and three years later, I am still here. So any opportunity I have to create music makes me humbled and grateful.”
“People ask me why I want to work so hard and so much, since I tour 250 days a year. Everyone says I should stay home and relax after my health struggle. But music is my life and neuroendocrine cancer is a mostly manageable disease. I will continue to work as much as I can because I know life is fragile anyway. I would be fine if I died onstage doing what I love like Country Dick Montana or Johnny Guitar Watson. I’m not planning on going anytime soon, but when I do exit this plane, I hope it’s making someone else feel inspired by the powerful words in my songs.”
Her eleventh album Sister Vagabond hit the streets on August 16, 2011, on Delta Groove Records. The album was produced by Kane and her guitarist Laura Chavez: the same duo did her previous album in 2010, Superhero. Her Toughest Girl Alive autobiographical stage musical opened in New York City on August 14.
Sister Vagabond hit #1 on the Living Blues Charts, as well as earning a pick-to-click slot on the XM/Sirius radio program Bluesville. Her son Evan, after eight years with her touring band, has left the group (“we both agreed it was time to go our separate ways for awhile”), to be replaced by Baldhead Fred Rautmann.
More like this:
- Cue the blues: R.I.P. Candye Kane — May 7, 2016
- Post-Pancreatic Cancer Surgery, Candye Kane Touring U.S., France, Holland — Aug. 6, 2012
- Candye Kane's Cancer Surgery Successful, but... — May 18, 2012
- Candye Kane Battling Cancer Again — Jan. 19, 2012
- Candye Kane Booted From Blues Fest Over Porn Past — Aug. 8, 2011