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It is that exploration of the ordinary and a need to differentiate that led Hussey to ponder the universal idea of finding one’s place in this world. “Emily” presents the true-life story of a dead-end bartender who dreams of owning a café and tells herself “that it won’t be too long until you are free” (Emily quit the bar and made her move the day after hearing this song!). In “The Same Mary”, the subject is in life’s twilight while mentally remaining “the pillow fight champion of the world/catcher of lightning bugs/bull frogs and garden slugs/climber of sky-tall trees.” The song is punctuated with an effectively time-shifting, cinematic, dream-like guitar riff. And recognizing the re-cyclical nature of life, Hussey sings, “Love may come and love may go/life may ebb and life may flow/remember me when I am gone/sing my memory…in your song” (“Sing My Memory”).
Hussey’s focused examination of the mystery of human experience is as crystal clear as her pure vocal delivery. Her unflinching acknowledgement of her own regrets and foibles prompts the listener to look within as well as around. With a nod to to her roving childhood, Hussey apologizes to old friends that she was “raised to leave behind” (“Out of Sight, Out of Mind”) but also muses that “a goodbye can’t help promising hello” (“Other Side of that Hill”).
With music ranging from pop-tinged folk to bluegrass-hued hip-hop, and the occasional suggestion of Celtic influence, “Moments of Wonder” appeals to the intelligent listener. The new collection was produced by Nashville session drummer (and husband) Bob Mater, engineered by Grammy-winner Bil Vorndick (Alison Krauss, Peter Rowan, Jerry Douglas, Ralph Stanley) and features Mike Henderson, Byron House, Tim O’Brien, Bryan Sutton and Andrea Zonn.
Dirty Linen magazine declared Kathy Hussey “a songwriter to watch.” Other recording artists and peers agree. An award-winning songwriter, Hussey has earned top honors in the Kerrville Folk Festival’s New Folk Competition (Winner 2003; Finalist 2002); Mountain Stage Newsongs Contest (Top 5 Winner, 2003); Suwannee Springfest Song Competition (2nd Place 2005); and recently won the Grand Prize in the Great American Song Contest. Her songs have been recorded by Carmel Sheerin and the Bluegrass Ravens (“Sing My Memory”); E.G. Kight (“Skin Deep”); Natalie Cote (“If Wishes Were Horses”) and Tejano artist Anna Roman (“Whatever Happened to Us?”; “American Dream”).
On stage, Hussey’s warm energy, honesty and humor inspire audiences to listen with their hearts, and frequently share their own life stories with Kathy after the show. She performs most often as a solo act as well as with a full band or as a combo, has opened for Blues Traveler, Phish, Steppenwolf, 10,000 Maniacs, among others, and continues to perform with Dead Set, [a Grateful Dead cover band] when her tour schedule permits.
When the ever-ambitious Hussey is not on the road performing, teaching, or presenting her insightful tunes at songwriting competitions, she’s hosting her writer’s night in Music City USA which began more than a decade ago. It’s a distinct departure from the typical Nashville writer’s night and has earned a devoutly loyal following. “We do all kinds of fun things...there’s the title of the month exercise called Debut Tuesday, Campfire Circles, and Circle Work (a group-write where everyone contributes one line at a time around the circle).
Considering Hussey’s down-to-earth warmth and her innate curiousity, it’s no wonder that she has a strong affinity for kids, and they for her. Hussey has declared it her personal mission to “inspire, enrich and elevate” young people by encouraging them to express themselves creatively. She continues to meet this challenge working as the Director of Camp Summersong (Nashville, TN; since 1999); and teaching songwriting workshops for both kids and adults (Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp - Steamboat Springs, CO; Creede Arts Council – Creede, CO; Country Music Hall of Fame Words & Music Program – Nashville, TN, Kid Pan Alley - nationwide). Additionally, Hussey indulges in her love for the outdoors and horses as a trail guide, and an avid backpacker. She also shares her infectious creative spirit with hundreds of young women enrolled in Girl Scouts of America via her tie-dye workshops, earning her the affectionate title of “The Tie-Dye Lady.”
Hussey’s enthusiasm for life is exactly what inspired the title of her new album. In the lead track (“We Are The Day”), Hussey sings, “we are morning and twilight/we are darkness and highlight/ we are silence and thunder/we are moments of wonder”.
Hussey continues to anticipate whatever journey lies ahead and to write lyrics that remind us it is the questions themselves, not necessarily the answers, that provide our greatest moments of wonder. So, CAN you change your life overnight? What IS on the other side? According to track #9 of this latest CD, “What’s on the other side of that hill? I don’t know. But that’s why I have to go”.
With any luck, your town is on the other side of that hill, and you’ll find Kathy Hussey there one of these days, sharing her stories, and gathering some new ones.
(By the way, “topless” in French is “les seins nus”, literally: naked breasts. Kathy sings about hers in the song “La Bonne Glace”).