On the road to Memphis, Tenn., The Karen Lovely Band stopped in at the Tidings Café studio for a mini-concert treat.
After a bout with stage fright and raising children, Karen Lovely, an Ashlander for 16 years, got back to flexing her vocal chords about a year and a half ago.
Bob DiChiro, bass, adds a funky and cool persona to the blues group; Allen Crutcher, keyboards, kept his fingers busy; Joe Diehl, guitar, plays some mean riffs and works with a couple other area bands; and Teri Cote, drummer, is a rare female drummer who has toured with David Cassidy.
They brought with them more equipment than any Café performer so far. It was a tight squeeze to get them all in range of the two video cameras. Chasing around Crutcher's pesky keyboard stand's rubber feet that just didn't want to stay put was an amusing experience he's clearly tired of in the set up process.
It took two takes and an increase in tempo to get the song "No Good at Love" just right to the group's ears. They also blew the spectators away with a deep and growling performance of "Still the Rain."
As Karen sang the songs she seemed to pull the lyrics from somewhere deep inside with her nose ring sparkling in the bright studio lights and sweat pouring from her brow. A newspaper circulation driver was drawn in to the studio by the music for a little break.
"No Good at Love" was written by Dennis Walker and Alan Mirikitani, a three-time Grammy-winning producer, according to Lovely. The band has been writing its own songs as of late and plans to continue.
This rising group has a busy summer ahead after having a No. 1 song, "Lucky Girl," on XM radio's pick to click on the Bluesville channel.
"We moved up 30 places in six weeks," Lovely said.
On July 4 they will compete in the Journey to Memphis blues band competition in Vancouver, Wash. Should they win this next round they will be in the finals in Memphis. Later in July they will record in Los Angeles and Memphis with big names in the music industry.
"We play locally even though we're touring out," assured Lovely, mentioning Alex's and Roscoe's as two favorite venues.
"It's (local music) coming back to life, an incredibly exciting time with venues that totally support live music," observed Lovely.
The Karen Lovely Band will perform throughout the valley this summer, including: June 14 at the Jackson County Expo for an Access Benefit; Aug. 28 at Britt; and Aug. 29 in Klammath Falls at the Klammath Blues Fest.
The Karen Lovely Band video performance is available on the Tidings Café group page of connectashland.com and on the Ashland Daily Tidings Web site, dailytidings.com.