The Kelly Richey Band

By Paul Moffett

Kelly Richey's telephone voice is as soft, mellow and laid-back as her guitar playing is hot, fast and energetic.

"I've got a new bass player," she said for openers. "Terry Williamson, he's an old rocker that we got from a semi-okay country band."

"I am as confident with this band as I have been with any other," she went on. "We're writing all the time, on the way to being an all-original band." The Kelly Richey Band is a power trio in the Stevie Ray Vaughan vein, with more than a little Jimi Hendrix tossed in for flavor. At a recent showcase at the Phoenix Hill Tavern, Richey had the many players in the room walking around asking, "Who is that woman?" after her set. The showcase was staged by Preferred Artists and also featured da Mudcats, the Predators and Low Rider.

Richey said that many of the new tunes deal with racial issues. She has been having a series of conversations with a black woman writer she met at a writer's group. Richey said that the result has been a flood of material. Her favorites to date are "City Between the Lines" and "Sister's Got a Problem." Recording for the album will be in the fall, with a Christmas release planned.

She will acknowledge her rock 'n' roll musical route, particularly the 'drugs' part. The band is now clean and sober and they plan to stay that way.

"I saw what happened to Bonnie Raitt and Stevie Ray Vaughan when they got sober. They could still play."

Richey has quite a collection of road stories. She's particularly fond of telling about how she sat in with Albert King in Nashville. After he sat down and talked with her, he sent her out on stage to play the first song.

"He told me 'Not don't you make me ashamed.' " Richey laughed and went on, "He kept me up there the whole show.

"I learned a whole lot that night."

Richey said that the band was planning to play more in the Louisville area. They will be appearing at Maier's Tavern on August 27 & 28.