Steve Wildsmith

A cross between Rolling Stone, Soldier of Fortune and the Oxford American

Archive for the ‘Kata Hay’ tag

Catching up with Kata Hay

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It’s no secret that we’re fans of Kata Hay, killer solo artist, former bandleader of Kata Hay and The Blaze and front woman for The Grassabillies. We did a cover story on her back in February, and we caught up with her again last month prior to the ‘Billies opening up Sunday’s portion of the 2010 Foothills Fall Festival. Now comes a couple of items of note regarding Ms. Hay and her aspiring musical career …

  • “Shake Weight.” You’re seen it touted as an exercise tool (no pun intended) on “As Seen on TV” ads, but you’re probably more familiar with it as a pop-culture punchline. Fortunately, the manufacturers of the jiggling barbell have a good sense of humor, and they’re holding a “Shake Weight Jingle” competition for musicians around the country. Ms. Hay has entered, and we have to admit — hers is cute, sassy and quite catchy. Although an untold number of entries were received, Shake Weight officials picked only 25 for the top prize — $25,000 plus the jingle appearing in an upcoming ad campaign. “This money could help me get the editing and recording equipment I need to further my career,” she says in a press release. Check out all of the jingles here; scroll down to Kata’s jingle by going three rows down; hers is on the left. (Or you can just watch it by clicking here.) Click on “VOTE” underneath to select hers.
  • Now comes word that, last week, the audience of “The Jimmy Kimmel Show” got an unexpected surprise when, during the untelevised pre-show, the host found out Hay — also a nationwide yodeling champ — was in the audience. He pulled her onstage to yodel for the studio audience,  and the crowd went crazy. She was voted “most valuable audience member” and got a handful of prizes. But that’s not all — the next night, Hay and her husband, upright bass player Robbie Helton, went to a taping of “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” and once again she was pulled onstage to yodel for the studio audience. They finished up their trip by competing on the game show “Let’s Make a Deal,” hosted by Wayne Brady. The airdate is still being finalized.

FREE MUSIC! Download “Flowers on the Mountain,” by The Grassabillies: Right-click here (choose “Save Link As” or “Save Target As”)

VIDEO LINKS! The Grassabillies on stage at the 2010 Foothills Fall Festival (featuring Kata yodeling!) … and a backstage interview with the band!

News from the Twitterverse …

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If you don’t Twitter, you’re missing out on what’s fast becoming a new way to spread information. (And be entertained. Especially by following me.) Some information regarding the East Tennessee music scene that’s been bandied about on the Twitterverse today:

  • Friday night’s show at the Civic Coliseum by rapper Yo Gotti and Waka Flocka Flame has been cancelled. No word on the why, but a call to the Coliseum box office confirms that, yes, it really is cancelled — no April Fool’s joke there — but the reason is a mystery. Call the box office at 215-8999 to inquire about a refund.
  • Secondly, today’s appearance on “Eleven O’Clock Rock,” the Internet show broadcast on Knox iVi, marked the last official performance by Sevierville-based bluegrass outfit Kata and thde Blaze. We did a cover story on Kata a few months back about the release of a new CD with her other band, The Grassabillies, and online, she says the move is a good one. “It’s the beginning of a brand new solo career… It’s sad, but exciting all at once. :) ,” she Tweets.

Written by wildsmith

April 1st, 2010 at 10:52 am

The lovely Kata Hay showcases talent, wins award

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It’s no secret that I’m a fan of the talented local Americana phenom Kata Hay, who performs with both Kata and The Blaze and The Grassabillies. So any chance I get to wave her flag, I take. She sent me an e-mail with a link to a great little story about a recent trip she took to Oklahoma. You can go here to read it in its entirety, or save yourself a trip and check it out below:

Kata Hay recently returned to her childhood home of Oklahoma, to perform a showcase at The Oklahoma Centennial Rodeo Opry. 3 years had passed since her last performance on Oklahoma soil. Kata moved to East Tennessee in early 2005 to join the local music theatre scene. After performing at several area theatre’s, she decided she wanted to put the focus on her own original music. Since then her schedule has been filled between her performances with her bands, and keeping up with her ever growing international internet fan base. She averages a view on Youtube every 10 seconds, and receives over 150 emails a day.

The Oklahoma Centennial Rodeo Opry was founded by Grant Leftwich, who pioneered the Opry concept in Oklahoma as a showcase to give up-and-coming performers experience and exposure. He was the Executive Director, show producer, coach and mentor, gently shepherding thousands of young artists through weekly shows from 1977 until his passing in 2006. “Grant really saw something special in Kata”, said Cindy Scarberry, current Executive Director of the Oklahoma Centennial Rodeo Opry. She surprised Kata during the middle of her spotlight performance on January 9th with the very first “Grant Leftwich Legacy Award”. Cindy presented Kata with a beautiful gold engraved plaque that said, “Your courage to follow your dreams and determination in developing your craft is an inspiration that personifies the legacy of our founder, Grant Leftwich”. Kata, after a few moments to wipe the tears from her eyes said, “This is by far the most amazing award I’ve ever received, including winning Ed McMahon’s Star Search, I’m in shock, thank you SO much!”

Kata performs all across the country with her Alternative Country band, Kata & The Blaze as well as with the Rockin’ Bluegrass band, The Grassabillies. To learn more about Kata and to hear her music visit her bands websites, www.kataandtheblaze.com and www.grassabillies.com. The Oklahoma Centennial Rodeo Opry is a stair step for young entertainers in the Midwest. Reba McEntire and Bryan White are just a couple of the stars who have performed on the Opry stage before making their big moves to Tennessee, and becoming Country superstars. “Kata Hay has a special gift, she is still out there chasing her dreams, and this was just a small way for us to show her our support, and belief in her and her talents”. The Rodeo Opry is a nonprofit organization, if you’d like more information on the Rodeo Opry and their mission visit their website, www.rodeoopry.com.

Written by wildsmith

January 19th, 2010 at 11:47 am

“Back on the clock, Richie …”

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So I’m back from a week off after extensive coverage of the Foothills Fall Festival, and rather than post a bunch of blog entries to catch you up on everything, here’s what’s been shaking of late …

  • Remember when I told you about Club Catalyst in the Old City (the short-lived club located where Blue Cats used to be) closing its doors? Several upcoming shows originally scheduled to take place there have been relocated to other venues. (And, more importantly, kick-ass PR girl and all-around great music scene supporter Andrea Kerns has found work at Southbound Bar and Grill, also in the Old City, essentially doing the same PR gig.) On the shuffled schedule: Unknown Hinson with Jocephus and the George Jonestown Massacre will take place at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 29, at Southbound, 106 S. Central St. in the Old City. Tickets are $15 in advance/$18 at the door, and you can read all about our past coverage of Mr. Hinson here. He’s quite the showman. A show headlined by local rockers Crome Molly (along with Swing Shot, Corpse Wax Dollies, Numb and Headstone) will take place at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 30, on the outside stage behind Southbound; tickets to that show are $5. The show by Hank III and Assjack, featuring openers Those Poor Bastards, will also take place at Southbound at 7 p.m. Nov. 2; tickets are also $15 and 18. Finally, Satisfaction: A Tribute to the Rolling Stones will take place at 8 p.m. Nov. 5 at Southbound; tickets are $10 in advance/$12 at the door.
  • Speaking of Southbound, the venue is not hosting a new dance-oriented bar: 90 Proof Nightclub is located at 104 S. Central St., over Southbound proper. On its website, the venue bills itself as “a nightclub dedicated to playing nothing but the ’90s. At 90 Proof, you can request any songs that helped shape the music of this great time. Every Friday and Saturday night, you can come here the DJ playing songs by Will Smith, N Sync, Puff Daddy, Mase, Tupac, etc. … We have Knoxville’s only New Orleans-style balcony overlooking the Old City. We are a 21 and up club and proper dress is required.”
  • Remember our cover story on local honky-tonk heroes The Drunk Uncles from back in August? Well, the boys — three of whom call Blount County home — finally have a new CD, “Smashed Hits,” ready for public consumption. (No word if it comes with a warning sticker.) Here’s more from “Uncle” Jeff Barbra: “Howdy all. Here’s the special: If you are one of the first 100 people to pre-order ‘Smashed Hits,’ here’s what you get — a special $12 price, FREE SHIPPING, The Drunk Uncles autograph it for you and you get your name in the credits on the CD. Remember folks, these make GREAT stocking stuffers for Christmas, too!” Here’s the link to pre-order.
  • From my buddy Randall Brown, calendar/music guru extraordinaire over at the Sentinel and long-time local musician currently fronting the band Quartjar: “Live at The Bistro at the Bijou (807 S. Gay St., downtown Knoxville), it’s the 2009 Quartjar Halloween Special! Our second annual gig of spookiness. This year’s show will feature Quartjar, Knoxville’s premier blues-rock-with-original-lyrics-jam-punk-trio; frighteningly fun new songs; crazy classic hits; terrifyingly impromptu instrumentals; The Phantom Drummer; hauntingly historic atmosphere; eerily amiable banter; fine cuisine and the mystery: Will Scary Santa frighten the crowds again this year? No one knows!” When: 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31. Admission cost: free. (Please note that this is a full-band Quartjar performance, as opposed to a solo Randall Brown performance.) Check out Quartjar on Myspace.
  • News from Christina Horn, the lovely frontwoman of melodic pop-rock outfit Hudson K: “We have a new member. His name is Jeff Christmas and he plays the guitar and bass. Not at the same time of course! We are honored and thrilled to have him on board. You can hear him on November 7th The Pilot Light (106 S. Central St. in Knoxville’s Old City) show. (Local singer-songwriter) Erick Baker has asked Nate (Barrett) and I to join him on his next string of shows. If you live in Chattanooga we will be playing Rhythm and Brews on October 28th. Please come out to that show if you live in Chattanooga as it will be a good one. We will also have the experience of playing on the same stage as Kiss, Eminem, the Flaming Lips and P-Funk….WHOA! Hold on to your Halloween costumes. I hope I can make it and not FREAK out! This means our Pres Pub show on October 29th has been cancelled. HOWEVER, the Stereofidelics will be playing. They are awesome and we consider them one of our favorite bands. So if you live in Knoxville, check out that show starting at 10pm. We will make our hometown show up by playing the PILOT LIGHT on November 7th! Please come out, it will be a special show! Hudson K was also chosen to compete in Sound Off! Our scheduled date is December 2nd at The Square Room (4 Market Square, downtown Knoxville). The show starts at 8 p.m. and there will be music industry judges there to pick a winner! We need your help. Audience applause is a big part of the scoring!”
  • One of our favorite local rock/country/musical chicks, Kata Hay (of Kata and The Blaze and The Grassabillies), has paired with Daisy Rock Guitars, Elixir Strings and Lakota Leathers for a special YouTube contest. Those who enter must cover one of Kata’s original songs, and the winner (chosen by Kata herself) will receive a Daisy Rock acoustic guitar and accessory pack, including some Elixir strings and a Lakota Leathers hand-made bison guitar strap. It’s just one of many good things happening with the fiery-haired goddess of Sevier County — she and the band just played to a packed house at Nashville’s fabled Bluebird Cafe, and on Nov. 3, they’ll headline “Billy Block’s Western Beats,” live from 12th and Porter in Nashville. Those interested in entering the YouTube contest should check out details on Kata’s website.

Kata Hay remembers Ed McMahon

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The venerable Ed McMahon passed away this week, and while he hasn’t been in the spotlight in recent years like he was as Johnny Carson’s sidekick, he’ll still be remembered as one of the all-time great sidemen and hosts in show business.

In fact, Sevierville bluegrass girl Kata Hay — who leads Kata and the Blaze — released a statement in the wake of his death, which I’ll post below. First, we bow to Ms. Hay, who’s a doll in every sense of the word and one of our favorite people with whom to work. Here’s a photo, in fact, of her as a little girl — when she competed on “Star Search,” hosted by McMahon — and one of her all grown up.

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Here’s what she had to say …

With the recent passing of television legend Ed McMahon, there are many across the world who are grieving his loss. One East Tennessee girl remembers him well…
At 5 years old Kata Hay (Then Kata Huddleston) received a call from Orlando telling her that she had been chosen to be on Ed McMahon’s Star Search. For a small town girl this was one of the most incredible things that could happen. She of course jumped up and down on her Barbie Bed for hours after hearing the news. Three weeks later she was on a plane to Florida.
Kata remembers her time there “I was only 5 when I was on Star Search, but I have lots of memories of the time. It was amazing, my family and I stayed in the MIDDLE of Disney World for two weeks while filming my episodes on Star Search. We went to Disney World, Sea World, and Busch Gardens all for free on days off from taping. Though the days taping the show are what are most vivid in my memory. Meeting all of the interesting people competing on the show, super models, comedians, dancers, and other singers. I had people worrying about every hair being in place, doing my make-up and helping me with my wardrobe. I thought I was a little princess. I remember Ed would come in before every show to put everyone in a great mood for the taping. Everytime he would walk in with a cup in his hand like he was sipping on coffee… After a killer one liner that had us all rolling in the floor, he would pretend to trip and spill the “coffee” on some of us, of course it ended up being confetti. Ed would come by and see every contestant after the show, shake all the guys hands, and kiss all the girls on the cheek and talk to us all for a minute. He even let my dad and I go back in his dressing room with him and took some photo’s. I’ll never forget how gracious, and incredible he was. I’ve met lots of celebrities over the years, but Ed honestly was one of the most amazing by far. Everyone from the lighting guy to the cue card holder was made to feel important. I know there are lots of people who will really be missing Ed, including myself. My prayers are certainly with his friends and family today. We’ll miss you Ed!”
Star Search was only the beginning of greater things to come, Kata has been an entertainer for 20 of her 22 years in this world. She’s opened for likes of Merle Haggard, LeAnn Rimes, Rascal Flatts, just to name a few, and even has a song appearing in an upcoming film this summer… If you’d like to know what she’s up to now, just check out her bands website www.kataandtheblaze.com …

Written by wildsmith

June 24th, 2009 at 3:51 pm