“Every person has a unique set of experiences and stories. These are mine,” says alternative country singer Katie Grace of her solo album, Best Bad Girl.
That’s a pretty loaded title for a girl with such a sweet-sounding name, but Katie Grace is not exactly the naïve and inexperienced musician most imagine her to be. When she first began singing, the former Catholic-school-girl-by-day paid her dues at night playing every local dive bar in her native Detroit. The exposure led her to become a bassist for alt-country bands like Doop and the Inside Outlaws, and Shotgun Wedding. She’s also been part of The Salt Miners, a traditional roots music quartet, and an all-female bluegrass ensemble known as Syreens. With these stints under her belt, she’s taken all that she’s learned over the years and channeled it into her first solo record.
Best Bad Girl not only features Katie’s lead vocals, but also her acoustic guitar and piano playing skills which are pretty awesome, for lack of a better way to put it. Along with Matt D’mitts on guitar and backing vocals, bassist Greg Beyer and drummer Alex Trajano, she delivers a slightly less aggressive performance than you’d expect, but one that showcases her incredible voice nonetheless. She has this natural, gritty tone which adds a seductive quality to upbeat tracks such as “Hey, Bartender” and “Not Welcome Here No More.” Yet that same raspiness gives ballads like “Last Goodbye” and “When You’re Around” a feeling of urgency that fills you with poignant longing. I was especially impressed by how controlled her vocals are, making her sound so mature for someone so young. Just picture a mashup of Natalie Merchant and Sarah McLachlan and add some country twang for good measure, and you’ll understand what I’m talking about.
Best Bad Girl doesn’t turn out to be as high-energy as the title suggests, but it’s still a solid effort from a young up-and-coming artist. For more information on Best Bad Girl, please visit Katie Grace’s website.