As part of the City of East Lansing’s 2017 Summer Concert Series, Kathleen & the Bridge Street Band will perform at the Ann Street Plaza (corner of Albert and M.A.C. Avenues) in downtown East Lansing on Friday, Aug. 18 at 7 p.m.
Consisting of Lead vocalist Kathleen Walters, Tim Brouhard (bass), Doug Fritch (guitar, bass), Jon Gewirtz (saxophone), and Eric Payne (drums), Kathleen & the Bridge Street Band provides the Lansing area with a soulful blues soundtrack.
Walters, spoke with ELi about playing gigs, finding her voice, and dealing with nervousness.
“It wasn’t until 1995 when a co-worker introduced me to blues at a weekend jam in his north side garage,” Walters said. “Within a couple of weeks, I was asked to form a band with local musicians Jason Strotheide (The Hoopties), Andy Wilson (Steppin’ In It) and Jim Gleason (The Capitols).”
After that band broke up, Walters found herself at open mic nights and local jam sessions, longing for a band of her own again.
“I appeared as featured vocalist for Frog and the Beeftones for a few years until I got the nerve to start my own band, The Blues Junkies,” Walters said.
While her first love was country, when the blues bug hit Walters, she admits it was difficult to find her own voice in a genre known for its iconic powerhouses and unique raspy tones.
“When I started singing blues, I listened to Etta James, Etta James, and Etta James,” Walters said. “I finally had to learn some lyrics and step away from listening to Etta in order to find my own sound and voice. There is no one that can match her sound and passion.”
The band plays blues, soul, R&B, and some country-tinged tunes every now and then. Some of the group’s influences include Freddie King, Bonnie Raitt, and Keb Mo. Walters, the frontwoman of the group is nationally known as a little lady with a big voice, and displays a seasoned grasp of the blues genre. Before shows though, there are still some nervous butterflies for the singer.
“Once I get past my nervousness (generally into the first song of the show), then I just love the experience of performing,” Walters said. “The band always sounds so great and I’m singing songs that I love. I can just lose myself in a song and when I’m performing; I forget all the stuff of life that is painful, stressful and heartbreaking.”