Artist Name: Cat Rolfes
Song Title: Mamma Said
Genre: Southern Roots Rock
Release Date: 3/17/18
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Cat Rolfes – Momma Said
Singer-songwriter Cat Rolfes grew up in New Orleans and was exposed to the city’s multicultural melting pot of music early on. She first started writing and playing music as a child and took in the unique genres of the area – jazz, boogie-woogie, R&B, blues, gospel, rock, and zydeco – as live music was ingrained in many aspects of daily life. She continued to perform and write music after moving to Chicago, transporting her swampy R&B and southern rock style up north. Debuting in 2018, Hwy 55 is her first full-length all-original album. Named after the 964-mile stretch of highway connecting her hometown with her current home (and a nod to other southern cities along the way, famed for their musical heritage), it’s a southern roots rock LP that blends laid-back Chicago soul, gritty New Orleans R&B, and a bit of frisky funk.
Tell us your real names, country of birth, and childhood experience.
Catherine Rolfes, USA, I started playing music when I was 12, living in New Orleans. Being from New Orleans is wonderful because music is so essential to that city. There are only a few cities that have a certain musical identity. You can’t say “L.A. music,” or “New York music,” but you can say “New Orleans music.” Nashville comes out of that same kind of thing. When I was a kid, in 2nd-grade, we weren’t asked “do you want to play an instrument” we were asked, “Which instrument do you want to play?” That was the culture. Such a shame that doesn’t happen everywhere.
Tell us your academic qualification.
I have a BBA in Accounting (from Loyola University) and a MA in International Relations (from the University of Amsterdam).
Elaborate on your music career, band name, experience, and skills.
I started playing guitar and writing music when I was 12, back in New Orleans, with my friend Kathleen. We’d perform at school events and functions and our friends were supportive. Once that happened it was like I caught a bug and it was really addictive. Even before that though, in second grade (age 7), I vividly remember being taken into our school cafeteria; where on the tables were every type of musical instrument in a band and orchestra. We got to walk around, pick the instrument up, feel it, and have it demonstrated for us. Then, when that was over, we were asked NOT do you want to play an instrument, but which instrument do you want to play. That was the culture. Such a shame that doesn’t happen everywhere. But I chose the violin – played it for 6 years in the public school system and then switched to the viola for another 7 or 8 years. That provided me with a wonderful musical base – when I picked the guitar up at 12, the concept of music wasn’t completely new to me and I was able to teach myself the basics. I found the guitar a much more social instrument and with my friend, we started writing our own tunes with it. We were heavily influenced by the Beatles, so many of our early songs have a Beatles-esque feeling. I would even take my guitar to school and we had a teacher that would let us use his classroom during recess to rehearse. So often, we’d bring the guitar out on the playground and have a little concert for our friends. They were so supportive. The teachers were so supportive. That gave us confidence. In college, I lived and studied abroad and put my guitar down for many years, regretfully. But when I moved to Chicago 19 years ago, I heard about a place where one could dust off an instrument and immediately meet others to play informally or formally with. That place is the Old Town School of Folk Music, and it’s still dear to my heart. I have so many friends involved in the school… it’s a community that supports budding musicians like myself. That’s where I met the guys that play on Hwy 55 with me. They are all involved with the school (with the exception of the drummer, Joel, who is a major player on the Chicago blues scene).
Tell us your favorite genres.
I’m a massive blues and roots fan, so in that genre, I listen to artists spanning from Son House and Stevie Ray Vaughn to Wood Brothers, who write amazing songs. I love listening to the psychedelic soul – so like Monophonics – but deep down, I’m a straight-up funk girl. I grew up listening to the Meters, Mardi Gras Indian chants, brass bands second lining, and so I’m naturally drawn to the funk-heavy soul (like Vulpeck and Orgone). I also love female vocalists that blend genres, like Amy Winehouse and Susan Tedeschi. Sharon Jones is amazing too.
Tell us how to run a record label based on your experience as an artist.
Record labels need to find great artists, then record, promote, advertise, and sell.
Tell us your various works apart from being a musician.
Writer/journalist and photographer.
Tell us how you are promoting your music.
Sending it to radio stations, appearing on TV, and doing interviews for newspapers.
Share your press release and reviews with us.
Cat Rolfes Announces New Album Hwy 55 And will play Evanston Rocks on June 22.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE [Glenview, IL] – Indie local artist Cat Rolfes is thrilled to announce the release of her debut album, Hwy 55, available everywhere on May 17, 2018. Hwy 55 is a southern roots rock LP that blends laid-back Chicago soul, gritty New Orleans R&B, and a bit of frisky funk. Born and raised in New Orleans, singer/songwriter Cat Rolfes has been bringing her southern roots sounds to the stages across Chicago for the last 10 years. Often compared to Susan Tedeschi, her album with the band Wild Ones is a vintage southern soul sound built on cracking pocket drumming, clean-toned guitar, horns, piano, and Hammond organ wrapped around original songs with hooks that go on for days.
“Rolfes writes funky swamp R&B, southern rock, and blues into her own take on American music and tops it all with a clear, sweet, and soulful vocal style and hooks that are both instantly memorable. Hwy 55 is her first full-length record and it is one of the strongest independent releases out of our fair city in recent memory,” said independent music journalist Mike O’Cull and host of The Sounds of Chicago podcast. Cat Rolfes and the Wild Ones will perform songs from the new CD plus other New Orleans favorites on June 22 at Evanston Rocks with friends at the Victor Brown Band…
Singer-songwriter Cat Rolfes grew up in New Orleans and was exposed to the city’s multicultural melting pot of music early on. She first started writing and playing music as a child and took in the unique genres of the area – jazz, boogie-woogie, R&B, blues, gospel, rock, and zydeco…
She continued to perform and write music after moving to Chicago, transporting her swampy R&B and southern rock style up north. Debuting in 2018, Hwy 55 is her first full-length all-original album. It’s named after the 964-mile stretch of highway connecting her hometown with her current home, and a nod to other southern cities along the way, famed for their musical heritage.
Explain the story behind the song.
It’s about my mother and the advice she gave me growing up. Advice similar to advice other moms give too – being true to yourself, being true to others, etc.
List the radio stations, television stations, and blogs that have aired or featured your new song.
KRSC 91.3FM, WMPG 90.9FM, KSCU 103.3 FM, Andy’s Attic, GLTV.
State the names of other members of your band, music producer, crew, or music video director.
Songs on Hwy 55 are all originals and she has assembled an exceptional band of old friends to record it: Joel Baer on drums, John Mead on guitar, Alton Smith on piano and Hammond B-3, and Jimmy Tomasello on bass. Contributing to the backing vocals is longtime friend and musical partner Kathleen Chapman, whose rich sultry voice blends beautifully with Rolfes’ melodies. Several songs feature Chicago horn players Gomeh Barack, Lenard Simpson, and Nashville legends John Heinrich and Steve Smartt. Fittingly, the tunes were captured by a collaboration of talent along Hwy 55. John Abbey recorded and produced tracks at Kingsize Studios in Chicago and Ben Mumphrey tracked background vocals as well as mixed and mastered the LP at Studio in the Country in Bogalusa, Louisiana. Veteran producer and engineer Pat Holt led the Nashville horns to round out the soulful blend of Americana rock.
Elaborate on the album.
Hwy 55 is her first full-length album, named after the 964-mile stretch of highway connecting her hometown with her current home (and a nod to other southern cities along the way, famed for their musical heritage). It’s a southern roots rock LP that blends laid-back Chicago soul, gritty New Orleans R&B, and a bit of frisky funk.
Tell us how long you have been in the music business, your experience, and your future goal.
I’ve been in the music industry for the last 8 years. I get inspiration from everything – nature, friends, art, feelings – some people want to be happy all the time. I don’t mind sadness; it’s an amazing force behind some great songs. Any raw emotion is what artists look for. When I write music, what I’m creating comes from the past and present. If I can drum up strong feelings and memories – something real – I’ve got the inspiration for a song. I’m looking for raw emotions. I want to challenge myself musically and vocally to create new music for another album. On that front, I’d love to collaborate with another songwriter. Ultimately, making good music is my top priority. You have to be playing something that you really love and that you really care about. And all the other stuff can fall into place after that.
Tell us what makes you unique from others.
Singer-songwriter Cat Rolfes is a roots rocker with dozens of original songs that pump soul into funk, swampy R&B, southern rock, and blues. Her warm, soulful and very raw voice is as genuine as her thoughtful songwriting. Rolfes, a New Orleans native, moved to Chicago in her 30s and has been collaborating with musicians at the esteemed Old Town School of Folk Music ever since. Her songs are catchy, passionate, and unrepentant in their sense of place. Indeed the soul-shaking rhythm & blues influence of this record is not dissimilar from Tedeschi Trucks or Mavis Staples or Alabama Shakes – all huge inspirations.
List your five favorite songs including the artists.
Bang Bang – Monophonics
That’s How Strong My Love Is – Otis Redding
The Lucky One – Anders Osborne
If Love Can’t Find a Way – Eric Lindell
Bound For Glory – Tedeschi Trucks Band