How would you describe your style of music?
I'm inspired by a handful of traditional genres, from Blues to Country, Jazz to Rock n' Roll, Latin to Folk. Americana is the collective term for things inspired by American Roots Music, so that's generally how I'd identify my style.
How did you get into this style of music?
My dad was born in 1943, and he raised me on the same music he grew up on. He sang and played the guitar, and some of my first memories are of him singing Sun- era Elvis and Johnny Cash songs. My mom also encouraged me to play piano and introduced me to Andres Segovia and Louis Prima's music at a young age. Her dad (my grandpa) was part of a largely Italian family, and he would play the accordion while my uncles sang at parties in the 1960's. There has always been a healthy respect for traditional Italian music in my family, as well as Classical, 1950's Country and Rock n' Roll, Rockabilly and more. When I was 12 my dad taught me guitar chords and my uncle introduced me to Howlin' Wolf's music, then took me to see B.B. King in concert. The moment I heard Howlin' Wolf was when my obsession with Chicago Blues began, and it wasn't long before I got into Pre-War Blues too.
What is the background of your band members?
Ashley Kingman is a good friend of ours and the long-time lead guitar player for the wonderful Big Sandy and His Fly-Rite Boys. He joins us at some shows, and it's always such an honor to have him. Aaron Acquafondata is my little brother, so much of my own upbringing applies to him also. We used to have a band called the Golden West Trio feat. Kay Marie, and he still joins me on lead guitar often. Kevin Morrison is my upright bass player and also happens to be my love. He is who I credit with first pushing me onto the stage and encouraging me to sing in front of crowds! Derek McDonald has been my trusty drummer since the beginning, and in addition he's a very talented sign painter. His sign shop in Berkeley, Ca , Golden West Sign Arts, has technically been the home base for our band(s) over the last 4 years or more.
Who are they as individuals?
As for Ashley Kingman, you'd have to ask him! My brother Aaron has played the guitar since he was around 12, and he's very influenced by the Blues. T-Bone Walker, Louis Jordan and Guitar Slim are a few he's been really into. Kevin has been playing upright bass for about 10 years, and I think it's safe to say Willie Dixon, Marshall Lytle and Fats Domino have always been largely inspirational to him. Last but certainly not least, Derek is very into Jazz and also has a healthy respect for Western Swing. Louis Armstrong, Gene Krupa and Fats Waller are sure to be heard if you spend and evening in his sign shop.
How long has your band been together?
My brother and I have played music together for at least 10 years, and we've had Kevin and Derek behind us for about 4 or 5 years. I've been fronting the band solo as Kay Marie for about two years, and Ashley decided to join the cause in the last few months.
What do you like the most about the Rockabilly scene?
I enjoy seeing and meeting people who truly appreciate the musical trailblazers and founding fathers of Rock n' Roll, people who agree that music was done right back then, and therefore agree that Little Richard, Bill Haley and Bo Diddley are just as relevant and exciting now as ever before.
Who are your music idols, who influences your music?
As you can probably tell, that'd be a ridiculously long list. It's an ever-changing thing and there are certain days I'm more influenced by Blues, Country or Jazz than others. Sitting here right now, some of the obvious examples that come right to mind are Howlin' Wolf and Willie Dixon, Hank Williams, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elizabeth Cotten, Louis Prima, Ruth Brown, Otis Rush....just for starters.
What future events do you have planned?
This year (2015), I plan on making another record and our band will be at Viva Las Vegas and the New England Shake-Up. I was recently nominated by the Ameripolitan Music Awards in the Female Rockabilly category, so I'll be going to Austin to attend and will definitely play some music while I'm out there.
Do you or any of your band members collect records?
Yes, all of the above.
If so, what do you/ they collect?
Genres or speeds? We all have our preferences between 78's , 45's and LPs, but I believe it's safe to say that most of what we collect coincides with our tastes. I think we collectively admore 78's the most, but many of us have 45 collections far exceeding 78's. I'll pick up any 78, 45 or LP that has a good title even if I don't know it. If it has "Rock-a-billy" or "So-and-so-Blues" in the name you know it's probably alright! That's how I've discovered many of my favorite obscure artists.
What is your most memorable experience at a concert?
That'd probably be the first time I played at Viva Las Vegas with the Golden West Trio. I had just turned 21, and it was the largest, loudest audience I think I'd ever seen up to that point. Thankfully they also had the brightest stage lights I had ever experienced, so I could hardly see anything from where I stood. It felt like I was at the gates of heaven.
What was your funniest memory at a concert?
There are too many to tell, and most things are total "you had to be there" moments. I can say 85% of them probably involve my brother in some way, and I don't know how he'd feel about me listing them!
Band name: Kay Marie
Location: Northern California
Band members: Kay Marie - Singer/songwriter, rhythm guitar
Ashley Kingman- Part-time lead guitar
Aaron Acquafondata- Part-time lead guitar
Kevin Morrison- Upright bass
Derek McDonald- Drums
Booking contact: TourMore Booking- firstname.lastname@example.org
Kay Marie channels the spirit of Americana trailblazers with powerful and passionate vocals, bringing a time honored yet distinctive sound to the modern stage. With an inherent love for songwriting and a solid band beside her, she is celebrating the success of a 2014 CD debut, a 2015 Ameripolitan Music Award nomination and is continuing to generate buzz throughout the Rockabilly and Roots Music world.