Listen: Local 518 AHA Session With Kate McDonnell
Kate McDonnell’s introduction to folk music was conventional, if precocious as a four-year-old, she heard a Joan Baez album in her mother’s collection. Her reaction was somewhat less conventional: she picked up her mom’s guitar, taller than she was, and started to teach herself how to play the instrument, strung for a righthanded player, lefthanded "upside down and backwards," using her stronger right hand for chording and ignoring the customary positioning of the guitar strings. Eventually, Kate realized that the guitar could be more than background padding, she started to listen to Leo Kottke, Mason Williams, Steve Howe, and others. At 16, a Baltimore-area guitarist and luthier Ken Dubourg taught Kate to play Duane Allman's Little Martha, and her skies opened.
Kate recently performed new songs on WMHT-TV's AHA! A House for Arts.
Her 5th album, Ballad of a Bad Girl, offers more of the same deft songwriting and musicianship as her previous recordings. She is joined by well-known musicians Tony Levin and Jerry Marotta. Kate shares songwriting credits with Anne Lindley on most of the songs, and listeners are also treated to a couple of surprise cover tunes.
Hear Kate's performance on AHA! right here of the songs, "Pilgrim," "Ballad of a Bad Girl," and "Father and Son."