Classic song-writing skills, smooth sultry vocals, and the ability to whip up a storm with a fiery slide guitar – very few can boast this set of trump cards, but it just happens to be the hand dealt to Australian singer, songwriter and guitarist Kara Grainger.
Now based in Nashville, Kara first picked up the guitar at age 12. She started performing in the late ’90s as lead vocalist and guitarist with the successful Sydney-based blues outfit, Papa Lips.
Kara moved to Los Angeles in 2008, but continued to split her time between LA and Australia. Her debut CD, 2008’s Grand and Green River received first prize in the IAP awards in Austin, Texas and also was in the top 40 Americana charts for over 34 weeks.
An EP called Secret Soul, an album entitled LA Blues, and a release entitled Shiver & Sigh, featuring members of Bonnie Raitt’s touring band, followed.
Grand and Green River is a slickly produced collection of songs recorded in LA and featuring some big-name players, including guitarist Eric Johnson and Little Feat drummer the late Richie Hayward.
The title track from her Secret Soul EP has been played across Australian radio, on BBC Radio 2 in the UK, and even received an honourable mention in Billboard’s international song-writing competition.
Recorded a in LA, with Grammy Award winning producer David Z at the helm, her release Shiver & Sigh included five originals as well as soulful re-imaginings of Robert Johnson’s C’mon In My Kitchen and Al Jackson Jr./Timothy Matthews’ Breaking Up Somebody’s Home.
As a vocalist Grainger is strongly influenced by Bonnie Raitt. Sharing a bill at the Timbre Rock and Roots Festival in Singapore with Bonnie Raitt and Susan Tedeschi, Kara remarked it was a pleasure to be one of three female lead guitarists on the bill.
As a slide player Grainger has developed her own style, less influenced by Raitt and other Californian slide masters than by their original Mississippi Delta blues role models.
Kara’s latest release is Living With Your Ghost on Station House Records.
She will be playing the Blues at Tenby with her touring band.