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Candye Kane is back in town

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By Russ Gordon

EDITOR’S NOTE:  For  the remainder of the 2010 Los Alamos Summer Concert Series, Organizer Russ Gordon will submit a weekly column to share information and insight   about the performers.

At 7 p.m. Friday, the Los Alamos county Summer Concert Series and its sponsors present soulful blues diva Candye Kane.

The incredible blues and gospel singer/songwriter Thomas Dorsey said, “the blues is a good woman feeling bad.”

I think the best of the early women blues singers played it like a bad woman feeling good. I mean, check out Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday and Janis Joplin. These were tough women and fighters.

They were on their own; they didn’t have anybody telling them what to sing and what to wear. Imagine Holiday being told to dress like a pixie doll or sing some cute little song that sounded like a winner from “American Idol” – it just isn’t possible.

Candye Kane’s life has been tough. As she wrote in her own biography, “She was raised in a dysfunctional blue-collar family, became a teenage mother, a pin-up cover girl and was a punk rock, hillbilly and blues-belting anarchist by the time she was 21. She survived the bars, the dives, the humility and in 2008, she beat pancreatic cancer and is now cancer-free. Her first child from those early days is now the drummer in her band.”

In her new album, “Superhero,” she sings about fighting for her life as if it were the only satisfactory choice.

Another song on the album is “Hey, Toughen Up!” – that was her mantra for those bad times. Many of her other songs are about being lonely, or about being a large woman yet celebrating her body – songs like “I Like ‘Em Stacked Like That,” “Fat, Fit and Fine” and “You Need a Great Big Woman.”

This Friday will be Kane’s third performance in Los Alamos, so I know what I’m saying when I tell you her live performances are tremendous. She belts, growls, shouts, croons and moans.

Her shows are part humor, part revival meeting and part celebration. When in Los Alamos, her shows have always been beautiful, funny, stirring and  family-friendly.

Her biography reports,  “Her fans are a mixture of true outsiders: bikers, blues fans, punk rockers, drag queens, fat girls, burlesque dancers … rockabilly and swing dancers and everyday folk of all ages. They flock to see Candye and hear her musical messages of love, hope and empowerment.” See, you’re included.

Kane was nominated for the 2010 National Blues Awards as the “B.B. King Entertainer of the Year,” as well as for “Best Contemporary Blues CD of the Year” and “Best Contemporary Blues Female Artist.”

B.B. King himself said, “Candye Kane has that big, brassy voice that has authority and sass; the kind of thing that men like because it’s seductive and women like because it’s powerful.”

An article in People Magazine said, “a blues Diva of the 20th Century who can liven up any party without shedding a stitch.”

The New Yorker called her “… a true celebrity Diva,” and Downbeat magazine wrote, “This tough cookie wails with a rousing confidence, affirmation of identity, the courage of her convictions and wisdom beyond her years.” The Philadelphia Inquirer called Kane “a serious and seriously powerful singer who lays it all on the line.”

I think she is a superhero after all. Again, this is an all-ages show and all should come.

The concert will be held from 7-10 p.m. Friday on Central Avenue, in front of the concert sponsor, CB Fox Department Store.

Read more about Kane  and listen to some of her music at www.candyekane.com.  The weekend’s festivities will continue from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday during Chamberfest.

In addition to booths showcasing businesses, food and activities for children, Eddy and the Nomads will play music of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s.

The Nomads take the stage at Central and Main from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and it’s another free concert brought to the public by the Chamber of Commerce, Los Alamos MainStreet and all the sponsors of the Los Alamos County Summer Concert Series.

On June 18, the series will continue with the annual Los Alamos National Bank concert, which will feature the Boulder Acoustic Society.

I’ll tell you all about them next week but check them out at www.boulderacousticsociety.net.