11 Questions to a Nashville Musician: Katie Cole

Katie ColeTaking a quick break while on tour, songstress Katie Cole recorded a brilliant new five-song EP in a small Nashville studio. And, by the way, it wasn’t just any old tour. It was the recent world arena tour of The Smashing Pumpkins for whom Katie was a touring member. Back in July, you may have even seen her with the band when they played the Bridgestone Arena.

With a sound quite unlike the Pumpkins, Katie’s new EP follows up her 2014 LP, “Lay it All Down.” The Australian native has found a smooth Americana style that is both soulful and folky and sure right at home here in Music City. The single off the EP is an original song about the  home of the King titled “Graceland” for which she’s released a live session video.

Thanks so much to Katie for dishing out this great session of 11 Questions. She will be appearing at The Basement on December 5.


Where are you from originally, when did you move to Nashville and why?

I’m originally from Melbourne, Australia and lived in Los Angeles for a few years. I then started traveling back and forth to Nashville every few months and finally moved here in 2015.

What are the first and the last records you bought, and where did you buy them? Were they CD, vinyl or digital?

I’ve started being that reckless music lover that listens on Apple Music or Spotify and then forgets what I was listening to. It’s 100% terrible. But, the last albums I’ve listened to were Bishop Briggs, Amanda Shires’ To the Sunset and Anderson East’s Encore. I think the new James Bay record is a daring move besides not wearing a hat anymore. I just discovered Ruston Kelly too. Where was I? Ha-ha! There’s a lot of great music out there, but I’ll still fall down rabbit holes listening to Bowie or Petty. I listen digitally more than anything else with studio headphones. I’m not a casual listener who plops it on in the background. Music takes all my attention. Ha-ha!

First and last live concerts that you’ve seen?

My semi-rocker mum used to take me and my sister to see musicals when we were pretty young. One of my early memories of a live show was seeing Hair, probably because I was like, “OK, everyone is suddenly naked. Alrighty then”. I was probably ten. Ha-ha. First artist I saw live was Alanis Morissette. I don’t remember much, just that she swung her hair around a lot. Not a lot of bands manage to tour Australia. It’s very costly to travel here. Maybe that’s why I started playing live music when I was 16, to play songs from my fave artists. Last show I saw was Delta Rae at The Basement in Nashville for their Revival residency. Amazing and ambitious show.

Whose star should be added to the Music City Walk of Fame?

Wow! How do I pick one? All of those artists have offered so much, and at least of dozen or more of those were ground-breaking artists. I was thinking today how much I love Roy Orbison’s voice though I think I’d have to say Kris Kristofferson. He’s a songwriting icon of mine and I was lucky enough to have him sing on my 2014 album on a song called “Penelope”.

Where do you go in Nashville for coffee and pizza?

There’s lots of great places like Frothy Monkey, Crema and Ugly Mugs, but I end up wherever is the most convenient. If I need coffee, chances are I’m not always firing all cylinders and making fine choices. Ha-ha! Pizza is definitely DeSano.

What’s your favorite record to ever come out of Nashville?

That’s hard. There are so many important records to come out of Tennessee but narrowing it down to just Nashville is hard. Maybe Lucinda Williams’ Car Wheels on a Gravel Road since I think it was a groundbreaking record for her. It may not be my favourite from Nashville, but it’s a great one for sure, and it’s on my mind.

Where’s the best place to eat late night after a show?

I know Coco’s is usually open. I have traveled on tour as a musician for The Smashing Pumpkins for a good chunk of this year. I have become very spoiled on what I’m eating after a show coz I was able to order it before the show… with a menu. In the UK after Wembley it was fish & chips, after Bologna in Italy it was a pasta… of course. Usually, I try to eat pretty healthy, but when in Rome or close by… it’s ok to splurge a tad.

The Bluebird calls and asks you to host an “In the Round.” Pick three local songwriters to join you.

I love playing there. It’s always a wonderful experience. I do think most songwriter rounds to watch and to perform are best with friends and people that have written together. There’s a natural chemistry and camaraderie. So probably Mark Lonsway (an incredible musician and writer), Szlachetka (a great Americana artist I just wrote with) and my friend Alex Seier (who plays guitar for Jessie James Decker) since we play a lot of acoustic shows together. I would probably also invite my friend Nicole Boggs up for a song, because girl can sing. Holy Moly.

What are your favorite music venues to play in town?

For writer rounds, the Bluebird and the Listening Room. For larger shows, The Basement. I have yet to play 3rd and Lindsley but would love to. I got to play at the Ryman on my 2016 tour with the Smashing Pumpkins and Bridgestone this year, so my bucket list has a few checks.

Name a musician who you’d like to see move here?

I like the blossoming eclectic variety of artists here… so anything that involves more diversity is a good thing. Jack White and Third Man Records launched Margo Price’s career- so more of that is a good thing. That said… maybe Paul McCartney. Only because I want to meet him so badly.

Finally, what’s in your musical future?

I just released my EP, Things That Break, Pt. 1. So, I’m putting out some live studio videos this year and next to promote these songs in a unique way. Rather than me just kicking sand on a beach or something on film, I thought playing these particular songs live with great musicians might showcase the stories better. I have more music recorded so planning my 2019 right now!

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