LeAnne Martin
Christians in the Arts

Monday, January 19, 2009

Kate Campbell at the Balzer Theater

On Saturday night, folk singer Kate Campbell gave a wonderful concert at the Balzer Theater at Herren’s, home of Theatrical Outfit. Not only is Kate a gifted singer and musician, she’s also a gifted songwriter. Her songs are full of heart, humor, and layer upon layer of metaphor and meaning. They touch you when you hear them for the first or the 50th time. I always laugh and cry at her concerts but Saturday was extra special.

My husband and I and a few other friends including Tom Key of Theatrical Outfit and his wife, visual artist Beverly Key, went to dinner with Kate beforehand at a diner across the street. We had a marvelous time talking about Martin Luther King, Eudora Welty (a favorite writer of many of us), our new president, and the South.

Using her beloved American South as a backdrop, Kate tells stories in her songs that touch on the universal themes of race, religion, and history. She often writes about the intersection of the old and the New South, alluding to the way of life before desegregation and using her own experiences as a young girl watching the South change during integration. On Saturday, her second set was devoted to her civil-rights-related songs. It was moving and powerful, especially on the eve of the Martin Luther King holiday and tomorrow’s historic inauguration. The location was fitting: the Balzer Theater, former site of Herren’s, a white-tablecloth restaurant that was the first in Atlanta to voluntarily desegregate.

Kate's first set featured other favorite topics in her music, the three icons of the South--Jesus, Elvis, and Coca-Cola. Her sense of humor and her faith shine through in much of her music.

Kate's latest project is Save the Day, which came to her after reading a quote from Frederick Buechner. If you’re not familiar with Kate Campbell, check out her website and listen to her music.

And watch this blog for a Kate Campbell feature coming soon!

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