Bay Area-bred singer-songwriter-guitarist Katie Cash writes personally charged, emotion-packed songs and performs them with a passionate urgency that marks her as a uniquely compelling artist. Cash’s commanding songcraft, expressive vocals and bracing guitar work make her debut solo album Gift Horse a rousing collection that showcases her pointed songwriting and the edgy musical sensibility that’s been honed by extensive roadwork and onstage experience.
“I’d describe it as roots-rock storytelling,” Cash says of the Independent Music Award-winning Gift Horse. “The songs deal with love, heartbreak and various inner reflections.” [read more=”Read more” less=”Read less”]
Beyond her solo work, Cash has also found time to maintain her membership in two notable Bay Area bands: the socially-conscious female funk-rock foursome Skip the Needle, with which she recorded the acclaimed debut album We Ain’t Never Going Back; and the punchy, punk-inflected mixed-gender quartet Year of the Fist, whose three releases—the latest being 2019’s Revive Me—have attracted notice on the local punk scene and beyond.
“Being in three bands can be exhausting,” admits Cash, “but it’s been important to me to cultivate these multiple outlets because of how I feel within each of them, and because I have a genuinely good time in all three. I do love working in such vastly different settings, because I can express various aspects of myself and my musical passions.”
Cash’s eclectic personal history has put her in a unique position to explore a wide range of musical interests. Growing up in close proximity to the Bay Area’s punk, indie and skater scenes, she developed a deeply rooted sense of musical iconoclasm, absorbing punk, blues and gospel, not to mention the big band records she’d hear on her grandmother’s antique hi-fi. After teaching herself to play guitar at the age of 12, she joined a series of bands, many of them female, before launching her own outfit, alternately known as Coal Pitts Wash and Dolorata. She also spent two and a half years playing with Turbonegra, an all-female tribute to the Norwegian punk band Turbonegro. She then attended Mills College’s prestigious music program, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Composition.
The lessons that Cash has learned along the way are reflected on such memorable Gift Horse tracks as the expansive “Year Gone By,” the haunting “Broken Nights” and the dynamic title track. Another highlight is Cash’s vivid reading of the Patti Smith classic “Pissing in a River.” The album, produced by Julie Wolf (Ani DiFranco, Carly Simon, Indigo Girls), features guest appearances by acclaimed singer-songwriter Kris Delmhorst, 4 Non Blondes member Dawn Richardson and noted drummer Allison Miller.
“I would say Gift Horse is a chapter in a longer story,” Cash reflects. “The album was a vision that I had to see through to the end. Making it felt like a real achievement. It was a labor of love and a huge amount of work. I’m really proud of this record, and all of the talent, time, effort and community that went into it.”
With Gift Horse now a reality after its lengthy gestation, Katie Cash encapsulates her goals thusly: “I’m currently working with such an incredibly talented group of people. I’m focusing on bringing the music of Gift Horse to audiences through touring and performing at festivals. I will be releasing some singles in the coming year. I feel blessed, and with the same people by my side, I will continue to keep writing, creating and bringing more music into the world.” [/read]