Guitarist to rock NW Ohio Blues & Jazz FestivalWritten by Vicki L. Kroll | | email@example.com
It’s something Kelly Richey has heard since she was 15 when she got a Les Paul copy and a three-watt amp: Girls can’t play guitar.
“And I’m like, ‘Yes, they can,’ ” she said and laughed. “And I was really on a mission to prove that.
“The power that the electric guitar represented drew me in because I did not feel empowered as a teenager, and I was enticed by what I felt that guitar had to offer,” Richey said. “I started out on the electric and quickly got an acoustic guitar, and I’ve been playing ever since.”
And man, can she play. Watch a video of her cover of “Hey Joe” at kellyrichey.com.
The musician offers more than a sonic assault of dazzling riffs and blazing solos.
“I’ve never been the type of entertainer that made people just drink and dance and have fun; I’ve just always wanted to move people and inspire people to think,” Richey said. “So that’s a bit of a blessing and a curse, but I think in the long run it’s part of my signature. I want [a song] to say something if there are lyrics, and I want the music to take you on a journey and make you want to hear it again.”
In 2010, the singer-songwriter took a year off to reflect on her career.
“I’ve been on the road nonstop — and I just wanted to evaluate what I was doing,” she said. “I decided that I would honor that dream that I always had to record a simple acoustic CD of all of my favorite songs that I’d written.”
Her unplugged effort, “Finding My Way Back Home,” was released in January along with “Kelly Richey Live.”
The acoustic disc opens with “Dig a Little Deeper,” the title track of her 1999 CD.
“My uncle was the preacher of our church, and he had a favorite hymn that my mom used to make me sing, and the first line of that hymn was ‘I don’t know about tomorrow, I just know about today.’ And that inspired me to write this song because I really at that point in my life didn’t know exactly where I was going,” Richey said during a call from her office and studio in Cincinnati.
“And I chose, OK, I’m going to continue to follow my heart and I’m not going to question it. And if I follow my heart, show up and do what I’m supposed to do, hopefully I’ll end up in the right place.”
Richey will play 6 p.m. June 9 at the Northwest Ohio Blues & Jazz Festival at Centennial Terrace in Sylvania. Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the gate. VIP tickets are $60. Other acts include 427, Swamp Kings, Joe McBride and Spyro Gyra.
Richey’s website describes her as “Stevie Ray Vaughan trapped in a woman’s body with Janis Joplin screaming to get out.”
“[Blues/rock guitarist] Lonnie Mack had said to me that I was Stevie Ray Vaughan trapped in a woman’s body. And during a conversation about Lonnie, that quote was born, and it was [from] a critic,” she said.
“I know that when I step on stage with an electric guitar, if you like Stevie Ray Vaughan and if you like Janis Joplin, you’re going to like me. I think there’s a lot about what I take to the stage that embodies that; they were huge influences on me.”