Backed by her own guitar, fiddle, and harmonica, Kate MacLeod sings of life with both deceptive subtlety and uncompromising power. In this band, Kate plays lead hollowbody electric guitar in addition to acoustic guitar, fiddle and harmonica. The original band included Mark Hazel on vocals and second guitar, Cliff Smith on percussion and harmonica, and Barry Carter on acoustic-electric bass. Since two of the original band members have moved from of the region where the band performs, the group sometimes features special guest musicians Steve Keen on piano and accordion and Robert Dow on acoustic bass. In addition to Kate's songs, the group performs songs and instrumentals selected from the American and British Isles traditions and creates a unique Americana sound closer to rock than folk. Listeners have commented that the band's sound sometimes recalls that of the British folk-rock band, Fairport Convention, circa 1969. The band released its full-length CD, Breakfast, on Waterbug Records in 2005. This recording took three days to record, yet five years to release. Since that time, Barry Carter has returned to his homeland of New Zealand, and Cliff Smith has relocated to the Pacific Northwest, making the original band configuration only available for performances where budgets will allow for such travel, but Kate performs much of the same music with selected back-up musicians.
Mark Hazel, one of the original band members still performing with Kate MacLeod, plays guitar and sings. His bass voice has an unusual range and unique and irreplaceable warmth. He compliments Kate's lead vocals with harmonies, and sings lead on a few songs. His guitar parts are usually rhythm behind Kate's lead guitar, or sometimes single-note countermelodies. Mark is a scientist, but has studied and performed music since he was a child in Ohio. Before picking up guitar, he accompanied choirs on piano, sang in choirs and an acapella madrigal ensemble, and played trombone in orchestras and brass ensembles. In the 1980s he hosted a weekly '60s music show, "Strange Brew," on WPRB in central New Jersey. There he broadcast Joni Mitchell, Buffy St. Marie, Gordon Lightfoot, Richie Havens and The Incredible String Band, alongside Howlin' Wolf, The Band, Merle Haggard, The Velvet Underground and Love. In the mid-1990s, Mark sang and played in a five-member Salt Lake City-based rock and blues band, Humungus Fungus, that performed at Salt Lake City's Dead Goat Saloon and Burt's Tiki Lounge. Mark met Kate and Barry in Salt Lake City in the early 1990s while singing his own songs at acoustic open-mics sponsored by the Intermountain Acoustic Music Association. He has performed with Kate since 1996.
Band Member Bios
These two tracks are on the Breakfast recording.
They are the band's arrangements of MacLeod songs.
Love is Gone
Cliff Smith plays drumset, hand-drums, other percussion, and harmonica. He was born in San Francisco, California at the height of the hot Latin-Jazz scene that thrived in the Bay Area then. Raised in the South Bay Area, Cliff later lived in the Northern California area known for its redwoods, great wine, and progressive blues. From modest beginnings with his first garage band, to performances in bars, casinos, concerts, and recording studios, Cliff's career in music performance has been very diverse, involving theatre, pit orchestra work, dance class accompaniment and private lesson instruction. Cliff's experience with various musical styles ranges from Big Band and Latin-Jazz, to Rhythm & Blues, Funk, Folk, Celtic, and Americana, as well as Country Rock, Western Swing, and more ethnic representations of African and Latin-Salsa. Cliff began performing with Kate, Barry and Mark in the spring of 1999. He has relocated to the Pacific Northwest where he continues to work as a professional musician.
Barry Carter was the bassist of the group through 2005, and played an acoustic bass guitar on the Breakfast recording. He is a songwriter and a versatile musician who sings and also plays six-string guitar and percussion. He is originally from New Zealand, where he attended The New Zealand School of Music. Prior to moving to Salt Lake City, Utah, Barry had fronted his own band in Australia and produced a recording of his songs. He met Kate in 1994 while living in his car (a 1967 Chrysler Newport), and they played and performed together for more than eleven years. In addition to his role in Kate MacLeod and the Pancakes, Barry led his own musical duo, Inish, that played traditional music of the British Isles along with his original songs. Barry is also a graduate of the School of Audio Engineering in Sydney, and has managed his own recording studio and produced recordings for other musicians. In the winter of 2005/2006, Barry returned to his homeland of New Zealand to be closer to his family.
Released by Waterbug Records in April 2005, Kate MacLeod and the Pancakes' Breakfast recording features five of Kate's original songs, a few traditional songs, Time Passes Slowly by Bob Dylan, and Forget Me Nots by Jack Hardy.
5 STARS. This album is just awesome. Kate MacLeod presents her music as well as any has been presented. A little bit of everything on this CD. Kate's music is honest and she delivers her message true and clear. This is out of the ordinary folk music. Unique and produced with expertise. This release wil not be taken for granted by any Folk Music lover. An outstanding project by Kate MacLeod and the Pancakes.
Roots Music Report - May, 10, 2005
News from the archives...
Behind the Boss - Still wet with sweat from their invigorating, standing-room-only Saturday Night performance at the Tucson Folk Festival on April 30, 2005, Kate MacLeod and the Pancakes returned to their humble digs in northern Utah to be greeted by the unexpected news that their newly released recording, Breakfast (Waterbug Records) was ranked (and tied for) third--behind only recent releases from Bruce Springsteen and Robert Earl Keen, Jr.--in terms of the number of the 73 Americana Music Association-registered radio stations that added it as a new title for regular airplay during the week ending May 2. Breakfast is served!