The Rocks Off 100: Kathryn Hallberg, Little Girl Gone
Welcome to the Rocks Off 100, our portrait gallery of the most compelling profiles and personalities in the far-flung Houston music community -- a lot more than just musicians, but of course they're in there too. See the entire Rocks Off 100 at this link.
Who? I have followed Kathryn Hallberg's singer-songwriter career since she was 14 years old. Though she has only produced two EPs in all that time, both of them were short, sweet works that belong on the shelf of any self-respecting music fan in the city. Her work far transcends her age, and I can recommend no other artist to soothe your nerves a bad day. Whether it's "Destiny" off her first EP or "Move On" from the second, her words and music are a near-universal calmative.
And we're losing her, unfortunately. I knew she was growing up when I heard her sing the line, "The question that is burning is who is keeping me warm at night," but this really brings it home. After spending her freshman year at Lone Star College, Hallberg will soon be off to the esteemed Berklee College of Music on a songwriting scholarship, majoring in Professional Music with an eye toward continuing her career.
We here at Rocks Off wish her all the best, and hope it won't be too long until she returns.
Home Base: By her own admission, Hallberg prefers to write tucked up in her bedroom like a troll; the title track of Nocturnal is about creating while everyone is asleep. When she performs it's usually at Dosey Doe. Owner Steve Said gave her her first paid gigs and introduced her to producer Kyle Hutton, who helped shape her sound into what it became. Also, she enjoys the fried chicken.
Why Do You Stay In Houston? Well this question is just awkward...
Good War Story: "Driving three hours to a gig in Austin where I played for an audience that consisted of the bartender, the soundman, and my dad," Hallberg recalls. "But hey, you've got to pay your dues!"
Music Scene Pet Peeve: "I am really sick of the indie vs. mainstream quibble, because it has nothing to do with the actual music," Hallberg says. "Who cares if there's a major label hawking it or not? There should only be what speaks to you, and what doesn't. Take the time to listen to all kinds of music and cultivate your own unique taste."
- Neil Young, Harvest
- Joni Mitchell, Court & Spark
- Coldplay, Viva La Vida
- Jeff Buckley, Grace
- Sheryl Crow, Sheryl Crow
Best Show Ever: "The Nocturnal EP release show last year was pretty electric, and I recently got to play at a festival in England called Folk On the Water, which was an amazing experience," she says. "I also know that my 'Farewell' show is going to be a blast, because some of my best friends and favorite local musicians will be there to help send me off. And nothing beats sharing music with a room full of people you love."
First Song You Fell In Love With: "'Sinner' by Neil Finn," she says. "It's still one of my favorite songs. There's something that just washes over me every time I hear that opening orchestral sample. And the melody gives me goosebumps!"
Kathryn Hallberg plays Friday, August 16 at Dosey Doe.
See who else has joined The Rocks Off 100 this year on the next page.