In 1992, Marc Cohn catapulted into musical stardom with his megahit "Walking in Memphis," claiming the Grammy for Best New Artist that same year. He has since paved his career path by "following good music." With a penchant for the gospel sound and a voice that can take it on, Cohn and Blind Boys of Alabama ignite the stage with "Silver Thunderbird," "Baby King," "Ghost Train," "If I Had a Hammer, " and crowd-pleaser "Walking in Memphis." Blind Boys of Alabama are Cohn's consummate companions and... [see more] they surprise with their bluesy rendition of "Amazing Grace." Cohn tells THE KATE he has always wanted to play with a gospel quartet and that being with Jimmy Carter, the Blind Boys' remaining original member, just "feels like home." Carter recounts coming up in the segregated South with a drive to succeed, saying, "We were gonna sing gospel, and that's what we've been doing all these years." Having performed as a gospel group for an astonishing 80 years, the Blind Boys of Alabama took home a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009.
THE KATE is a new national music series with artistic cred and a bit of edge, infused with the essence of the unabashed, spirited Katharine Hepburn. The headline-heavy first season features artists who follow the Hepburnian philosophy that "If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun. " Ann Wilson, Rickie Lee Jones, and former Saturday Night Livestar Ana Gasteyer, are all breaking new ground in their already-established careers during THE KATE performances. These artists are iconoclasts, and their performances capture a particular feeling, an artistic vibe located just outside of the mainstream: Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Ann Wilson pushes her Heart aside and sings the blues; Rickie Lee Jones speaks openly about growing older in the music world; Gasteyer takes a turn as a sassy singer, weaving in comedic moments throughout. The intimacy of the venue means that THE KATE performers have a risky closeness to their material--and their audience. British song interpreter Barb Jungr and Broadway star Jarrod Spector round out the season, with the final artist to be announced soon. Insightful interviews with the performers open each episode, taped live at the Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center, an intimate 250-seat venue in Old Saybrook, Connecticut.