Every day's an endless chain
Of cigarettes and magazines;
And each town looks the same to me -
The movies and the factories -
And every stranger's face I see
Reminds me that I want to be
From time to time people who live life on the road will come through Utah, like what they find, and decide this is where they'll make their stand.
That's what happened to Kat James. In 1978 she and her husband were part of a traveling band. They played Park City, liked what they saw, and stayed.
Today James still lives in Park City, playing the Yarrow, the Down Under and other venues there. She seldom comes down the canyon to the big city and has yet to work in a Salt Lake City club.
"I've been playing solo here since 1982," she says. "I've done duets, trios, bands. I like going it alone. Right now I have no ambition to form another band. It's too much work. Playing is fun, putting together a band is nothing but pain."
Over the years she's added some songs from the '30s and '40s to her show and tried to keep the music fresh and new. In the future she hopes to keep on keeping on, but at the same time is taking new interest in graphic design and other things.
"Let's face it," she says, "playing bars is not the healthiest lifestyle."
Here are some of James' insights on life as a "folky," as a traveling minstrel who's found her spot and as a seasoned performer.
ON PLAYING UTAH
AND OTHER PLACES
"The salaries here are lower. Part of that is because the clubs don't make any money selling drinks, so they can't pay performers very much. I do love the audiences I get here, though. People are people and they have pretty much the same tastes and enthusiasms here."
ON CURRENT TRENDS
"There's a nostalgia for solo performers now, I think. I have 22-year-olds come up to me and ask me to play Crosby, Stills and Nash or Peter, Paul and Mary. People like to remember the '60s."
ON THE BEST IN THE BUSINESS
"I love Emmylou Harris. She has an emotional quality few singers have. A song has to be sung with feeling or you might as well not put words to it. Emmylou can make you cry or make you want to get up and dance. You name it. I feel those things inside when I sing but I don't know if can bring them out the way she can.
"I also like Jimmy Buffet. His songs are fun and his lyrics are terrific.
"And Reba McEntire. Her voice is nothing short of phenomenal."