Local singer/songwriter Katie Haverly has been called a "jazzy mystic," which is an odd but somehow accurate turn of phrase. There's certainly elements of the trad-jazz piano bar crooner in there, with some contemporary Amy Winehouse sass, but there's also an "ingredient X"—that little something which, like Bjork and Tori Amos among others, makes her hard to pin down. On Thursday, Haverly performs at the Tucson Weekly-sponsored Great Cover-Up, which will see a multitude of local acts play covers in tribute to somebody who means something to them. Haverly won't give away who she's aping this year (previously she was Ryan Adams), so we'll just have to wait and see. In anticipation, here are five albums that changed her life...
The Great Cover-Up, with Katie Haverly, takes place at 7 p.m. on Thursday, December 14 at The Flycatcher; 340 E. Sixth St.; 520-207-9251; $8-15 (all proceeds to to Planned Parenthood); 21+. The following evening, the event takes place at Club Congress and, on Saturday, at 191 Toole.
Once I Was an Eagle
I discovered Laura when she opened for Andrew Bird at the Rialto about six years ago. It was right when I moved to Tucson and I was dumbstruck and floored. The sophistication of her voice, guitar playing and songwriting were so well beyond her years, and transcended so completely the vapid and shallow music we are often bombarded with in our modern day culture. And I kept hearing people yelling in the audience how much they loved her, it gave me hope! Yes! Folks still want good—deep—real music to listen to! She is a brave badass babe and I have learned so much from her fearlessness and vulnerability in her songwriting. She is the musician I aspire to be.
I had the good fortune of being in high school when great music was being made. This is when I first started playing guitar and writing and I loved the intense and reckless grunge and rock of the time, but also the vocal prowess and guts of so many singers like Eddie Vedder, Layne Stanley, Maynard Keenan, Scott Weiland, Chris Cornell, Kurt Cobain, etc. (I realize these are all dudes.) 10 was my true boyfriend, though. The songwriting, diversity, passion, grit and heart that went into this record was un-matchable. And understanding how young and green these guys were at that time, it's hard to believe. I have listened to it over and over. It never gets old. And I still learn so much from Eddie every time I watch him sing. Perfection.
Boys for Pele
It is hard to pick the record of Tori's that affected me the most, Little Earthquakes is such a close second, but Boys for Pele comes out on top. This 18-track snakelike masterpiece exposed me to the beauty of being weird, powerful, creatively unique and fiercely sensual. Tori has this ability here to draw you in, surprise you, overwhelm you, then spit on you and laugh at you. At a time when I was developing as musician and songwriter, hearing her work emboldened me and pushed me hard to grow. The album is brave and iconoclastic and still holds up today as a remarkable body of honest, seductive, meaningful work. Also, her way of approaching playing the piano has truly affected my own approach: rhythmic, sassy, watery, bold. She is the real deal, always will be.
I discovered HK because their video for "Nakamarra" was in a MTV 2 competition with locals Steff and The Articles some years ago. I saw the video and I almost had a heart attack. I had never heard music like this before, and I felt like it was what I wanted to make but never knew how to articulate. The polyphonic jazzy sophisticated arrangements combined with Nai Palm's soulful, powerful voice took my breath away. She is one of the most unique artists and singers I have ever come across in my life. Their work as a band is groundbreaking, fearless, powerful, gritty, timely and otherworldly. Nai has definitely influenced my singing and writing, absolutely.
Kid A and OK Computer
This is a tie. I have listened to these records too many times. There is just something about the way they make me feel: Thom Yorke's voice, the mysteriousness of meaning, the blend of instruments and digital sounds, and the emotion behind the tracks. The last song on Ok Computer ("The Tourist") is one that just punches me in the gut and I have loved singing along to it for years. Also these records were rather groundbreaking for their time, and inspired me to think about music and composition differently.