Activist and guitarist Carolyn Cathey’s sound advice 

  • Courtesy Kreteaka Henshall

A self-described “Realtor to the stars,” Carolyn Cathey makes Colorado Springs a better place with her tireless devotion to activism and has also been known to hold down a mean rhythm guitar for several bands, including Unfocused Family and Tattooed Love Girls. In her own words: “I had a minivan that held all the band equipment, so I got to play with some really talented local musicians. I am eternally grateful for the experience of making $35 after a three-night gig at a local bar — best time ever!”

Essential Saturday night listening: Crack open a beer at home and crank up Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors, because I know every word to every song on the album.

Essential Sunday morning listening: I grew up in the Central Valley of California, and on Sunday mornings in my neighborhood, you could hear Vicente Fernández belting “Volver, Volver” as the boys waxed their low-riders. I play Linda Ronstadt’s Canciones de Mi Padre to bring me back home. I don’t know any of the lyrics or what the hell the songs are about, but I sure love the feel!

First record I bought with my own money: Janis Ian’s Between the Lines. This album was the soundtrack of my teenage life, the story of finding my sexual identity; knowing I wasn’t like the pretty girly girls dating the high school quarterback. Janis hadn’t come out at the time, so when she did, it all made sense as to why teenage lesbians were drawn to this album.

“Wish I’d written that” song: “Cowgirl in the Sand” by Neil Young. The line “old enough now to change your name...” struck a chord with me when I heard this song the first time. All my straight women friends were getting married, becoming wives and mothers. That wasn’t even possible for me, legally anyway, to marry the “woman of my dreams.”

“Wish I could unhear that” song: “The Night Chicago Died” by Paper Lace... ouch. Just ouch.

My latest online discovery: Billie Eilish... whoa! She is something! Not sure what to make of it, but I can’t stop listening. She showed up on a list of “Female Artists You Need to Know” and I had caught a minute of her interview with Ellen DeGeneres. She is edgy, and I like it!

Artist more people should know about: Sturgill Simpson. He has been compared to Waylon Jennings and Buck Owens. He really is capturing the roots of country music.

Guilty pleasure: BTS. I know, I know... but I love them!

All-time favorite: I love lyrics, songs that tell a story... artists who give voice to deeply felt heartache. Joni Mitchell is the best at that kind of thing.


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