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Whiskey Kate returns with new single and shows 

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click to enlarge More than a year after a debilitating auto accident, talented singer-songwriter Whiskey Kate is back in the spotlight with her new single 'Love Me Broken.'
  • More than a year after a debilitating auto accident, talented singer-songwriter Whiskey Kate is back in the spotlight with her new single 'Love Me Broken.'

Cast your mind back to the year 2014. Though it may now be hard to conceive, it was a simpler time. Taylor Swift's "Blank Space" and Pharrell Williams' "Happy" were topping the charts, only a very unlucky few knew who James Comey was, and people were pretending that the simulated entire-film-in-a-single-shot conceit in Alejandro González Iñárritu's Birdman was really cool.

In the world of country music, things were largely business-as-usual, with the likes of Florida Georgia Line and Dierks Bentley sharing the charts with Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley. If you were a local country music fan, you might remember catching an up-and-coming Texas-born singer known as Katy Graves performing one of her Colorado gigs in the midst of a schedule that included national shows, opening slots for Lindsay Ell and Cassadee Pope, and a profile in Center Stage Magazine, which declared her song "Texas Jewel" as "simply put, 'feel good' music."

Katy Graves, whose real name is Katy Grace, seemed set to ascend the ranks of the country music machine in the way one might expect to in the 21st century — opening for Nashville artists, signing and recording with an independent label, and appearing as a contestant on the Nash Next national country music search competition.

However, things took a frightening turn for Grace in February 2016, when she was involved in a multi-car accident in Colorado Springs. She was able to drive home from the site of the collision, believing she'd merely suffered a concussion. Grace couldn't remember the drive back, and her condition continued to worsen; she experienced seizures, severe pain and forgetfulness. Grace was later diagnosed with a traumatic brain injury and, bedridden and unable to sing or play guitar, her music career was brought to an abrupt halt.

Fast-forward to the present, and you can hear a new single from an up-and-coming singer now known professionally as Whiskey Kate. "Love Me Broken" is the first release since the accident and more than a year of healing. Along with adopting the nickname that previously adorned some of Grace's merchandise (and changing her previously blonde hairstyle to a fiery red), Whiskey Kate is now making music that eschews the overly polished trappings of modern Nashville country music for something far grittier, bluesier and straight from the soul.

There's a touch of countrypolitan slickness in the guitar riffs of "Love Me Broken" (which you can download at whiskeykate.com) that country fans should immediately latch onto, but the raucous power and raw emotion in Grace's blues-inflected voice fill an absolute void in contemporary country radio. When she sings "I walked the fire / I been to hell / wrestled the devil and freed myself," you simply can't doubt her sincerity.

Her upcoming EP, Out of the Ashes, not only focuses on the journey of recovery following her injury, but also "addresses her escape from an abusive marriage."

"Out of Ashes is truly a labor of love for me," she says in her bio. "It's the first time I've had the courage to be myself, and really find my voice."

While you're waiting for the August release of Out of the Ashes, you can catch Whiskey Kate live at several shows around Colorado, fresh off her performance in Nashville as part of the CMA Festival celebrations. She'll be performing Saturday, June 24 at 3 Freaks Brewery in Highlands Ranch; Wednesday, June 28 at Manitou Springs' The Townhouse; July 4 at Red Leg Brewing Company here in the Springs; and July 8 and 9 at Colorado Springs PrideFest.

Send news, photos and music to reverb@csindy.com

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