Kaye Bohler Does Her Part to Keep the Blues Alive

Kaye Bohler will perform at the Rhythm Room on Tuesday, January 6, to push her new CD, Handle the Curves.

She has a wonderful voice. People have compared her Turner because of her high-energy, in-your-face performance style that draws the audience in.

Bohler remembers watching Turner when she was 10 years old. Turner was wearing a red flaming dress and Bohler was absolutely star-struck. Bohler admires and emulates Turner's authenticity and athleticism.

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"I hate comparisons, but hearing that I sound like Turner is a great coup for me," Bohler says.

Bohler plays West Coast blues with some Chicago blues and soul sounds. She also loves the T Bone Walker and big band sounds.

Bohler wrote all the music and lyrics on Handle the Curves, which range from an introspective return to her youth in "Bubble Gum," fun-loving in "Party Time," and blatant double entendres.

Pete Anderson, legendary guitarist and Grammy-winning producer, produced the CD adding the Memphis style horn arrangements.

Bohler will be joined at the Rhythm Room by Phoenix guitar great Johnny Carrasco, Andy Gonzales on bass, Robert Scott on drums, and Chris Gough on keyboard.

Her favorite blues story recounts how she recently went to Buddy Guy's Legends Club in Chicago and met him.

"I revere Buddy Guy. He's a humble man and a lover about keeping the blues alive. I love his singing and guitar playing. I love to study the male blues singers," Bohler says.

In 1998, Bohler went to see concerts at the legendary Fillmore in San Francisco.

"There was wonderful energy in the room," she says.

Bohler saw Tommy Castro, Magic Slim and the Teardrops, and Junior Wells perform at the Fillmore. She would also see Castro play another time at a blues club near San Francisco.

There was a bad mood in the club, but once Castro played a Muddy Waters tune, the mood in the place changed for the better. The next morning Bohler wrote a blues song that included "It's the blues that gets me to healing" that is also on this CD.

Bohler wanted to sing and perform since she was 3 years old, but it wasn't until her final year in high school that she learned she had talent. At Pasadena Community College, she took a voice course and teacher Dan Barringer told her that she could sing opera.

"There were a hundred students in the class and after we sang we would be critiqued. It was intimidating," she says.

Once Barringer told her that she could sing opera, Bohler threw her books in the grass and went for the music career.

Bohler would later take private lessons from Barringer.

In her 20s, Bohler found the blues after studying and performing many styles of music.

"Slow blues is about the hardest song to sing. There's no place to hide, it's raw and real. I was just hoping I could sing like Aretha Franklin. That simplicity of form and depth within that form," she says.

Her first major influence was Franklin as she became interested in soul. Aside from Turner, Bohler was influenced by Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Al Green, Ella Fitzgerald, Etta James and Robert Plant from Led Zeppelin.

Bohler said she has a respect for the power and history of the blues because the blues is the roots for everything. She believes her voice is conducive to the blues because it's authentic and emotive.

"It's a big passion of mine to keep the blues alive," she says. "A lot of singers are contrived when their trying to do the blues. It takes a sincere approach."

Kaye Bohler is scheduled to play the Rhythm Room on Tuesday, January 6.

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Stan Bindell