Kacy Crowley has built a reputation for affecting, deeply personal songs, an emotionally charged voice that somehow manages to combine power and vulnerability, and a certain wanderlust:
Born in Northampton, Massachusetts. Raised in Trumbull, Connecticut. Attended the University of Massachusetts for one long semester. Dropped out to go "on tour" with the Grateful Dead. Moved to Los Angeles with just her songs and her guitar. Moved home to get her life together. Got her life together. Moved to NYC where she wrote more songs, formed bands, and waited tables. Moved to Austin.
"I wanted to go to a place where we could afford to live that also had a real community of musicians," Kacy says of Austin. "I just felt like I needed to work on my songs."
And in Austin, the habitual wanderer found a home. Kacy honed her songs busking on Austins famed Sixth Street, where onlookers offered attentive ears, spare change...and opportunity. Before long she became a regular act, playing in many of Austins favorite music venues, gaining fans, critical praise, and an enviable industry buzz.
In 1996 Kacy recorded her first CD, Anchorless, for Dallas indie label Carpe Diem, but before it could be released Kacy moved again. This time to Atlantic Records, who quickly released Anchorless.
"I saw the [article in] Time and said that must be a fluke, because how could that have happened? Then I got written up in Billboard and I didnt sleep for like three days. My parents are calling me to see what Im doing tomorrow. I dont know. Call the record company. I have no clue."
Let the whirlwind begin.
Over the next few years, Kacy toured the United States and into Canada, joined the Lilith Fair, played the H.O.R.D.E. Festival, opened for acts such as Chantal Kreviazuk and Marc Cohn, and participated in Neil Youngs Bridge School Benefit with artists like Alanis Morrisette, Metallica and the Dave Matthews Band. Her songs were featured in the films Little Boy Blue, Anywhere But Here and Three To Tango, and found their way into various television shows. Kacy was also a guest at Miles Copelands Castle, a prestigious songwriting retreat in France. Not bad for a girl from Trumbull, CT.
In 2000, Kacy recorded her second album for Atlantic Records, Boys in the Attic, with Fred Maher (Lou Reed, Matthew Sweet, Luna). The record was shelved by Atlantic, however, and soon after Kacy and the label parted ways.
"It was a blessing in disguise for me. It allowed me to take a completely fresh approach to my songwriting and to re-evaluate the kind of artist I wanted to be. My first words were Thank God...I was relieved. Then, of course, it hit me: Ok, wait a minute. I have to start over. I realized that I had spent years focused on my music and my career. I decided it was time to try and live life a little more. It makes for better songs."
Finally we come to 2003 and the release of her new album, moodswing. Produced by famed Austin producer and artist Jon Dee Graham (Patti Smyth, Michelle Shocked, The Gourds, and John Doe, among others), the album fulfills the promise so many fans and critics felt from Anchorless, revealing a songwriter who has truly found her voice, and a voice that has found its mark.
"I think this record is a very natural progression from Anchorless. I had ten years to write that record, but with this latest project, my experience was packed into a shorter time span and I think that makes moodswing a more potent record. Both records at their
core are about surviving ones emotional life and in many ways Im the same messy, torn-up kid as Ive always been, but also Im different now and so moodswing is different. Its better."
"Im ready to be back in the game, and I want people to see me again. I dont look at it like some big guy is going to see me and solve all my problems and change my world. I see it as an opportunity to play my new songs for people. My experience in the music business has made me less of a cynic and given me a kinder view of music," Kacy says of her new album. "I see the fragility of an artists expression now, and that fragility is its strength."
Kacy has never stopped writing and never stopped performing, and moodswing showcases an artist who to many may seem suddenly, even surprisingly, in full bloom. The rest of us can say we knew it all along.