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KATIE McCROSKEY: Press

Alluring, inviting, lascivious and sexy, Katie McCroskey's new album "Your Place or Mine" is as slick as any when it comes to music to get you in the mood. Recorded in downtown Springfield over the last several weeks, "Your Place or Mine" is a combination of cover tunes (Lonnie Mack's "Fallin' Back in Love with Your") and McCroskey originals such as the title track.

" 'Your Place or Mine' is a smooth jazz number," says McCroskey. "I literally purr lyrics about where our love will go tonight." At Lou Whitney's low-lighted South Avenue studio, the title track is played repeatedly as Whitney listens for any note he wants to fix. A "master," McCroskey says, Whitney spots a too-strong "k" on the work "take" that goes undetected by those who aren't as naturally skilled. Whitney quickly adjusts one of hundreds of dials and buttons on the huge audio control board laid out in front of him and eliminates the minor imperfection. Pronouncing the title track "done", the music is transferred onto a large reel of tape and sent to the company pressing McCroskey's CD.

McCroskey started singing as a kid in Kansas, and practiced her sound in the halls of a Catholic school for girls. Performing locally in now long-gone bars such as Lindberg's and the Buffalo Bar, McCroskey's been seen more recently in the Ozarks at Nonna's, Cartoon's and Harlow's. Those lucky enough to attend hear McCroskey perform at the Annual Bob McCroskey Ice Cream Social each summer. (Realtor Bob McCroskey might be Katie's biggest fan, seeing as he's her husband and all.)

McCroskey has combined a love of performing with feet-on-the-ground careers for the last 25 years. After attending business college, her first official job was selling Kirby vacuum cleaners. The only time she solely made a living from music was during a stint at Branson's Starlite Theatre in 1985. After, McCroskey worked in the insurance business for some years before joining her husband in real estate.

"From a personal growth perspective, I'm a slow starter," McCroskey deadpans. As for her self-financed "Your Place or Mine," she says, "I've been chained to a desk for 25 years. It was now or never." McCroskey adds that she's "taking donations" if anyone is looking to buy into her effort.

McCroskey isn't alone on "Your Place or Mine." The title track comes complete with a steamy saxophone solo by local Richard Bruton. Bruton also adds a flute that meshes with McCroskey's voice; the combination is sultry without being obvious, in contrast with much music that passes for libidinous these days.

Aside from McCroskey and Bruton, "Your Place or Mine" utilizes talent from other local artists: Bo Brown on Dobro; lead guitar by Michael Cochran; fiddle from David Wilson; harmonica from Randy Ebrite; Lloyd Hicks on percussion; Joe Terry on organ.

"I ain't nothin' without all of this expertise going on," demurs McCroskey in her sometimes-used Ozarks drawl.

Other tracks on the CD include "Like the Water," written by former Springfield singer/songwriter Mimi Baczewska. "Fallin' Back in Love with You" has a smouldering jazz feel. "Past the Point of Rescue" is a steady number that's all about love. Melodic and romantic, "The Comet" again includes Richard Bruton's flute. Not all flowers and chocolate, "Your Place or Mine" holds more than the torch-stylings McCroskey lays down on the title track and others. But if you were looking for amour or a slow groove in February, this wonderful CD will do the trick.

(At press time, "Your Place or Mine" was set for an early February release. The CD will be available on the Internet at katiemccroskey.com and at local outlets of Borders Bookstore and Barnes & Noble, both on S. Glenstone.)
Ann Keyes - Downtown NOW (Feb 1, 2006)
Together for some 10 years, Wild Hare has melded into a solid group whose steady blues rhythms and creamy vocal harmonies have earned a loyal local following. Wild Hare originated largely because of Nellie Dunn’s, Commercial Street’s premier vintage clothing and furniture store. Randy Ebrite is the store’s proprietor, a Springfield civic figure, and Wild Hare’s showcase harmonica player. Having played with several local groups including Whiplash, Ebrite is also a veteran of the Springfield music scene. Ordinarily on the subdued side, Ebrite blows his harp with uncommon animation, and then with his stirring baritone voice, adds a texture to the group’s sound that really isn’t found in other local bands. Cochran, cousin of Ebrite and co-owner of Nellie Dunn's for 14 years, is a published and covered songwriter who paid his musical dues as a founding member of The Sound Farm, an alternative and original music group which toured extensively (including Springfield) in the late ‘60s to mid-70s. Ebrite and Cochran teamed with McCroskey for occasional jams in Nellie’s storage area above the store. “People came by to hear us jam, and I guess it just got out of hand,” comments Ebrite.

Katie McCroskey packs her vocals with a sophistication gained through nearly 20 years of performing in clubs and concert halls throughout Kansas and Missouri, including a Branson stint at the Starlight Theater. “She’s our own ‘Girl Singer’”, jokes Michael Cochran, the group’s lead guitarist. Under her maiden name, Katie O’Bryan performed as a solo act for Springfield audiences (remember Lindburg’s and The Buffalo Bar?) but finds more satisfaction in the Wild Hare mix. “It’s a thrill for me to be playing the kind of music I love with these guys—I’m in awe of them truly,” says McCroskey.
Rounding out the mix of talent in this dance-able group are bassist George Horne and drummer John Gott, each one a standard in the legacy of music in the Ozarks. Horne is possibly best known as a member of the hugely popular “Undergrass Boys”, performing for many years at Silver Dollar City and regionally as well. “George’s bass brings the whole sound together,” says McCroskey. Few musicians in this area will fail to recognize Gott, (Swingfield Spring Band, Men At Pause) whose company, SLS International, manufactures a nationally known and highly praised speaker system. Gott’s patent on a ribbon-driver has made his name familiar to such greats as Neil Young and Huey Lewis--in fact, Gott won’t be able to play the Friday night gig due to a scheduling conflict. “They’re using his speakers at a Grammy Award show and they want him to be there. Imagine that—choosing the Grammy’s over Wild Hare!” jokes McCroskey. Rick Davidson, drummer for McCroskey’s former group “The Ozark Mountain Oysters and Pearl” will sit in on Friday. no wonder Wild Hare’s gigs are few and far between. Besides Gott’s busy travel schedule, Cochran is currently putting the finishing touches on his second biography of a famous guitarist—Les Paul. In collaboration with his brother, Russ Cochran of West Plains, Cochran penned a highly acclaimed work on the life and guitars of Chet Atkins just prior to Atkins’ death.
Well, yeah, I wrote it myself... - Press Release