KELLY RICHEY BIO
Based in Cincinnati, Kelly Richey is one of the hardest working independent musicians out there; to date logging an extraordinary 900,000 miles touring, and at one point in her 28- year professional career, gigging a grueling 275 days out of the year. Richey started playing guitar at the age of 15. Today, a staggering 3,900 gigs later, she more than earns the title of master guitarist. She has been described as "Stevie Ray Vaughan trapped in a woman's body with Janis Joplin screaming to get out". She has been listed as among the top 100 gifted guitarists by the Truefire Community in 2011, and frequently draws comparisons to blues icons Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Richey has shared the stage with such legends as Lonnie Mack and Albert King, and has opened for Joe Cocker, Johnny Winter, Edgar Winter, Walter Trout, Little Feat, Foghat, REO Speedwagon, George Thorogood, Average White Band, Robben Ford, Warren Zevon, and James Brown.
Richey is a no-holds-barred, serious axe grinder. Setting up her band as a power trio (drums, bass, and guitar) showcases her muscular, incendiary leads and masterful guitar chops. Playing live is where Richey shines, literally bringing down the house at every show she plays. Cognizant of the emotionality in her live shows, Richey steamrolls; she hits the audience hard and fast, grabs on and doesn't let go. Making music that's hard rocking, blues-based, and guitar driven, she blasts her audiences with jaw-dropping lightening fast riffs and a muscularity of playing that even many of the best male guitarists don't possess. Her soulful voice– a big, powerful alto, provides the arc that completes the circle for a total sonic experience that is not to be forgotten. There is no denying that Richey's stage presence is powerful. The first few notes from her guitar and you know you are in very competent hands; in particular, her effect on the audience is not to be missed. Those who have never seen her play before are stopped in their tracks, stunned and speechless.
Although starting out on electric guitar, Richey also mastered the acoustic guitar, and for many years played in folk/rock duos, co-writing and singing with other musicians. She is a seasoned songsmith as well, weaving together gritty blues-based rock and Americana-ish roots-based music that's filled with introspection and cutting emotion. The brilliant song crafting very evident, in particular, on Richey's last four studio releases which contain all original material. Richey and her band were named Best Rock Band (1999 Cincinnati Entertainment Awards), Best Blues/R&B Band (2002 CAMMY Awards), City Beat's (Best of Cincinnati) Best Local musician in 2000, and she was honored to be the winner of the Arts Award for the 2011 Hot Mommas Project.
What People Are Saying
* USA Today
This gruff-voiced, blazing guitarist takes no prisoners on the new Sweet Spirit. – Jerry Shriver
* Barn Owl Blues (Netherlands)
"Kelly Richey is an excellent and exciting guitarist and her husky voice matches her rock songs. After a rocking foot stomping beginning, Kelly shows that she masters ballads and Blues as well. Fans of old-fashioned hard rocking Blues should certainly listen to this album." – Eric Campfens
* Vintage Guitar Magazine
"Guitarist/singer Kelly Richey has been described as "Stevie Ray Vaughan trapped in a woman's body with Janis Joplin screaming to get out." That makes a helluva picture, but it's as close as words come to describing the talent of this native of Lexington, KY….On these nine original cuts, the Strat-wielding guitarist interprets and expands on the great sounds of the masters, but with many original touches." – ECS
* Muzik Reviews
"Kelly Richey is an amazing blues artist with a rock attitude. With Janis Joplin vocals and Jimi Hendrix guitar skills, she makes some great tunes, and Sweet Spirit is full of them." – Craig Kidd
* Classic Rock B102.7
Richey is cut from the same cloth as her heroes Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Eric Clapton. She's one of the best female guitarists in the world in the blues and one of the best guitarists period. – Crash
* Guitar Player Magazine
…The Kentucky native layers crunchy riffs, sassy wah lines, and fiery solos over tight, funky rhythm tracks played by elite Memphis studio cats. But it's Richey's fast powerful picking hand that sets her apart from typical blues-drenched rockers. – Andy Ellis
* LA Weekly
Such adventurous extrapolations are exactly what's required if the blues genre is going to have anything new to say in the next century. – Falling James
* Modern Guitars
Though Carry the Light encircles the blues more than enters it, a blues ambiance persists throughout, especially in her guitar-playing approach. It blazes a scorching trail throughout most of the album. – Brian D. Holland