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Posted on Thu. Jan. 09, 2014 - 12:01 am EDT

Kat Bowser returns to C2G for another Janis Joplin tribute performance

Blues singer is back by popular demand

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What: Kat Bowser performs with a full band in a tribute concert, “Buried Alive in the Blues: A Tribute to Janis Joplin.”

When: 8 p.m. Jan. 18

Where: C2G Music Hall, 323 W. Baker St.

Cost: $12 advance, $15 day of show. Tickets available in advance at Wooden Nickel Music locations, 3627 N. Clinton St., 3422 N. Anthony Blvd. and 6427 W. Jefferson Blvd.; Neat Neat Neat Records and Music, 1836 S. Calhoun St.; and www.c2gmusichall.com

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Janis Joplin once said, “Singing is like loving somebody -- it's a supreme emotional and physical experience.”

Kat Bowser, a singer and Janis Joplin tribute performer, hopes to share that experience and her love of music with fans at “Buried Alive in the Blues: A Tribute to Janis Joplin” at 8 p.m. Jan. 18 at C2G Music Hall, 323 W Baker St.

A transplant from Kansas City, via Nashville, Tenn., and Florida, Bowser has only lived in the Summit City for a year now, but she is loving the experience so far.

“There are a lot of pros to living in Fort Wayne," she said. "I like the charm, and there is really nice support for local music thanks to the help from (Rick) 'Doc' West, and, of course, Sweetwater.”

“Doc West (morning air personality at local radio station Rock 104, WXKE, 103.9-FM) was really supportive, and he encouraged us to get involved in other activities around town like Rock the Plaza," Bowser said. "He has been a real cheerleader for us. It's great to have the local support.”

Bowser, accompanied by her musician husband, Mark Hornsby, and other locally and nationally known musicians, will perform the tribute to the soulful, bluesy Joplin — nicknamed Pearl — who died in October 1970 from a drug overdose.

“Pearl” also is the name of Joplin's last album, which was released posthumously in 1971 and features “Me & Bobby McGee” and “Mercedes Benz.” Joplin's other hits include “Ball and Chain,” “Kozmic Blues” and “Piece of My Heart.”

Bowser and her musicians have played a half-dozen Joplin tribute shows, which are difficult to do because they perform almost two hours of pure Joplin-style music, which can be hard on a voice and a musician.

“Joplin is hard to sing because I don't want to tread on holy ground," Bowser said. "I don't sound exactly like her, but I just want to embody her passion and her rasp. ... I don't try to sound exactly like her because you just can't.”

The Rev. Mark Minnick of Come2Go Ministries and C2G Music Hall had no idea when they booked this show last year it would be such a huge success. But he's thankful for it, the fans and Bowser. That's why he had no choice but to bring the group back.

“Kat Bowser is a tremendous singer," Minnick said. "She can sing any genre, and her voice is very powerful. She can sing Janis Joplin better than Janis Joplin. She has the same emotion and the same power.”

Not only is Bowser one of Fort Wayne's best vocalists, but she has a group of Fort Wayne's best musicians backing her up. That's exactly what C2G hopes to bring to people -- great, affordable music in a welcoming environment

Bowser enjoys playing at C2G, but lately, she has been working on something else -- a new album.

Sweetwater Studios approach her about doing a blues project and collaborative album with some notable artists. While it's in the works now, she said the goal is to help put Sweetwater and Fort Wayne on the map.

“Sweetwater is really, really lucky to have a multimillion dollar studio here available to artists of all financial means," she said. "This project is to try to open up some doors and get it known to artists big and small.”

Mark Hornsby said the new album is a combination of Sweetwater musicians and some well-known musicians, too.

“She's a career singer, so this is just another opportunity to have fun and play some stuff we normally don't play,” he said.

Whether she's in the studio, on the road or performing in Fort Wayne clubs, Bowser puts her all into whatever music she performs.

“I just feel like when Janis stepped on stage, she didn't leave anything unsaid," Bowser said. "That's kind of what is going on in the back on my mind when I sing. I just think about the lyric and deliver it how I felt she would interpret it and the passion behind her approach to things. We just try to embody that free spirit and that energy.”

jgoldsborough@news-sentinel.com


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