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Redgate and Hardison belt it out in Lancaster.

Byline: Sara Barss

LANCASTER - The audience at the Lancaster Coffeehouse was treated to an exuberant concert Saturday night. Local talent, Agona Hardison, opened for Boston-based singer songwriter, Kate Redgate, and both women proved they could belt out a tune.

Redgate has a lot of energy on stage. She opened with "Into the Blues," a song she said would be on her yet to be released album. She is hoping to have it out in the fall. She sang "Missin' a Train" and "Walking a Fine Line." Her band, comprised of Justin Quinn on harmonica, Michael Mikis on bass and Zach Field on percussion, really rocked. With "Bitterroot Valley," Redgate told the story of living in Montana, driving to southern Illinois to get married, and then starting for the east coat with her "boyfriend, soon to be husband then eventually ex-husband."

Redgate has experienced the grit of life and her songs reflect that. She's no stranger to life, but she has a knack for turning the worst into song. "Another Story" was inspired by the death of her brother-in-law, but said it's for "any situation that has to end sooner than it should."

Redgate delivered her songs with a sultry, passionate voice. She's a sassy woman who can let it rip during her bluesy songs. She included in her set a great rendition of Dylan's "Spanish Boots" and continued with a song, "Dizzy," off her second record. She then admitted to the audience that she is not much of a football fan and told them, "So this is how much of a football fan I am. When we were setting up I said, `Was the Super Bowl today?'" She said she was almost thrown off the stage!

As she introduced "Rescue Me," she told the audience she had a "bionic arm" as a result of a severe fall, where she broke her arm. She wasn't sure she would ever play guitar again.

The group played several more songs, including "Nothing Tragic," the title track from her upcoming release. She closed with "Mississippi Moon" after inviting the audience to sing along. The audience broke out in applause as the band exited at the back of the stage and they quickly returned. Redgate laughed and said to the audience, "You guys want to hear one more? Well, there's no back door so we really couldn't leave." They performed "Mystery Train," complete with some great harmonica antics by Quinn.

Hardison, who now lives in Lunenburg with her husband and two boys, has been very active in the music business, but since her children were born, has taken time off from performing, instead spending her spare time writing. Now, she has returned to the stage. Hardison has a powerful voice - gutsy and soulful. You take note when she sings. For Saturday night's performance, she brought in her friend, Dave Tolar, who accompanied her on guitar and back-up vocals. After a quick tuning, she opened with "Window on the World," a song Hardison wrote while in Nashville. It would be hard to guess she hadn't graced the stage in a few years. She was relaxed and had a strong presence on stage.

She continued with "What it Means" and "Little Sister." The last song was very appropriate since both of her younger sisters were in the audience.

As she introduced "Take Me Down," she explained to the crowd that she has been "writing for TV for the past five or six years and `Take Me Down' has gotten quite a bit of play on the soap operas." She wound up her set with "Water in My Well" and "Tell Me, Tell Me" and closed with "Love Song."

The next coffeehouse will be held March 8 at the Janeway Education Center at the Perkins School and will feature The Laws with the Rafters opening. Tickets are $15 in advance, $18 day of show and may be purchased at the Sunrise Boutique and The Item in Clinton or by calling (978) 365-2043.

ART: PHOTOS

PHOTOG: Item photos/SARA BARSS

CUTLINE: (1) Agona Hardison, of Lunenburg, filled the hall with her voice on Saturday. (2) Kate Redgate (right), with Justin Quinn, performed at the coffeehouse.
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Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Feb 8, 2008
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