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Kathryn Caine Band hopes to make a name for itself on the Richmond music circuit.

Sweet Southern Sounds

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Charlottesville-based singer-songwriter Kathryn Caine's name may not now ring familiar, but she's hoping this will change after she brings her sweet Southern twang to Richmond this month and next. Caine's groove-heavy band features former members of the now-defunct popular regional band Indecision. She describes her show as a funky mix of country-tinged originals, Gram Parsons hippie hillbilly-rock and "obscure" soul covers. "We like to call it roots-oriented rock 'n' soul," the affable redheaded Caine says. "You can definitely tell it's Southern."

Caine grew up in a musical family in Whiteville, N.C., the daughter of a bluegrass banjo- playing doctor. Early on, she listened to everything from Loretta Lynn and Hank Williams to AC/DC and Led Zeppelin. But the idea of playing in a band didn't hit home until her preteen years when she heard Maria McKee and the early-'80s band Lone Justice. Some years later, while at college in Charleston, S.C., Caine discovered Emmylou Harris and Gram Parsons and began playing in rock, country and cow-punk bands around town. She headed to Nashville after graduation, but after singing demos for a year, she returned to her North Carolina home badly disillusioned with the country-music industry machine.

Through family ties, Caine met ex-Indecision guitarist David Ibbeken, and they forged an immediate musical bond. In 1997, Ibbeken helped Caine cut her first indie CD, "Whiteville," a country-flavored project that primarily features her songs of drifting dreams and shattered hopes. Pleased by the way the recording turned out, she and a band started gigging around Columbia, S.C. But in '98, Caine and husband Charlie Humphreys decided to take the plunge and move to Virginia where she could form a permanent group with their Indecision friends and others. Earlier this year, they cut "Kathryn Caine Band." The CD retains a country feel while accenting the funk and giving the band room to stretch out instrumentally. Again, most of the songs are Caine's, and they reflect sides both tender and strong.

Caine and her band have been playing shows in Charlottesville since the release of the CD. But it's clear she's anxious to get out on the performing circuit with her band and she's looking forward to playing Richmond three times in the upcoming weeks. In addition to this Wednesday's show at Babe's, the band is booked for a return show there on Friday, Dec. 3, and for a show at the Cary Street Café on Thursday, Dec. 9.

Like many, Caine has invested plenty of time and energy in her music, and, like many, she wants the chance to play. As she explains her ambitions, it's with that soft determined way that implies she'll keep knocking around until talent and luck open up a break. Though her long-term future may be uncertain, Caine and her band are sure to hold appeal for fans of country roots-rock or for those simply looking for a fresh sound and voice on a Richmond music scene that needs some new

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