Folk this city

The prospect of fame, or “making it” in the music business, is something Audra Kubat’s been thinking about a lot lately. About a year ago, the singer-songwriter left Detroit to try to step into the limelight in New York City.

“I don’t know how long I can go on working as hard as I am without something really fantastic happening,” Kubat says. “I feel like there is nothing else I’d rather be doing, but I don’t want to be a waitress the rest of my life.”

Still hopeful, though, Kubat knows she has little control over the success or failure of her latest release, Since I Fell in Love with the Music. “Sometimes I think it’s just going to be a miracle,” she says.

Detached now from the cozy Detroit music scene — where she once stood out among the throngs of garage rockers and punks — Kubat’s kept herself busy in New York by waiting tables and by playing on as many New York stages as she can. Although she’s feeling better for all the walking and eating at work (this reduces the grocery bill), Kubat admits she misses Detroit: “I just miss that sort of hardworking, blue-collar attitude of Detroit.”

With few connections in New York besides an ex-Detroiter who helped her get a job at an upscale midtown Manhattan restaurant, and an old friend who graciously shared an apartment until she could find one of her own, Kubat finds that she’s been reading a lot more and thinking a lot. “I’ve been thinking that I was given a gift. It’s up to me to make it as good as I can.”

And it seems as though she’s made good on that. Though she’s often compared to Joni Mitchell, recently Kubat has been absorbing the work of blues greats like John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters and Etta James, and country godheads Johnny Cash and Lucinda Williams. And this departure from folk is evident on Since I Fell in Love with the Music.

“My songwriting’s a lot better. It makes more sense, and it’s less abstract,” Kubat says. “I’ve found that when I play I’m not as fearful. I can just give everything.”


Audra Kubat’s CD release party is at 9:30 p.m., Saturday, May 7, at Northern Lights Lounge, 660 W. Baltimore, Detroit; 313-873-1739. Molly Jean to open.

Mike Murphy is a freelance writer. Send comments to [email protected]
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