‘Nothing hotter than Kate Cotter’

Easy to understand having an anxiety dream before playing at a venue like the Nugget’s Celebrity Showroom.

Award-winning Reno songwriter Kate Cotter had played a couple of songs from her new CD, August, on a Thursday night in August. She didn’t look nervous. She wore a simple black top with slender straps, black pants and a cicle-shaped silver pendant. Straight blonde hair, shoulder-length, pushed back from her face. A bit of glitter. A wide smile.

At ease, she picked graceful melodies from an acoustic guitar.

She told the story of a dream in which numerous things went awry: It was time to go on stage and she hadn’t done a sound check. Other band members hadn’t arrived.

“But I thought, in the dream, I’ll be a pro and go on,” Cotter said. “Then I looked down, and I was holding a toy guitar, like a ukulele. I went to sing, and the mic stand got floppy—flaccid microphone.” In the dream, she saw a guy with a guitar sitting on a barstool playing “Freebird” while she attempted to sing.

“I think he was trying to help me out,” Cotter said.


“After that dream, whatever happens is OK,” she said.

“I’m going to sing a song called ‘Whale.’ It’s about (pause) a whale.”

More laughter.

“We love you, Kate!” a fan cried from the back of the room.

“I love you, too,” Cotter said, “but I can’t see you—the lights.”

A Reno musician releasing her second album couldn’t have played to a more supportive crowd. The showroom was packed with friends, family, members of the media and fans. There were folks from UNR’s English department, where Cotter’s friend Justin Gifford teaches, and co-workers from The Grill on South McCarran, where Cotter waits tables.

“That paid for this album,” she said. “If you buy enough T-shirts, I won’t have to wait tables anymore.”

Cotter’s face was in this paper and on the Nugget’s plasma screen. She printed 5,000 postcards and 1,300 fliers for the show. Fans found her MySpace page (myspace.com/katecotter), where the new CD’s title song plays, poignant and rhythmic. Lyrics: “He leaned over holding softness. Whispered ‘this is August.'”

The Web profile includes info of Cotter’s 2002 CD, Point of Real. “Evoking the musical spirit of Tracy Chapman, Toad the Wet Sprocket, and Counting Crows, Point of Real is a ballad-rich contemplation of the beautiful absurdity of human relationships and contemplation of the divine.”

And now, August. Cotter played all of her new songs—balanced alt-folk bits of darkness and light. In “Find Ourselves,” there’s a chasm to bridge: “I keep enough distance from you / You keep enough distance from me / To keep us both safe from ourselves / To keep us both perfectly free.” The solid dissolves in “Standing Near"—"The voice said, ‘Know your name / Even if you don’t …'” Guest artist Tony Cataldo pulled out his trumpet for the piece. Tim Snider of Sol Jibe kicked in with violin on several songs.

“We love you, Kate!”

She smiled, lowered her eyes.

“Love you, too.”

The set ended, but the applause didn’t. When Cotter returned for an encore, she was tossed a white shirt with a huge photograph of herself on its front. The back read: “There’s nothing hotter than Kate Cotter.”

She blushed.

“I’m glad I didn’t get this earlier,” she said. “I’d have a hard time taking myself seriously.”

Cotter held the shirt up. She was urged to put it on. Band members pulled shirts over their heads. Drummer Jason Thomas of Cranium and bassist Gia Torcaso of Dirty Pretty wore theirs backwards so the text was readable.

“I think I feel an anxiety dream coming on,” Cotter said.

“We love you, Kate!” someone sang out.

Cotter broke out the lopsided grin.

“Love you, too.”