I have been wanting to write about Candye Kane, who lost her valiant, 8-year battle with pancreatic neuroendocrine cancer on May 6. I had the pleasure of interviewing the blues singer some years back for an article and I had wanted to write about her again – unfortunately this is the occasion.
Just looking at her music career, there is much to admire. Kane was a powerhouse blues belter whose singing was full of personality and life. She recorded over a dozen albums, including some for Rounder, Antone’s and Sire, and was a frequent Blues Music Award nominee. Her music exuded a fun-loving, ribald side but there also was a fierceness in her music and her songs also held strong messages of empowerment and inclusiveness.
Beyond the music, Kane lived an extraordinary life. She called herself an “East L.A. white homegirl,” Kane grew up in a broken home, was a single mom at 17. Worked as a adult pinup model while being a part of the L.A. punk/cowpunk scenes of the early ‘80s. By the late ‘80s, her musical interests turned to blues (you can hear Big Mama Thornton, Ruth Brown, Etta James in her sound) and started her recording career. For some years, she did Tupperware parties. In the early 2000’s, she converted to Judaism in the 2000’s. Kane also was a long-time supporter of social causes, particularly regarding rights of sex workers and the LGBT community. Her life was quite a story, so it is not surprising she helped create a stage musical, The Toughest Girl Alive, based on her story.
Here are a few clips that showcase Kane’s musical career
From last year
from Dutch TV
and going all the way back to 1989
Seek out any of her albums, there are all a treat.