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Katie Laur

"The reason I got involved with bluegrass… the reason I started listening to bluegrass was because it reminded me of home.  I can remember walking… it was… must have been in the early 1970’s… I can remember walking down Main Street with some friends of mine one night and they had said you’ve got to go to this place called Aunt Maudie’s.  And they’ve got this great music, you’ll just love it.  And we went and I opened the door and there was Jim McCall and David Cox and Junior MacIntire… Vernon MacIntire and they were playing the Salty Dog Blues.  Well, I just was transfigured.  I just had to… I… I don’t think I went home after that.  I just uh, went in and sat down and became obsessed with that music and I had to play it.  The harmony… there was vocal harmony that I was accustomed to that was kind of like thirds apart.  And um, and there… there was instrumental virtuosity involved that I appreciated since I’d had a… a lot of music lessons."

An accomplished musician, Kaite Laur led bluegrass bands in the 1970s and 1980s. A pioneering bluegrass musician, Laur led her own band, the Kaite Laur Band, at a time when women rarely fronted bands. After spending her early career in Detroit and Tennessee, Laur moved to Cincinnati in 1966, where she organized performances showcasing local musicians and continued writing bluegrass music. Here, she also ran a radio show called "Music from the Hills of Home" on WNKU and wrote monthly columns for both CityBeat and Cincinnati Magazine. In 2005, she was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro, KY. The city of Cincinnati also honored Laur in 2018 for her contributions to bluegrass music and the local artistic community. For Laur, bluegrass music is a deep rooted tradition that represents the hardships faced by rural Southern and Appalachian families facing poverty and job displacement.

"Katie Laur, Bluegrass Pioneer, Honored by City"

Katie Laur's Traditions episode.

Contents of the Collection

  • Full length performance at CityFolk
  • images of Laur performing on stage; old family photos; black and white images of Laur with other musicians, circa 1970s-1980s