From Blues News Magazine 2013
By Cassi Houze
“Yeah I’m so sorry; I got to leave my woman alone,
Yeah, I’m so sorry; I got to leave my babe alone,
Well you know she got a cross eyed cat living in her home”
- Crosseyed Cat by Muddy Waters 1977
Kansas City also has a Crosseyed Cat living in the Blues Community. The Kansas City Band Crosseyed Cat was born from an idea from some blues jammers that met at various jams all over Kansas City. Guitarist Jeff Graefe talked to vocalist Karen Baum about starting a band and Crosseyed Cat was born. Toss in to the mix bassist Tom Tipton, Harp troubadour Chris Ryan, and keeper-of-the-beat drummer Ron Still and you have an over the top bunch of fun loving musical talent.
Karen Baum is the vocals up front and center. She and Tom Tipton are the song writers behind many solid original tunes. Karen cut her musical teeth at an early age and even received her first copyright for a song when she was 10 years old. Karen shares vocal duties with harpist Chris Ryan. Chris came to us from Iowa where he and his wife owned the Blues club, Blueport Junction. Bringing the likes of Jason Ricci, Rick Estrin, Mark Hummel, Nick Moss, Mike Morgan, Bryan Lee, Reverand Raven and many more to the Quad Cities. After a job transfer brought Chris to KC, he started jamming around town, where he met Karen at the Monday night Sam Fish Jam in Waldo. Chris’s strong vocals can be heard on the sassy original Tom Tipton tune, “54 More Payments to Pay.” Karen honor’s her father with the song she wrote “All I Want to Call You.” Unofficially this is known as the “Daddy song” for all of us grownup women out there. Jeff Graefe is a closet piano player but really shines with his guitar backing up the vocals or doing a toe curling solo. He also adopted Kansas City as his home. As he puts it, he was raised behind the cheddar curtain in Wisconsin. He started the piano at the age of 6 but discovered his true love was the guitar at the age of 15. After college he hit the Milwaukee Blues Jams as a regular and continued as a jammer after relocating to Kansas City in 2006. Tom Tipton grew up playing music but took some time off for daily life and all that goes with it. After 25 years decided to put the strap back on across his back and get out and jam. He spent four years with the wonderful Penelope and the Unusual Suspects. During that time Tom found that he loved to tell a story with music and has a bounty of songs to share. Ron Still, who just recently joined the band has been drumming and touring around this country since he was 15. He took time off to raise a family, and is now back at it with Crosseyed Cat, The Rick Bacus Band and many others including Janet Jameson. This is a tight bunch of professionals who have come a long way in a few short years.
Just in 2012, they wowed the crowds at the American Royal BBQ challenge, and will have the honor of returning for the third year in a row to play at the Eureka Spring Blues Festival. They play at venues all over town and have a regular 5:30 pm Happy Hour show the first and third Saturdays at Quasimodo’s, and the Sunday jam at 2pm at the Groove Station. Don’t miss them Friday February 8th as they return to BB’s Lawnside BBQ for a Pre-Mardi Gras celebration. You can buy a copy of their 5 Original song EP or just check them out at www.crosseyedcatkc.com, on facebook and/or reverbnation.