- Candye Kane
Yes, Candye Kane is an ex-stripper and former adult-magazine pinup. Yes, she is also a bisexual feminist political activist who doubles as a Tupperware lady. But most important to music lovers, she can belt it out in the tradition of such powerhouses as Big Mama Thornton, Bessie Smith, and Etta James.
A survivor of East L.A.'s mean streets, Kane cut her musical teeth in Southern California's cowpunk scene before blossoming as a blues diva. But she is far from a straitlaced traditionalist. On her most recent album (2003's Whole Lotta Love), she ranges from a roof-shaking rendition of Etta's "Something's Got a Hold on Me" and a Led Zeppelin-influenced version of the Willie Dixon-penned title track to roadhouse reworkings of Carole King and Squeeze songs. Her own tunes, like the cheater's lament "27 Times" and the feisty "I'm Not Getting Older," are raucous charmers as well. A colorful performer (with a colorful life story), the sweet and sassy Kane enjoys dressing to the nines, complete with a tiara and boa. Backed by a sharp quartet featuring her son Evan on drums, she delivers "200 Pounds of Fun" (to quote a song title) that'll leave you begging for more.