Cincinnati-based guitarist Kelly Richey hears a lot of comparisons to Stevie Ray Vaughan. Even though she's a woman. And he's dead. Most of these assessments are based on Richey's fiery live performances and her equally scorching playing style, which features a very percussive right hand — just like the one the late Texan bluesman used to wield.
Over the past 10 years, Richey has released a series of albums on her own label, Sweet Lucy, after giving the majors a shot in the '80s, when she was a member of the group Stealin' Horses. "I saw how the big-label machine worked," she says. "I felt that if you're not the kind of artist that can work like that, you are better off following the indie route." Richey and her band are now on the road supporting last year's Live at the Thirsty Ear. So fans can expect plenty of her own tunes (including some brand-new tunes) as well as covers of songs by her guitar heroes, Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix. "You grow and remain open to possibility," she says. "I like to stretch the songs live, building them as we go along."