Books by Rose Rosie Russell Children's Books Author Illustrator
   Introducing this great band, Crosseyed Cat and longtime friend, Karen Baum.

Your band is called "Crosseyed Cat." What can you tell us about this unique name? 
   We named the band after one of our favorite Muddy Waters songs. Jeff Graefe, our lead guitar player, and myself started the band and we are both are cat people and Blues people, so it seemed fitting.

   The song is about a man leaving his woman because she has a crosseyed cat that does not like him very much. I thought it was very funny and I took a bit of a liberty with the last line of the song;
You know my man says he’s so sorry, but he’s gonna leave me all alone
You know my man says he’s so sorry, but he’s gonna leave me all alone
But I’m not really by myself you know, I got a crosseyed cat living with me in my home.

How long has the band been together?

   We have been together for over eight years, with mostly the same lineup the whole time.
Blues, Rock, and Swing is what your website says you play the most.  Can you tell us more about that?
   We are generally a Blues based band, meaning that most all we play is based in the Blues and we can really rock it out! We do Blues covers and originals. Our harmonica player, Chris Ryan, brought his love of West Coast Swing music to the band. We do unique bluesy West Coast Swing covers from Rick Estrin & The Nightcats, Rod Piazza and others, along with original Blues Swing that we have written.

How many people do you have in your band?
We are a five-piece band;
Jeff Graefe
, on Lead Guitar
Chris Ryan, Harmonica and Vocals
Tom Tipton
, Bass, Vocals and Songwriting
Ron Still, Drums
Karen Baum, Rhythm Guitar, Vocals and Songwriting
How did you get together?
   Jeff, Tom and I knew each other from local Blues jams around town, and Jeff and I were part of another band for a short time before forming our own band. Tom Tipton and I have been writing songs together for years. In the beginning we had the core band of myself, Jeff, Tom and Greg Fowler on drums. We then met Chris Ryan at a Blues jam and really liked the sound of his harp playing. Chris had just moved to Kansas City from Iowa after being transferred by his day job. I believe he has one of the best harp sounds I have ever heard! Ron Still, our drummer, we brought on board about 3 years into the band. Ron is also the drummer for the Rick Bacus/Journeyman Band in town and has been playing locally, regionally and nationally since he was 14. 

I understand you are a songwriter!
   Yes, I’ve been writing songs since I was about nine, sending away for my first copyright when I was 10 years old. I got serious about being a songwriter when I was in my twenties. Together with my ex-husband we had a studio in our home, where we wrote and recorded. We shopped our songs in Los Angeles and New York, but it was hard doing it from Kansas City with three small boys. Came close a few times to getting one of our songs in a movie.

   Songwriting is my first love! Besides playing in my band, I also have an acoustic solo and duo act with original songs that are more in the alternative or roots genre. I host an Open Mic Night at The Piano Room bar every Wednesday and have been for over two years. It is located at 84th and Wornall Rd, in Waldo - Kansas City.  This Open Mic is very dear to my heart. I call it The Anything Goes Open Mic, as we welcome originals and covers from any genre. There is a piano set up and ready to go and most folks bring acoustic guitars, but we have also had banjos, mandolins, ukuleles, bag pipes, flutes, congas, even a saw! We also encourage spoken word, rap and acapella singers.

If you were to encourage our readers out there to start their own band, or write their own songs, what advice would you give them starting out? 
   Just do it! Get your core group together and practice, practice, practice. Then get out and play as much as possible. The more you play live, the more you can see what works and what doesn’t. Don’t get discouraged if a club or owner won’t hire you right away. Some of our steady gigs took years of nicely bothering the owner/club before we were given a shot. I would discourage anyone from playing for free or for less than the going rate. It ends up hurting all bands in what we can charge. Most of all … have fun!

Do you do much in the way of charity events?
   Crosseyed Cat band does quite a few benefits each year and we love supporting KKFI Community Radio, 90.1 FM. We have participated their band auction every year for the past eight years! I have also done a few solo acoustic gigs for different causes.

Do you have a CD?
   We are in the studio right now working on our first full-length CD. It is full of fresh original Blues and a few of our favorite covers. I’m very excited about this CD! Each song is unique and we have some great guest musicians lending their sound with Hammond B3, Accordion, Boogie Woogie Piano, Saxophone and more! It’s truly been a group effort and labor of love.
How can folks find you?
You can find the Crosseyed Cat band, some of our music and our schedule in several locations;
Facebook –
Website –
ReverbNation –

My solo music;
Facebook –
ReverbNation –

Thanks for your time and answering these great questions Karen!

Books by Rose Rosie Russell Children's Books Author Illustrator