COTTAGE GROVE – Katie Sontag has a passionate personality. She doesn’t believe in doing anything halfway when she finds something that really strikes her fancy.
Take her band, for instance. KT & The Love Notes is all about love – the good, bad and the ugly aspects of it. It also includes the love of a baby, the love of our neighbors, the love of society.
“Love happens in many different forms. There’s also musical notes,” Sontag said after playing two long sets of strictly original music Friday night at the Brewstation. “But the title was Jon’s idea.”
Jon is stand-up bass player Jon Brex, who also happens to be Katie’s husband and the father of their 13-month-old daughter, Calliope.
“I held onto that one for a long time. It was a case where the name existed and I just needed to find the right place for it to be effective,” Brex said.
After focusing on a music career for about 7-8 years, Sontag now has a new family and a new passion in her life – which has created quite a daily balancing act.
“It’s been very difficult, but it’s worth it,” she said. “It also makes me feel more motivated to do what I want to do and try as hard as I can.”
Sontag, a former Cottage Grove resident before settling into Eugene, has taken some of her frustrations with motherhood and turned them into songs. Some of them had the audience laughing out loud, especially “That Baby Ate My Brain.”
Here are a few excerpts from that song:
Hello, can you help me please? There’s someone in our midst, trying to destroy me.
Her smell – intoxicates me. She may look small to you. But she can overpower me.
And don’t be fooled by that toothless grin. She can suck down anything – and she sucked me right in.
Sontag’s music has been described as “transcendental indie folk,” but it’s difficult to put a label on it. The band constantly mixes up the mood and the tempo, never leaving the listener bored. While some songs are funny (“How Can I Miss You If You Won’t Go Away?”) others are so deep, so meaningful to her, she says there’s one tune in particular that encapsulates what she’s all about and what she’s trying to create with her music and sing-alongs.
Here’s the opening verse to “You Are Not Alone:”
If I could I would put you in a box,
And open you on days when I just want to give up.
And your voice would come out so strong,
Singing out in song and I would sing along.
Ah-yes, community sing-alongs! That’s another one of Sontag’s all-consuming passions. (Just how many all-consuming passions can one person have?)
“I have a passion for people singing together and I actually write songs that have parts for other people to sing, and then I met this woman who was doing these sing-alongs and she basically taught me her method for nothing,” Sontag said. “She had these songs and I sat in on a few dates with her – there was definitely a learning curve – but yeah, now that’s what I do. It’s really wonderful and amazing.
“I basically make my living playing at residential assisted living facilities doing sing-alongs. I play at Magnolia Gardens and Middlefield Oaks once a month. I also play at the Holiday Market and Farmers Market.
“I hope to start doing more gigs. I played several gigs in the Portland area. I’m hoping to start doing more touring, but then I had a kid. So I’ve accepted the fact that I’m a local musician for the time being.”
So far she has released two albums – “Temple Under the Stars” (2018) and “Still Breathing” (2020). Guitarist Tim Shaw collaborated with her on “Still Breathing” and made a guest appearance Friday night.
Sontag wants to do it all. She’s reaching for the brass ring. Somehow, you have to think that her story is going to feature some lovely high notes.