kat & the travelers members
With an original focus on American roots blues, folk, and blues rock, kat &the travelers have performed in varying formats of duo, trio, and full band since 2007. As membership changed and interests evolved, the group began to settle into a trio of Kathleen Kraft, Doug Hedstrom and Kelley Chapman in 2010, together developing an extensive songbook of roots jazz, blues, swing and country along with original songwriting. On occasion, talented musicians were added to shows on percussion, keyboard, blues harp, and horns. In 2018, jazz drummer Quintas Mills joined the band providing percussion to performances on a regular basis and rounding out the group to a quartet. In late 2020, Michael Haag began sitting in on bass and became the band's full time bass player at Kelley Chapman's retirement.
Kathleen Kraft: Lead Vocals Kat grew up as a traveler, moving with her nomadic family across the continental US, Alaska and Europe. Under the large musical influence of her singer father, Kat heard a wealth of music as a young girl, listening and singing with dad to campfire songs, church hymns, folk and blues as well as jazz standards, swing, big band, Broadway and 70's soul. Over the years, Kat has stepped on stage at numerous area cafes, clubs, events and festivals. Past performance credits include lead vocals on R&B, funk and soul for Everyday People, as well as featured vocalist for jazz groups Wes Allen & Tom Harbeck, Marlon Foster & Friends, Mills Family Band and others. Kat has performed jazz, blues, swing, folk, country, rock and more as lead vocalist with her band, kat & the travelers, in its varying formats since 2007. Kat has also enjoyed her work as an advocate for her local arts and music scene, supporting artists and musicians by organizing exhibits and gallery shows at her own Gallery at Laughing Dog, and volunteering as a primary organizer of Harrisonburg's Fridays On The Square Summer Concert & Film Festival for 28 years.
Doug Hedstrom: Guitar and Vocals Doug picked up the guitar at age 13, when his little brother started taking lessons from an old jazz guy; "I was too shy to go along, so when my brother would come home, I'd get him to show me what he'd learned, and it surely worked out." Doug is an inveterate tinkerer and has built many hotrod and custom vehicles... so it's only natural that he also builds his own amplifiers and guitars. Thirty years ago, Doug moved to Virginia and started the band, Bluzonia, which became a longtime musical project. From Ernest Tubb to Thelonius Monk, his main influences are Jazz, Swing, Bebop, and old Country. In 2010, he began playing guitar with kat & the travelers performing roots jazz blues and swing, vintage country and many of his originals as a duo, trio, and with a full band....Doug says, "Who could resist the chance to play with such fun and talented musicians? "Well, thanks, Doug!"
Quintas Mills: Percussion Quintas seemed to arrive in this world ready to beat that drum, graduating from pots and pans as a tyke to a full drum set at 9 years old. By middle school he was studying under Marlon Foster (James Madison University) and performing in school concert, pep, and jazz bands. In high school while studying under Robert Jospe (University of Virginia), he performed in school concert, symphony, jazz, and musical pit as well as marching band where he earned the position of drumline captain. Q auditioned for the jazz studies program at Virginia Commonwealth University and upon acceptance carried on with jazz percussion studies under VCU's Tony Martucci. Favorite highlights in his drumming life so far include performing with his HS marching band in the Peach Bowl Parade and Peach Bowl Halftime Show at age 14, jazz concerts on the VCU W.E. Singleton Center for the Performing Arts stage, and now drumming back in his home territory with his mom Kat along on vocals for kat & the travelers. Along with regular performances with kat & the travelers, Quintas enjoys invitations to sit in with area musicians playing jazz, blues, and rock, including Mojo Parker Express, Randy Black, and Kimball Swanson & Friends.
Michael Haag: Bass and Backing Vocals - Michael originally hails from Northeast Ohio and started his musical journey playing trombone and began playing bass out of high school. Between working and raising a family, he performed with local Ohio bands over the years. Michael then stepped away from playing music for a time until he moved to Virginia in 2004, where he was introduced to the Charlottesville music scene by the Charlottesville Music Exchange Group and joined the Central Virginia Blues Society. Since locating to Virginia, he has performed in The Delta Backburners, The Electric Biscuit Continuum, The Gypsy Moths, The Still House All Stars, and Soul Perception, playing R&B, Soul, Classic Rock, Country, and Blues. Michael says he is honored to be performing on bass now for kat & the travelers. We are so happy to have Mike on board!
our song book
With a discovered shared affection for the beloved American standards of jazz, blues, country, rock, folk and a stored collection of originals written over the years, kat & the travelers have put together quite an eclectic and large songbook.