Photo by David Sameshima

Chicago singer-songwriter Kathy Greenholdt wrangles with human desires, spiritual questions, and the natural world in brightly dark folk-rock.

In 2002, at age 38, Kathy learned to play guitar and wrote her first song. Since then, she has issued eight collections of original music and has performed both acoustic and full-band shows. Her newest album, If, is currently being released.


If Album (being released right now):
Newcity Magazine featured the If album as a “Music Top 5” in the October edition. Check it out here.

Halos Are History Album:
Tom Jackson of Chicago’s WLUW-FM named Halos Are History to his list of favorite albums of 2017. Richard Milne of Chicago’s 93XRT said that after being a non-musician for a long time, Kathy has been “making up for lost time.” He said, “Kathy, I think this is your best record.”

On the Album The Pilgrim:
Traveling the Sacred
Chicago based singer/songwriter Kathy Greenholdt’s latest offering is The Pilgrim, a seven track release that is filled with spirituality, nostalgia and a touching tribute to her sister. It is inspired by Greenholdt’s travels to Spain, Italy and France and her pilgrimage to explore the lives of the saints Ignatius of Loyola and Teresa of Avila plus a later visit to scatter the ashes of her sister. Montserrat inspired one of her songs, “From my Window”, a gentle, guitar led song which lays Greenholdt’s vocals bare. And fine vocals they are too. A late comer to song writing and playing, it wasn’t until her late 30’s that she began playing guitar. This, however, is no disadvantage, as she brings with her maturity of both lyrics and voice. The song has scattered children’s voices and church bells which lend a mystical air. “Desire: The ecstasy of Saint Teresa of Avila” and “In this Garden” show off Greenholdt’s voice well and the more stripped back the song, the better chance you have of appreciating her vocal tone and nuance. “Now that you’re Gone” is a beautiful tribute to her sister. A touching and poignant album. (Reviewer’s score: 8 out of 10)

– Paula Cooke, Americana UK, 2016

On the album The Pilgrim: “What we get to hear is high quality acoustic-tinged singer/songwriter folk/Americana in the best 1970s style of Melanie, Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez and Marianne Faithfull, but also reminding a bit of Martha Wainwright. Kathy has a very strong voice and songs like ‘Now That You’re Gone’ (strong melodies and harmonies thanks to musician/producer Steve Dawson), ‘Blue Girl’ and ‘Dig Out’ (calm start, but evolves into an uptempo country-ish tune) show that we are dealing here with a talent.” (Reviewer’s score: 8.2 out of 10)
– Gabor Kleinbloesem, Strutter’zine (Netherlands), 2016

On the album When You’re Dead: Kathy has “the ability to create music of a powerful nature—deceptively powerful.” And, “her voice is unlike any I’ve ever heard.”
– Richard Milne, WXRT-FM (Chicago), 2013

“A songwriter of supreme power” and “a singer of great promise.”
(Reviewer’s Score of When You’re Dead: 8 out of 10)
– Martyn Coppack, Americana UK, 2013

On When You’re Dead: “Beautifully moody, brightly dark Americana that is worlds beyond the quality of her last (fine) album. I recommend you all go Green(holdt).”
– Jake Austen, Roctober Reviews, 2013

“With her new album, When You’re Dead, Kathy Greenholdt solidifies her reputation as a gifted vocalist with ruminations on bravery, peace and even God. In Greenholdt’s unique brand of Americana-infused folk/pop, her assured vocals shift and shade to fit each song’s mood…. And they’re accompanied by the outstanding production and exemplary instrumentation of Dolly Varden’s Steve Dawson.”
– Bryan Cahpin, Chicago Indie Music Live, 2013

Lowly Violet, the 45-year-old singer/songwriter’s latest effort, includes eight tunes showcasing her affecting voice and emotional lyrics. Cuts like ‘Fire’ and ‘The Dream’ sometimes suggest the gritty energy of Melissa Etheridge, at other times the studied nuance of Martha Wainwright. Happily, they’re at all times pleasing and profound.”
– Jeff Berkwits, Illinois Entertainer, 2009

“[‘Summer’s Through’] is just a gorgeously understated piece of songwriting….[Wake-Up Prayer] has been in the pile of must-listen-to-them-again CDs for ages….I ended up playing it five times in a row, so apologies to the nextdoor neighbor.”
– Steve Lamacq, BBC Radio 2, 2007

• In 2015, Kathy talked about finding success at any age during an on-air panel discussion on Chicago’s public radio station, WBEZ-FM.

Kathy was a guest writer for the weekly nature blog, City Creatures, hosted by Chicago’s Center for Humans & Nature. Her piece, which featured her Spring-related song, “The Light,” was first published in 2013 and continues to be shared by the Center of Humans & Nature on social media in the springtime.

• Lilli Kuzma, host of WDCB-FM’s “Folk Festival,” named When You’re Dead to her list of “Faves” for 2013.

• “Summer’s Through” from the Wake-Up Prayer EP was featured by Steve Lamacq on BBC Radio 2 and selected as the focus of a listener call-in contest.

• Kathy’s music was chosen for Females on Fire, Vol. 3, a compilation album showcasing women songwriters from around the world (produced by Gilli Moon and Warrior Girl Music, Los Angeles).

• In 2012, the Chicago Music Commission invited Kathy to participate as a panelist on the Musicians At Work forum, “Recording and Manufacturing an Independent Music Project.”

• In 2008, Kathy had her first song accepted into a music library. She established her independent publishing company, Bindweed Music, in 2009.

If (Released August 9, 2020)
Halos Are History

The Pilgrim (2016)
When You’re Dead (2013)
Lowly Violet (2009)
Females on Fire, Vol. 3 (compilation, 2008)
Wake-Up Prayer (EP, 2007)
Wisdom Days (2005)
Guilty Game (2003)

More than 140 radio stations as well as Internet radio programs throughout the country and around the world: WXRT (Chicago), WLUW (Chicago), CHIRP Radio (Chicago), UIC Radio (Chicago), WDCB (Chicago/Glen Ellyn), Chicago Acoustic Underground, WVLP (Valparaiso, IN), WNUR (Evanston, IL), BBC Radio 2 (London), WGN Radio (Chicago), Radio DePaul (Chicago), Pandora, KBBI-AM (Homer, Alaska), WXPN (Philadelphia), Freight Train Boogie Podcast (Santa Rosa, CA), WRTC (Hartford, CT), Nette Radio (Los Angeles), 88.6 FM (Victoria, Australia), Radio Clandestino at, North Star Radio, WGOE (Richmond, VA), Celtica Radio (Wales), KPFT (Houston), KRFC (Ft. Collins, CO), KSYM (San Antonio), WCBE (Columbus, OH), WDBM (East Lansing, MI), WDVX (Knoxville, TN), KOPN (Columbia, MO), KRCL (Salt Lake City), KZSU (Stanford, CA), KFJC (Los Altos Hills, CA), WFDU (Teaneck, NJ), KRSH (Santa Rosa, CA), KVMR (Nevada City, CA), KVNF (Paonia, CO), KWMR (Point Reyes Station, CA), WERU (East Orland, ME), KRCB (Santa Rosa, CA), KZGM (Cabool, MO), WAZU (Peoria, IL), WUOW (Oneonta, NY), WMNF (Tampa, FL), KLCZ (Lewiston, ID), and KQAL (Winona, MN).