Katy Moffatt has never broken through to the country mainstream, but she has earned a substantial cult following among roots-music fans and plenty of critical respect for her blend of country, folk, rock, pop, and blues. The younger sister of singer/songwriter Hugh Moffatt, she was born in Fort Worth, TX, in 1950 and first performed in local coffeehouses. She attended St. John's College in Santa Fe, NM, and while there, she appeared in the 1971 film Billy Jack. She subsequently dropped out of school and moved to Corpus Christi, TX, where she worked at a television station and sang with a local blues band. Unfortunately, the station was destroyed by a hurricane, and she moved first to Austin and then to Colorado, where she found a regular gig singing on a Denver radio station in 1973. That helped her land a deal with Columbia in 1975, and she issued two country-rock albums for the label: 1976's Katy and 1978's Kissin' in the California Sun, the latter of which featured members of the Allman Brothers. Neither broke her commercially, and she made ends meet as a backup singer, working with the likes of Willie Nelson, Jimmy Buffett, Poco, John Prine, Tanya Tucker, and Lynn Anderson, among others.
In 1983, Moffatt signed with the independent Permian label and recorded several acclaimed singles for them; although she didn't release an album or score a major chart hit, she still managed to land a nomination as the Academy of Country Music's Female Vocalist of the Year in 1985. Permian later folded, and she moved on to a new deal with Rounder subsidiary Philo, issuing her label debut, Walkin' on the Moon, in 1989. The 1990 follow-up, Child Bride, was a more electrified, rock-oriented effort, and both started to earn Moffatt some attention in the roots-music community. She recorded an album of duets with brother Hugh, Dance Me Outside, and saw the live set Indoor Fireworks released on the overseas Red Moon label. Her next proper solo effort, The Evangeline Hotel (originally released under the title The Greatest Show on Earth), was hailed by many critics as her best ever and an instant classic. It proved to be her last release for Philo, however; a pair of albums on Watermelon, 1994's Hearts Gone Wild and 1996's Midnight Radio, failed to maintain her critical momentum. 1998's Angel Town, issued on HMG, received good reviews, however, and she followed it with the straight-ahead country album Loose Diamond on Hightone in 1999. Her next project, 2001's Cowboy Girl, was a collection of traditional (and traditional-style) western songs, issued on Shanachie. ~ Steve Huey