Even if her name isn’t immediately recognizable, her face surely is. Kathleen Wilhoite has been able to succeed at both an acting career and a musical one, although the former has garnered her stronger fame than the latter (Wilhoite has appeared in such films as Lorenzo’s Oil, Road House, Nurse Betty as well as shows like ER, Mad About You and 24 among others). Still, Wilhoite’s talent in songwriting wasn’t a newfound discovery; she had been writing music years before making a name for herself as an actress, performing shows and recording in-between film shoots.
Wilhoite’s debut album, Pitch Like A Girl, is about as good as a debut album can be. Released by V2 in 1997, the album features twelve amazingly well-written songs and Wilhoite’s smooth, husky voice and incredible songwriting.
Wilhoite’s sound is a nice blend of country-tinged rock. The kind of music that paints a scene of a warm, summer evening sitting on the lawn chair after an afternoon’s work on the ranch or driving in a beat-up truck with the windows rolled down on a two-lane road. Simply put, this is feel good music.
‘No One Can Touch Me’ is a definite highlight off of Pitch Like A Girl, beginning with a fade-in of guitar strumming and steady percussion. Actress Maggie Wheeler (the Fran Drescher-esque Janice on Friends and Wilhoite’s close friend) provides backing vocals.
‘Whatever It Takes’ is the album’s breezy opener, but also noteworthy is ‘Stop Yelling,’ a track at which a then lesser-known Nikka Costa contributes backing vocals.
If she kicks and screams she’s lived too long,
it’s the evil spirits that made her strong.
~ Kathleen Wilhoite
Independently released, Wilhoite’s sophomore record, Shiva, arrived in 2000 and continues where Pitch Like A Girl left off.
‘Witches’ Hill’ possesses a nice, big-band feel, enlisting horns and a strong chorus, following a formula that is a sure win for fans of old-fashioned rock, whereas ‘You Move Me’ is Wilhoite’s softer side and is delivered in a very Bonnie Raitt a la ‘I Can’t Make You Love Me’ fashion.
Since the release of Shiva,’ Wilhoite has been focusing more on her acting career it seems, receiving regular roles in many notable films and sitcoms. She’s most recently been seen in Charmed and as Luke’s sister, Liz, on the highly recommended Gilmore Girls.
Kathleen Wilhoite is a terrific actress, rest assured, but she’s also a spectacular musician. Let’s hope she doesn’t put that guitar away anytime soon.