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Guitar-Slinging Tunstall Bashes Past Gender Gap

Of the Oakland Press

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After a debut album — 2005’s “Eye to the Telescope” —that sold more than 3.5 million copies worldwide, British rocker Kate “KT” Tunstall finds the true measure of respect ... in music stores.

“If I go into a guitar shop now,” says Tunstall, 32, “I get full-tilt respect from the boys behind the counter. Apparently it’s very sexy having a girl play guitar, so it seems to be enjoyed greatly.

“The important thing I’ve found with people’s attitudes towards me as a musicians is I play. It’s been noticeable. I’m treated as a player, a musician, which is really important to me.”

Besides its impressive sales, “Eye to the Telescope” won four BRIT Awards in Tunstall’s homeland and was nominated for the prestigious Mercury Music Prize. The hit “Suddenly I See” won the Ivor Novello Award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically, while another single, “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree,” was named 2006’s best track by Britain’s Q magazine and was nominated for a Grammy Award.

All of that, of course, put some pressure on Tunstall’s follow-up, “Drastic Fantastic,” which debuted at No. 9 on Billboard’s Top 200 chart — and No. 1 on the Top Rock Albums survey —upon its mid-September release. But Tunstall says she turned those expectations into excitement.

“The important thing for me after the experience with (‘Eye to the Telescope’),” she explains, “was to make something that I really loved and make something that I was really happy to spend a lot of time playing. And the most important thing for me was to try and progress.

“In terms of sales, it was so completely off the scale with the first one that I kind of felt like I’ve sold lots of records already, and I almost felt like I really didn’t need to check in this time — which was obviously not what my label felt, I’m sure!”

KT Tunstall and Paddy Casey perform at 8 p.m. Saturday (May 17) at the Power Center, 121 Fletcher St., Ann Arbor. Tickets are $40, $35 and $30. Call (734) 763-3333. Visit www.annarborsummerfestival.org. Tunstall also will perform at the Detroit Shock home opener at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at The Palace of Auburn Hills, Lapeer Road at I-75, Auburn Hills. Call (248) 377-0100 or visit www. palacenet.com.

Web Site: www.annarborsummerfestival.org

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