By Bryan McKinney

The first thing that popped into my mind when I heard that Katey Sagal was bringing her band “The Forest Rangers” to sing at the Stagecoach music festival last year was a picture of Peg Bundy wailing in her nasally voice while gyrating up on stage in a too tight skirt. Who could blame me? The name Katey Sagal has become virtually synonymous with the iconic character she portrayed. Brother, I couldn’t have been further from the truth.

Katherine Louise “Katey” Sagal has created some memorable television characters, from Al Bundy’s shrill voiced wife on “Married With Children” to the sexy badass matriarch of the “Sons of Anarchy” motorcycle club. As an avid television watcher, I was more than familiar with this aspect of Katey’s talent. However, at Stagecoach, I got my first taste of her equally talented ability as a singer/songwriter.

What I didn’t know at the time was that Katey had actually been a backup singer for the likes of Olivia Newton John, Gene Simmons, Bob Dylan and Bette Midler before her big break came in television. I went into her performance at Stagecoach not really knowing what to expect, but I was pleasantly surprised by the melodic power of her voice, from the husky quality of her lower register to the clear purity of her high notes. It turned out that I had heard Katey sing before without knowing it on the soundtrack of the “Sons of Anarchy” television show. I particularly loved two of those songs, “Bird on a Wire”, which had a down home old time country sound that reminded me of the country artists my parents had listened to as I was growing up, and “Strange Fruit”, which is an eerily haunting melody about a horrific chapter in American history, which Katey sings beautifully.


I was lucky enough to actually meet Katey in the press area of Stagecoach. I almost didn’t recognize her at first as she looked nothing like either of her two famous television roles. After doing a double take, I steeled up my nerve to ask her if she would take a picture with me, just like the star struck fan that I was. Not only did she not look like her television counterparts, but her personality was completely different as well. There was no trace of Peg Bundy’s sarcastic persona, or of Gemma Teller’s cool calculating aloofness. She was gracious and down to earth and made me feel that she sincerely cared about her fans. I was left with a wonderful memory and a great story that I will never forget.

Katey has recently released a new album titled Covered, which includes a duet with Jackson Browne and takes on songs by Bryan Adams, Joni Mitchell and Tom Petty’s classic “Free Fallin”. It is her third album overall and first since 2004. It differs from her earlier albums, which contained self written songs, but does showcase her versatility as an artist. I look forward to renewing my acquaintance with Katey Sagal and the Forest Rangers at this year’s Stagecoach Festival, because Katey Sagal is someone who owns her reputation as a woman to be reckoned with, and as an actress and singer; she has still “Got It”. Peg Bundy can really belt out a tune!