Originally from Ralston, Nebraska, Kathy grew up in a large musical family, and was influenced by a variety of music as a young girl. Especially important was listening to her father’s piano renditions of Count Basie and Pine Top Smith, and exploring his collection of 78’s. She harmonized with her four sisters on traditional Czech and American folk songs, musical classics, and spirituals.
After moving to the Washington, D.C. area in the late 70’s, Kathy met Tom Lyon, her future husband, and they started performing as a duo in area clubs. “Two’s Company” and later the “Kat Lyon Band” toured extensively during the early 1980’s. They performed at ski resorts and small clubs around the U.S., traveling in their red VW bus. They also were invited to perform in seven overseas tours for the U.S. Dept. of Defense, traveling worldwide entertaining U.S. military and diplomatic personnel.
In 1986, the couple’s daughter Michelle was born, followed by their son Gregory in 1988. Taking a few years off from professional performance, Kathy and Tom produced several showcase performances in Northern Virginia, including a sold-out concert at the Barns of Wolf Trap. In the early 1990’s, Kathy joined the six-piece ensemble “Overjoy” as lead vocalist, partnering with bassist Harold Becton and other top D.C. area musicians for over 10 years.
In the mid-90’s, Kathy studied Jazz Vocal Performance with the Elliston Music Studios, and became involved with the Fish Middleton Jazz Scholarship Fund and FMJS’s East Coast Jazz Festival. She performed at the Festival many times, in her own showcase concerts, as well as featured vocalist with the Ricky Loza Latin Jazz Orchestra. Toured with the Ricky Loza Jazz Festival to El Salvador and Guatemala in July 2002, and the tribute tour in July 2003 after Ricky Loza’s untimely passing.
In December 2002, Kathy released her debut CD, “Kathy Lyon Live at the TomKat Nite Club”. She continued to appear at numerous Washington DC venues with many of the DC area’s top musicians.
Her second CD, “Here’s To Life/Live at the East Coast Jazz Festival”, was released in May, 2006. Recorded live at what turned out to be the last FMJS Festival (due to the loss of founder Ronnie Wells), the CD and DVD capture all the excitement and passion of a Kathy Lyon performance.
In May, 2005, Kathy and her family relocated to Navarre, Florida, and she became involved in the Jazz Society of Pensacola. She appeared onstage at the 2007, 2010 and 2011 Pensacola JazzFests, as well as numerous other Jazz Society events, and is currently in high demand among the Emerald Coast’s top jazz venues. She also has appeared at the 2011 Jazz-By-The-Bay Festival in Panama City, and at the 2012 Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival in Rockville MD (DC area). Her plans include adding more regional and national jazz festivals and first-class jazz venues to her performing schedule.