She left home a young, small-town musician with big-time dreams 
and the hope of someday singing her way into a break. Cindy Kaza never 
thought that break might actually find her, of all places, on a return 
trip back home. But that’s what happened for the 22-year-old singer-songwriter. 
	  For as long as she can remember, Kaza, of Newmarket, has been singing. She was 
16 years old the first time she performed at an open microphone night at the 
Bull and Bier House in her hometown of Plymouth. Nearly six years later, 
Kaza (pronounced Kay-zah) was back at the establishment in February, belting 
out tunes with The Amorphous Band. On this night, however, her soulful voice 
caught the right set of ears. And because of a chance meeting, Kaza, joined 
by longtime collaborator and friend Chris O’Neill, will be the opening act for 
John Hiatt and the Goners and the Robert Cray Band at the Hampton Beach Casino 
Ballroom on Tuesday, July 29. "It’s pretty exciting," Kaza said. "It’s so 
ironic. It’s one of those stories you’d hear on TV or something. I went back 
to my old neck of the woods, the place I left because I thought I’d never get 
any where, and this happens.
	"The Amorphous Band had played at the Bull and Bier Haus before. But in February 
there happened to be a music industry agent in the audience. In town for a family 
vacation, he heard her perform and was so impressed he approached her. "He came up 
to me and we started chatting," Kaza said. "We’ve stayed in touch." The agent had 
ties to the Casino Ballroom, which led to the opportunity to open for Hiatt and Cray. 
"For a few months, I was never quite sure. The guy pushed pretty hard to get (the gig) 
for me and it came through," she said. "It’s such an honor. I got to meet Robert Cray 
last summer. I really like his music." 
	Kaza left Plymouth for the Seacoast after dropping 
out of college with hope of improving her musical abilities and hooking up 
with somebody who could help further her career. She scored with O’Neill and 
The Amorphous Band, getting plenty of gigs and plenty of face time as she and 
the band became a regular act on the Seacoast. Every Wednesday night the band, 
of which O’Neill also is a member, plays at The Barley Pub in Dover. Her ability 
as a singer-songwriter was also noticed by local guitar guru Harvey Reid, who 
included her on one of his Seacoast Songwriters compilation CD’s. So locally, 
her career had come a long way from when she first arrived. The big break, 
however, was still out there somewhere. After being asked to open for Hiatt 
and Cray at the Casino, Kaza asked O’Neill if he’d like to play with her. 
"Originally, when the gig got booked it was just me," Kaza said. "I decided 
to bring somebody with me. Chris will be playing guitar. I’ll also be playing 
guitar and doing my music. It’ll have a fuller sound." 
	The two have played together 
for so long, so it seemed like the right thing to do, too, she said. "We play out a 
lot as a duo, so we have a lot of the material worked out," O’Neill said. "It 
seemed like the natural thing to do, but I suppose she could have gone out and 
gotten a more high-profile guitar player. I’m blown away by it." He said he saw 
Robert Cray in 1987, opening for Eric Clapton. "I’ve always been a fan," he said, 
adding that he also loves the Casino as a venue. 
	The two are currently practicing 
a lot to fine-tune the six or seven songs they will play during the 30-minute set. 
The game plan for right now is to do all of Kaza’s originals, though they might 
stick a cover song in the repertoire. Both say they are slightly mind-boggled by 
the fact that they will be playing in front of an estimated 1,800 people. According 
to Kaza, the club has already sold 1,400 tickets forthe show, making a sell-out 
all but a sure thing. Yet just below the nerves both Kaza and O’Neill are also 
excited for the chance to perform in front of such a crowd. "I’m definitely going 
to be really nervous. But I think after the first song you start getting into it 
and I can be myself," Kaza said. "I’m walking into it trying not to have any 
expectations. I just want to do the best I can and get my music out in front 
of as many people as I can." For me, it‘s exciting to say I’m opening up for 
these people," she continued. "But I’m not walking into this thinking it’s going 
to bring me superstardom. It’s a great opportunity and it’ll be a great experience." 
	And as Kaza has learned, who knows who might be out there among the 1,800-plus, 
listening to her sing? After all, playing a little out-of-the-way bar led to this gig. 
"That’s the thing with playing bars. You can go out one night, have a big crowd and 
think you’re a big deal," O’Neill said. "But, the next night, you go out and there 
might be only five people there. But any one of those five people might be able to 
help you. You always play your best every time you go out there."

Cindy Kaza and Chris O’Neill open for John Hiatt and the Goners and the Robert Cray Band at the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom on Tuesday, July 29. Doors open at 6 p.m. Show time is 8 p.m. Reserved seating is $36, general admission, $26. Call 929-4100 or visit: www.casinoballroom.com

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