Welcome to Arizona’s Real Katie LeeWebsite

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Award winning… Colorado River, Glen Canyon and cowboy history folksinger, author, photographer, videographer and wilderness activist, adventurer, friend… These are all words that may describe aspects of this woman, but they do not begin to define who she is.

“Katie Lee speaks for the canyons and the sweet desert recesses. She is our foul-mouthed, lightning-eyed, boot-stomping balladeer, a character Louis L’Amour never could have invented. Born from the rock itself, she is a lifetime of experience on this wild, restless, cradling ground. If you want to know this place, you need to know Katie,” – Craig Childs, The Apocalyptic Planet, The Secret Knowledge of Water, etc.)


Katie Lee
October 23, 1919 – November 1, 2017

A Message About Katie’s Online Store…

It is with a saddened heart that we share the news that our beloved Katie Lee passed away in her sleep on the morning of November 1, 2017 in her home in Jerome, Arizona at the age of 98. Prior to her passing, Katie made arrangements with Northern Arizona University’s Cline Library to care for and provide access to her archival legacy. Anyone interested in learning more about Katie Lee or obtaining copies of her works can contact the Cline Library Special Collections and Archives at Special.Collections@nau.edu or 928-523-5551.

If someone needs to contact anybody about Katie Lee’s business they can contact her executor, Kathleen Williamson at 520-623-8414 and kgw@williamsonandyoung.com.


Katie Lee’s Newest Work…

BALLAD OF GUTLESS DITCHKatydid Books and Music, 2010

Katie’s free-verse Western adventure is set in Gutless Ditch, a Western mining town of the late 1800’s. It stars the handsome lawyer Matt Kinkade; Potrero, Matt’s ornery black stallion; Danielle, the petite schoolmarm who captivates Matt with charm and beauty, only to suddenly disappear; and “Mat-a-low,” a child with big round eyes who magically appears nine years later in a bewitching glade outside of town. There are as many provocative and captivating twists through love, lust, betrayal and redemption as the sinuous canyons of the great Southwest canyons that Katie has explored and written so evocatively about. Its inspired mystical ending is as unexpected as it is entrancing.

Robin Anderson, nationally renowned artist from Jerome, Arizona, has illustrated the book with twelve remarkable etchings.

The Ballad of Gutless Ditch is a very finely designed, limited edition of 500, numbered and signed by author and illustrator. Once the edition is sold out, no other editions will be published.


Maude, Billy & Mr. D (CD)MAUDE, BILLY & MR. D – A FOLK OPERA Katydid Books & Music – 1956 -1981

In 1956, I read an intriguing Western short story in the Saturday Evening Post, “The Rider on the Pale Stallion”, by Helen Eustis. In 1990, I transformed it into lyrics and music and gave it a different title. I consider it my best work; and performed it many times in concert to a spellbound audience.

Way back in the mid-fifties, I read a story in the Saturday Evening Post titled, “The Rider on the Pale Stallion”, written by Helen Eustis, an author well regarded back then in the heyday of folk music and folk tales. Her story simply cried aloud for music and rhyme, so I began making it into a Folk Opera, writing lyrics and music, using the author’s words in-between the songs to keep the story intact.

While I was performing at the Blue Angel in New York, and had almost finished the music, I looked her up. I played it on my guitar, sang it for her, and learned that her original title was Mr. Death and the Redheaded Woman; that it had been performed for Television–acted (no music) by Eve Marie Saint and Lee Marvin. She pronounced it “horrible,” told me mine was the best treatment of her story yet, and encouraged me to finish it – which I did and began performing it in concerts throughout the USA.

(Full story about this song HERE)


Kickass Katie Lee from Seventh Art.

Cussing like the cowboys she learned from, “Kickass Katie Lee” celebrates 97 year-old singer, songwriter, actress, and activist, Katie Lee. After abandoning a Hollywood career, she immersed herself in her true passion: floating, exploring, and singing on the Colorado River. When the idea of damming Glen Canyon was first floated, she opposed it. She is, and will always be, Glen Canyon Dam’s eternal, immutable warrior and foe. At 59, back-packing around the world, Katie met Joey. Since then he’s supported her every day, in every way. With humor, anger, and passion, “Kickass Katie Lee” skims highlights of a life well-lived.

Produced and directed by Beth and George Gage.


Katie Lee inducted in to the River Runners Hall of Fame
Exhibition September 30 – October 1,2016

John Wesley Powell website

John Wesley Powell River History Museum Facebook page

Katie Lee River Runners Hall Of Fame Poster


Katie at 2016 Mountainfilm Festival
Peter McLaughlin, Tim Weidenkelller & Katie Lee perform an original song written by Peter for Katie after a showing of the film “Kick Ass Katie Lee” produced by Gage and Gage Productions at the 2016 Mountainfilm Festival.


2014: Milestones

Katie Lee is featured in two major film documentaries – DamNation and Wrenched; she received Mountain Film Festival’s Director’s Award, and published a new book – The Ghosts of Dandy Crossing. A special edition of black and white art photographs features Katie’s 37-year old nude body in Glen Canyon.


Grande Dame of Dam Busting

Katie is the heart of the award-winning film DamNation, which features how dam removal has moved into mainstream conversations. “The Glen Canyon scene is literally the best of the entire film and often brings people to tears,” Beda Calhoun, Associate Producer. Interview with Katie at DamNation website.

Katie is featured in Wrenched – a documentary about the community of activists that were inspired by the work of Edward Abbey, who wrote so eloquently about preserving the lonesome and beautiful places of the Southwest. Wrenched-themovie website


THe Ghosts of Dandy CrossingThe Ghosts of Dandy Crossing  – Dream Garden Press, 2014.

Katie Lee’s newest book is a love story that takes place at one of the famous places that was drowned by Lake Powell and the characters whose lives would irrevocably change. The book is a triple love story: an affair between Katie and the cowboy/miner; the characters that lived in Dandy Crossing (a ferry crossing on the old Colorado River between Hite village and White Canyon village, about three miles downstream from what is now Hite Marina); and the beauty of Glen Canyon.

In this book, the last of a trilogy about the lost Eden in Glen Canyon, Katie describes the people that lived at Dandy Crossing (a ferry crossing on the old Colorado River between Hite Village and White Canyon, about three miles downstream from what is now Hite Marina) and her relationships with them. The filling of Reservoir Powell is about to irrevocably change their lives. The book is a triple love story: Katie’s love of the beauty of Glen Canyon, her affair with a cowboy miner, and her love of the characters that once lived there.
Read review clips


Katie Lee receives Telluride’s 2014 Mountainfilm Festival Director’s Award

“The [main] reason I chose you is because you are such a badass. Your clear and steadfast resoluteness in speaking out about what you see as environmental injustices is a well-needed tonic for our times but also a real and true inspiration for the many young folk who will need to do the same if we are ever going to turn the tide of the madness.” – David Holbrooke, Director (link to full article)


Katie Lee Inducted in to the Arizona Music & Entertainment Hall Of Fame

Katie Lee was inducted into the Arizona Music & Entertainment Hall Of Fame on October 1, 2011 at the Elks Theater in Prescott, Arizona. Performances by Peter McLaughlin, Hans Olson, Ted Ramirez and Katie Lee. Award presentation by Warren Miller.

You may read about Katie’s induction at the Arizona Music & Entertainment Hall Of Fame website HERE.