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A little more than a year ago, on February 9, 2010, Madison Violet appeared as part of John Platta€™s On Your Radar series at the Living Room in New York Citya€™s East Village.
Although it is sporadically written that fiddler Natalie MacMaster is a relative, they are not related. Brenley MacEachern was born in Montreal and grew up in a small Scottish community in the town of Kincardine on the shores of Lake Huron. Brenley started writing, but harshly appraises her efforts as a€?pretty rough.a€? She didna€™t really know how to write using the guitar, so a couple of times shea€™d get together with another guitar player and sing the melody while he played along, but never liked the end result. Both Brenley and Lisa thought they were going to work in the medical field, Brenley as a lab technician and Lisa as a pharmacist.
Lisa states, a€?I was in grade 12 and was asked to do a musical comedy touring show called the Cape Breton Summertime Review.
From online interviews we learned that Brenley had bought a looping machine and had looped her own voice. The longer they played together, the rootsier their sound got, the old record collection seeping in more and more. Of particular influence was an album they discovered around 2005 by Nick Lowe called The Convincer (released in 2001), which had a feel that reminded them of the old a€?Charlie Rich days.a€? The writing was a€?so strong,a€? said Brenley, it convinced them to go back to their roots.
When they sold their albums at shows, the fans took note of the more-produced sound on the CDs as opposed to the stripped-down sound of their live performances. Les Cooper, a big Alison Krause fan and a local Toronto producer, was their choice to guide their most recent album, No Fool for Trying. I forgot to ask if the pedal steel on the first track, a€?Ransom,a€? was a result of the girlsa€™ insistence. While I love their latest CD, Ia€™m going to have to attest that I love hearing them rock out on their earlier work.
Brenley was exposed to music from the time she was very young.A  There were two cousins who played guitar and everyone on her fathera€™s side of the family sang. Brenley started writing, but harshly appraises her efforts as a€?pretty rough.a€? She didna€™t really know how to write using the guitar, so a couple of times shea€™d getA  together with another guitar player and sing the melody while he played along, but never liked the end result. Lisa states, a€?I was in grade 12 and was asked to do a musical comedy touring show called the Cape BretonA  Summertime Review. When they started out, and Brenley asked Lisa to jam on fiddle and sing a bit with Zoebliss, an a€?ambient trip-hop band,a€? they were light years away from their current style. These elements seem fused together as we listen to a woman breathe in and breathe out of a blues harp, its reedy voice alternately sobbing, wailing and crying out in ecstasy. Audience members taking first notice of Trinaa€™s big voice will be struck by her prodigious lung capacity and her talent for blowing blues harp better than any guy theya€™ve ever heard.
Continuing an august tradition, Trina came east from the Minnesota north, echoing Bob Dylan. In junior high, she was part of a select group of students chosen to participate in an improvisational theater group, started by a speech teacher, Ert Jones-Hermerding. A series of formative experiences occurred when Trinaa€™s Improv group teacher encouraged her to audition for the Minnesota State Fair. After high school, she attended the prestigious Berklee School in Boston and received a degree in Professional Music. Around 1997, events swirled around her and the insecure and changing nature of the music business turned life into a winding hairpin-turn-laden path. Through her association with the managers of Sine, Trina became friends with Jody Klein, the son of Allen Klein (ABKCO, the Rolling Stones, the Beatles).
Then, Von Freeman, who did marketing and promotions for a top 40 station in Cinncinnati, Ohio, saw her play at Sidewalk and was impressed. In 2008 Trina collaborated on one track on Vicki Gelfana€™s album Uncovered, a€?Long Train Running,a€? that old Doobie Brothers chestnut.
Brixton Boogie, an album made in Germany, released in 2009, came about in a typical a€?Trina Hamlina€? manner.
Ever the independent, Trina prides herself on not having a a€?Berklee stampa€? on her music. To try to define Trinaa€™s style, just for fun, a friend who was in advertising did a marketing study on Trina, using fans whoa€™d known her since she was a child and those whoa€™d come to know her as an adult artist.
A video from that impromptu showcase session, taken by Dennis DaCosta, is posted on Youtube and can also be viewed on her website. So, a€?Wowa€? being the operative term, when the opportunity to feature her presented itself, we jumped at it. Layah grew up in the east end of Toronto in an area called a€?The Beaches,a€? near Lake Ontario.
This was the point at which Layah connected with long-time friend, Oliver Johnson, to handle the studio end of making the demo. As Oliver recounts it, he was lucky to have gotten supportive parents in both his father and stepdad. When he was at his fathera€™s house, theya€™d jam till the wee hours and sometimes the police would come. In order to learn musical theory, Oliver approached a guitarist, Wayne Cass, to show him what he needed to know to get into the Humber jazz program. Toward the end of his first year at Humber, he damaged his hand while moving a heavy table.
At a certain point, the road started to wear Oliver down and he decided to focus on production.
At this point, Layah approached Oliver to produce the demo for which shea€™d gotten a grant. In the statement that follows, we can see the wheels turning as she weighed her options: a€?I came home knowing that I really wanted to pursue music and I made my first recording.
Layah enrolled in and completed a three year program at The Toronto School of Homeopathic Medicine and received a DSHomMed, Homeopathic Certification.
While involved with her studies she was pursuing music as well, performing quite a bit with Oliver.
Not strictly a purist, she believes that a mixture of alternative and traditional Western medicine, a€?the best of both worlds,a€? according to each patienta€™s needs is the best solution. For two or three years, Layah and Oliver remained friends while they played music together.
Layah says that Oliver has influenced her, injecting some jazz, R & B, soul and funk, given that he had gone on tour with some of the better Canadian players in that realm. Ita€™s easy to see why The Ontario Arts Council, and the Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent on Records (FACTOR) came through with grants at critical moments. Additionally, Acoustic Live will be hosting its own annual guerrilla showcase at the Northeast Regional Folk Alliance and wea€™ll get to watch Layah and Oliver play a set in our own room. The new CD, Honey, from Layah and Oliver is just about ready for release and wea€™ve gotten to hear a few sample songs. When Oliver was 9, his mother married a Canadian folk artist, a childrena€™s songwriter, and he then split his time between Toronto and New Hampshire. After high school, following her year of touring and playing, the artistic and practical sides of Layah collided.
We here in the Northeast can thank our lucky starsA  for a number of chances to see her live.
Ita€™s difficult to express how much enjoyment I got out of hearing the old chestnut, a€?Wild Women,a€? written by Ida Cox and sung by Wool&Grant on a recent John Platt Sunday Morning Breakfast Show on WFUV-FM. Their joined voices provide a wealth of pleasure, no matter what direction their music takes them. A big formative experience came from Ina Maya€™s connection with a member of a frienda€™s family, Davidine Small, whose mother and uncles were vaudevillians and musicians. One of Ina Maya€™s big money gigs was the town Christmas party at Abbott Hall in downtown Marblehead. After high school, she moved to Manhattan and went to Barnard College, the womena€™s school affiliated with Columbia University.
In a short-lived episode after college, Ina May moved to Santa Cruz, Calif., to continue working in a rock band with her boyfriend. As she described it: a€?I booked myself at coffeehouses and colleges as a solo act but after a few months, the bass player from the rock band moved to town from where hea€™d been in California to play with me. One of my solo gigs without the band was at Sandya€™s (also a famous jazz club) in Beverly, Mass. As she saw it: a€?I missed playing out live and New York gigs were always high pressure showcase kinds of things.
The next change in her life came through her friend Jon Albrink, a session player and singer who also had bands playing his original music. It was the era of singing sister acts such as The Lennon Sisters (The Lawrence Welk TV Show) and The McGuire Sisters (The Arthur Godfrey TV Show). Bev felt intimidated by the jazz people who surrounded her and stopped doing music for a time. She was finally on her own and became involved with protesting the Viet Nam war and in overarching societal problems. She got introduced to and became heavily involved in the womena€™s movement, resulting in a greater level of self-awareness. Bev gave birth to her second child in 1982 and The Human Condition re-formed as a world-beat band, singing in different languages about international struggles. Ten years ago, Bev formed a trio called The Dissident Daughters with two women were recruited from the Brooklyn Womena€™s Chorus. Beva€™s involvement with Ina May evolved from a Dissident Daughters recording project with Ina Maya€™s husband Daniel.
While Bev brings a higher political sensibility and Ina May writes a greater amount of personal songs, they complement each other. She got introduced to and became heavilyA  involved in the womena€™s movement, resulting in a greater level of self-awareness. Somewhere during 1998, I rediscovered the 1995 CD, Performing Songwriter Magazine's Top 12 Independent Releases. Regrettably, the album from which this is taken, Chalk this One Up to the Moon, by this time, is no longer in print. I then found out that she was going to be one of the acts on the bill at the First Night concert in Oakland, New Jersey, on the eve of 1999. We were lucky that she was sharing a workshop performance with Buddy after the main performance.
At my 9-to-5, the department chairman, Ben, is into contemporary folk, going back to Phil Ochs and Tom Paxton. Some of the songs on Slightly Haunted are, for me, riveting enough to keep me playing them over and over.
By the time this issue hits the streets and our readers pick it up in the venues throughout NYC and surrounding burbs, we will have seen Lynn once more at the Towne Crier, in Pawling, NY on Halloween eve where she's sharing the bill with Richard Shindell. 1999 ASCAP-award winning singer-songwriter Laura Wetzler sings, plays and composes a wide range of material, all with great flair and verve.
As she told me on the phone, she inherited an early passion for music from her mother, a professional musician with a specialty in Jewish folk songs who also worked as a folk DJ.
Her debut CD release, Songwriter's Notebook, is currently receiving airplay on 260+ radio stations around the world.
There's something about seeing a favorite performer in a house concert, up close and intimate, that has me clinging to my ownership of an old, beat-up, but still costly automobile. Among those who are devoted to the preservation of the Sorraia-type mustang, Lynne Gerard and Kevin Droski are running a project on Manitoulin Island in Lake Huron, Ontario, Canada, which is pretty special and actually without equal in all of North America. It all started in 2006, when they imported a grullo Sorraia stallion from the Springe game park in Germany, to cross on the two grulla SMR mares they had previously acquired.
By the time the first mating season had come around, the band had been increased by a grulla Kiger mustang mare. On Ravenseyrie, the horses have the run of 360 acres of nicely varied land - pasture, woods, rocks, and the shore of Lake Huron.
Up until Altamiro turned four years old (and had his second foal crop arriving), the Sorraia mustangs ran together with the domestic horses and mules.
The very first foal by Altamiro, and out of one of the SMR mares, was Animado, a grullo colt of good Sorraia type.
This was just the first one in a long row of interesting observations regarding the behavior of the horses, and in particular, of Altamiro's behavior. There are some other horses on the place and some older mules, and it is significant how Altamiro keeps his harem apart from the rest of the equines on the property. Very few breeders are as committed to the preservation of the Sorraia Mustang as Lynne Gerard and Kevin Droski are, and so far, no other have set up a preserve like Ravenseyrie. The following fall they showed up at the Northeast Regional Folk Alliance (NERFA) Conference. Within about six to eight months, she had met her future musical partner, Brenley MacEachern. Brenleya€™s father is from Cape Breton, so she spent two weeks of every summer with family there, a€?down east,a€? about a mile away from where Lisa grew up. I took the last couple of months of school off, faxed in my work, and finished high school that way. During a rehearsal session with Lisa, she left to get something and, from another room heard her own voice again, but with Lisa having added her own.
When Lisa and Brenley compared the collections a few years back, it was a€?pretty uncannya€? to recall the number of Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton albums their parents had. They have one EP and three full CDs out to date a€” Mad Violet (2002, EP), Worry the Jury (2004), Caravan (2006) and No Fool for Trying (2009).
The fans would buy the earlier CDs and come back and ask if there wasna€™t a recording that captured their live sound.
Brenley began writing in a folkier rootsy style for the two of them, and Zoebliss fell away, since the other members of the band had day jobs and couldna€™t keep pace. In between harp passages, her massive vocal instrument surges, the melody and beat strong and steady, accompanied only by her hand beating against a tambourine. While shea€™s too young to be the prototype for the a€?Girl from the North Country,a€? she could serve as its archetype. On her live album, One NightStand, Seattle, WA, for the first time, I heard her play some terrific boogie-woogie licks, some soaring ballad accompaniment, and as a jokey aside, a few bars of classical piano passage. So, shortly after winning the talent show, Trina started taking piano lessons, from a woman from Sri Lanka, who taught out of her house and used the Montessori method. A contest was held each year and the winner would play the following year with a 36-piece orchestra. The extent of her professional musicianship can get lost on the casual listener who might get immersed in her ability to belt out acoustic versions of southern rock and blues. She sang classical as well as pop and learned sound engineering, which she enjoyed, and even did some classical conducting. She moved to New York and sang with bands, providing mainly harmonica, accordion and tambourine accompaniment, still noodling around at home. Island Records brought her aboard and she made demos that found their way to producers of the TV show a€?Dawsona€™s Creeka€?. She began working with ABKCO as a a€?development deal,a€? making demos and recording with people like Jimi Zhivago (Ollabelle) and Fernando Saunders (Jeff Beck, Lou Reed).
He gave her his business card and later had Trina flown out to Ohio and featured her on a€?One Earth Partya€? radio-sponsored live shows where she performed with pop icons like Paula Cole, Duncan Sheik and the Goo Goo Dolls.


Shea€™d met drummer Bill Dobrow and bassist Jeff Hill at the club the Living Room (both of them later played with Rufus Wainwright). In our August feature article on Susan Werner, we mentioned how much Trinaa€™s back-up harp work can raise the level of excitement in a song. That said, however, she admits, a€?I probably dona€™t realize how much I draw from my experience at college when Ia€™m in a musical situation.
The overall opinion went beyond folk, blues, pop or acoustic rock (she certainly encompasses all of those).
The overall opinion went beyond folk, blues, pop or acoustic rock (she certainlyA  encompasses all of those). During the 2009 Northeast Regional Folk Alliance Conference, he said, a€?Youa€™ve got to head over to the DJsa€™ afternoon meeting. He played Bruce Cockburn, Joni Mitchell, Dire Straits, The Pointer Sisters, Bruce Springsteen, The Beach Boys, Cyndi Lauper, Kate Bush a€¦ I never did any rebelling against my parentsa€™ choice of music. The question concerning what direction to take with her life still hung in the air and she appears to have approached it with a calm deliberation in incremental stages. Although music was primarily a hobby, he had an array of musical instruments in the living room, including a drum kit. Hea€™d jam with friends at his dada€™s all summer and then spend the school year with his mother and stepdad in Toronto. Hea€™s still amazed at the way his father would cajole the officers, claiming the sound wasna€™t all that bad.
He never really studied a€¦ until he went to Humber College in Toronto, which has a program similar to Berklee College of Music in Boston. Cass was a€?a great guitar player and a great teacher,a€? a favorite that Oliver would watch play in clubs.
He found a partner and opened up a studio that, today, works predominately on television projects. She got the grant for her first demo and began recording, but decided that she wanted to pursue a degree in homeopathy as well. In addition, some readers might remember the Dove Self Esteem Funda€™s 2006 a€?True Colorsa€? TV Campaign. Each time Layah had any doubts about music as a chosen path, every time she needed it, a grant would come through.
Layah had to put the guitar aside and let Oliver provide the instrumental accompaniment solo.
When I touched on this, Oliver demurred, saying that Layah had brought her own wide range of influences for him to have had all that much effect on her sense of style. Layah and Oliver will be playing Music on 4 in Manhattan on November 18th and Our Times Coffeehouse on Long Island on November 19th.
Theya€™ll also play a formal Tricentric showcase and numerous other showcases (see the performance list below). Layah will always have a keen ear for the vagaries of love and relationships, but she has her eye on the fate of humankind as well. During the 2009 Northeast Regional Folk Alliance Conference, he said, a€?Youa€™ve got to head over to the DJsa€™A  afternoon meeting.
TheA  question concerning what direction to take with her life still hung in the air and she appears to have approached it with a calm deliberation in incremental stages.
Hea€™d jam with friends at his dada€™s all summer andA  then spend the school year with his mother and stepdad in Toronto.
He never really studiedA  a€¦ until he went to Humber College in Toronto, which has a program similar to Berklee College of Music in Boston. Her soaring, pitch-perfect vocals and melodic sense are mesmerizing.A  Then, therea€™s the writing. Layah and Oliver will be playing Music on 4 in Manhattan on November 18th and Our Times Coffeehouse on Long Island onA  November 19th. Her teacher, George Walkey, hired her as a helper for his group guitar lessons at the Marblehead Y. During their visits from New York, everyone made up songs and wrote plays, then performed them. She played the venerable Postcrypt Coffeehouse and other concerts on campus, opening at one point for legendary jazz pianist and composer Mary Lou Williams. A drummer hea€™d met in California also moved in, and we met some local musicians, and we started doing some of my solo gigs as a band. I opened for Paul Pena who wrote (Big Old) a€?Jet Airliner.a€™ He invited me to sing with him that night, and I jammed with him onstage. Musicians that I knew were able to play a€?cluba€? dates, weddings, anniversary parties, bar mitzvahs, etc., and I thought it would be good for me to get better as a singer and to learn material, not just work in a band based around me a€” and to earn money.
Her oldest sister bought some stock arrangements and thata€™s how Bev learned to sight-read music.
She listened to the greats like Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald and thought a€?I cana€™t do that.a€? She played the role of the musiciana€™s a€?old ladya€? for a couple of years and then ended the marriage. It was liberating for Bev to finally see her own involvement in an abusive relationship as part of a greater issue. The project never went anywhere, but Bev and Ina May had gotten to know each other through a song writing workshop and started singing together.
They got to know each othera€™s life stories and saw that they had similar sensibilities as young performers. We headed for another room in the High School where the concert was held and listened to them both for another hour.
The production is sheer perfection, showcasing Lynn's voice and melodies without going too far.
She tours in over 150 concerts and workshops a year, singing contemporary folk and Jewish roots music in Hebrew, Yiddish and Judeo-Spanish.
As a kid, Laura always loved the strong, poetic lyrics of Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell and others. It features songs about lost jobs, group home buddies, sudden deaths, ancient texts, notorious NYC canals and long-haul relationships.
During the pot luck lunch before the concert and during the break, it gets even friendlier when the Blixt's two big, gentle dogs come 'round to see who'll give in and offer them a snack. The young Sorraia stalliona€?s import from Germany to Ravenseyrie on Manitoulin Island in Canada by Lynne Gerard and Kevin Droski was a breakthrough, as he has sired foals with mustang mares which look very promising. What began as a dream has become a reality by now, and has already yielded foals that put Ravenseyrie among those who exemplify the progress made in the breeding of Sorraia Mustangs, with several youngsters registered in the Permanent division.
The Sorraia stallion, called Altamiro, was a long yearling when he came over, and he started to assume the role as harem sire and to breed the mares at the tender age of two - the earliest known or documented of a Sorraia stallion. Later, when the opportunity came to acquire a Sorraia Mustang mare that is half Sorraia (by Sovina and out of a SMS-registered Sulphur Springs mare), Lynne and Kevin jumped at it, so that Altamiro's band got another new addition. It's a horse's paradise, and allows them to feed off of different kinds of plants, seek shelter either among rocks and banks or among the trees, exercise well, roaming the preserve. It was after the first foal of his second crop was born when Altamiro laid down new rules by forcing the domestic horses and mules to separate from the family band - which was a significant behavior to observe, as it does shed light on how mustangs of a certain strain and ancestry managed to retain their type and genetic make-up. His birth provided a rare glimpse at social behavior among wild horses, and in a natural social setting.
Not only will he see to it that his mares are grouped together, he will also make them pay attention to their foals if he feels they got a little sloppy. They nevertheless would be an asset to many a breeder's herd, as they are all of good Iberian type, resp. On city streets, it might take the form of a long-limbed beauty wearing high-heeled knee-high boots.
As they described their evolving life paths to me, the phone line hummed and crackled with their energy. The street they grew up on is called a€?Fiddlera€™s Rowa€? because every house on the street has had someone in the household who plays fiddle. In the second semester, I started dating the guitar player, hanging out with the a€?wronga€™ crowd, having way too much fun and playing guitar all the time.
Lisa hadna€™t yet sung on stage with Brenley due to her fear of being heard, and Brenley, having not been aware that Lisa sang, was thunderstruck at the sound of their voices together.
My two closest friends and I would sit together on the school bus, squished together, and sing three-part harmonies on Rankin Family songs. The same similarity applied to the number of fiddle albums, Gordon Lightfoot, Beach Boys and Elvis Presley records.
They changed their name to Madison Violet for the most recent CD, to reflect their evolved style. Playing in Australia for three to four months of the year also gave them a chance to evade the Canadian winters. Brenley commiserated with the ethos of their fans, saying she also gets disappointed when she buys an album and the layered production obscures the nature of the songs shea€™d heard live.
His decision to strip the sound down to a bare minimum met some resistance, both women wanting more instrumental backup, especially from feisty Lisa. She was 7 years old when she started taking step-dancing and piano lessons.A  At 9 years old, she and her three closest friends would go to the local community hall every Wednesday evening for group fiddle lessons.
I used to sing in the church choir, which was fine, because it was a group and you could kind of hide behind things, as with being a fiddle player, you can hide behind your instrument. In the clatter of the train wheels, the chanting in the churches and the classrooms, the cadence of our footfalls as we run, the bellows of our breathing, the hammering of our heartbeats, we live our song.
Her words describe personal passion and doubt, but the undercurrent of musical expression seems primitive, reaching back to a time when drumbeats carried our messages on the wind.
Tallish, maybe 5 feet-9 or 10, shea€™s beautiful and has that magnificent instrument for a voice. Money was scarce and the family had no piano, but she saved her money, drew a piano keyboard to practice with, and took lessons anyway. Trina would listen to what her brother was trying to play from a book, and walk over and play it by ear. The first thing they did was to sit on the floor and play games with flash cards and sticks to learn rhythm. She was the lead singer for the band Blue Leaves until around 1994, when the band broke up and she started to go solo. She got some additional people on guitars and recorded the album at the home of producer Marilyn Da€™Amato who operated an a€?in-housea€? recording studio. Although she broke a guitar string during her first song, she played harp until her friends backstage replaced the string and got the guitar back to her.
She describes the song, like many others, as one that came upon her by itself one morning and was finished by evening. Her house concert in Seattle was changed to a beautiful old theater with a recording studio at the back of the hall. She asked when it was happening, and he said, a€?August.a€? This was not far off, and she needed to check her schedule to see if she could do it.
The consensus centered on the phenomenon of Trinaa€™s musical ability to funnel emotions for her listeners.
The relationship with Island ended.A  Trina had been performing as a solo act since the fall of 1994, and wanted to tour and develop. When I started taking piano lessons at home at 8 years old, I started studying show tunes, so I could sing along with what I was playing, and I got into musicals. Their families were close friends and theya€™d have various holiday dinners, celebrating a variety of spiritual doctrines together as they saw fit. During those 3 months, he got a job in a computer store that sold software for digital recording. During the first few years of pursuing music, I had some questions about how it would pan out and whether this really was a good spot for me.
I knew it was Ina May and Bev because Ia€™d heard them before and their sound is immediately recognizable. Both women started making music when they were very young and both of their paths make fascinating stories. She would help tune studentsa€™ guitars and at the end of the class, would sing and play a song.
Although she cana€™t be sure, Ina May thinks that Davidine might have helped her get her first local gigs. Paul Penaa€™s producer and booking agent were there and approached me about working with them.
The gig organizer told Ina May that a€?Danny Weiss would be playing the evening gig and was a genius.a€? Ina May was skeptical.
Always a high-energy person, Bev had a full-time job and was a single parent throughout this time. Their first gig as Wool&Grant was a co-bill with Bev and The Dissident Daughters at The Good Coffeehouse in Brooklyn. As an aspiring songwriter, long ago, compulsively and with very limited results, I tried to emulate Gordon Lightfoot.
Her voice is soft but enormously expressive, with the barest hint of a catch in her throat.
Again, she spun tale after tale, weaving her voice through songs with more hooks than a tackle box. I loaned him my copy of Night in a Strange Town and he promptly went out and bought two copies of the first CD of Lynn's that he could find, her previous album, Slightly Haunted, and gave me one. Diane Pinney, a dedicated breeder of Sorraia Mustangs in Oregon, mostly of Kiger extraction, can also be happy with the results her program is yielding. This was no doubt made possible by the absence of an older stallion, and because the mares were still adolescents when he first met them, and the group of youngsters matured together and formed their relationships without any outside pressures. It offers space enough to go out of each other's way if necessary, and allows for the behavior of the horses to develop, socially and otherwise. A month later, a yearling filly left the family band by her own choice and hooked up with this band as well. Altamiro the first-time father took an interest in the new-born foal that almost exceeded that of the first-time mother, licking it, nudging it to get up, pushing it even toward the mother if he thought it necessary. At one time, when the band had wandered off and had left a foal behind, sleeping in the tall grass, he didn't just go to pick up the foal and drive it back to the band a€“ instead, he showed some quite remarkable behavior: He chased the foal's mother back to the foal, so she fetched it, then drove both back to the group, teaching the mare a lesson!
Lynne is socializing with them pretty much on a daily basis, immersing herself in the herd, enjoying being accepted as one of them, and observing how they feel, how they function, how they get along, when they go where, when they eat what, etc. Lisa and Brenley were trading snippets of mutually shared childhood background a few minutes after they met. I was going to go to college at Saint Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, and study science the first year before studying pharmacy.
The fearful part was having my lips on that microphone and knowing that it was raw and everyone in the audience could hear what was coming out of me. When I characterized Gordon Lightfoot as a Canadian-bred country influence, Brenley countered that, as a touchstone, he was a lot folkier, less country-like than, for instance, Neil Young, one of her major influences.
It would make him furious, when Trina would effortlessly mimic what he was struggling to learn.
While she never felt that she wanted to be in theater, she a€?enjoyed the whole process of it.a€? a€?I guess I was on the path at an early age, of being some kind of an entertainer,a€? she states. The first time, still in junior high, she played piano and sang one of her own songs a€¦and wasna€™t chosen.


The words and music came together, and she played chords on that song that she didna€™t know she had in her. Everyone in her audience makes contact with the particular emotions they need to feel when they listen to her.
While she never felt that she wanted to be in theater, she a€?enjoyed the whole process of it.a€?A  a€?I guess I was on the path at an early age, of being some kind of an entertainer,a€? she states. Shea€™d bounced between three clubs in the East Village: Sine, The Sidewalk Cafe (where we first saw her) and CBGBa€™s Gallery (next to the original CBGBa€™s and catering to acoustic acts). We have home videos of me prancing around in my diapers, singing along with the music that he loved. He learned about the software and about producing and, as an employee, was able to purchase the software at an affordable price.
The a€?lemonade-from-lemonsa€? character of both accidents might lead one to believe that a certain magic guided them.
Therea€™s something of a country twang in Ina May Woola€™s voice that increases the veracity in her songs about lifea€™s travails and victories.
Her mother graduated from Massachusetts College of Art in Boston and was an oil painter and then later a prolific printmaker.
She played kidsa€™ parties in junior high and high school and would get $10 for each party during which shea€™d lead singalongs. She didna€™t play acoustic for a while and hung out with rock musicians, did studio work and was in a rock opera, The Last Words of Dutch Schultz. It took her a while to extricate herself from that relationship, but she managed to do it around 1966. She learned to use the concept of a€?story songsa€? to make a political point, and on the first album, wrote about a working-class woman, a€?Janie,a€? from Ironbound, N. Ina May has learned more about harmonizing from working with Bev, who is still a choral director.
Other giants to come south across that northern border and blow people away have included Leonard Cohen, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Bruce Cockburn and Sarah McLachlan. It's just her voice and her acoustic guitar with a bass in the background and just the right amount of echo added. All were exciting, but it was Lynn, who I'd never seen live before, that I was most eager to watch. Belatedly, I decided to run out to the front lobby where the CDs were being sold to get her latest, Night in a Strange Town.
She's scheduled to play Nashville, Philadelphia, Winston Salem, North Carolina, San Louis Opisbo and Santa Barbara, California. I learned what I know about songwriting as well as what I know about guitar playing from Brenley,a€? Lisa said. I didna€™t think I had the stomach to be a doctor and I thought that the closest I could get to the medical profession was to be a pharmacist. While theya€™d initially steered away from their parentsa€™ tastes, they both admitted to a secret love of American country music.
The teacher, Stan Chapman, was heavily involved in the careers of many a professional player in the younger generation in Cape Breton. Behind his back, when she was around 12 or 13, Brenley would sneak into his room and play it whenever he went out to play with his friends. I would be about a foot away from the microphone until the lead singer would turn around and look back and then I would put my mouth up to it and pretend that I was singing into it. She finally bought a piano and tried taking lessons as an adult, but as it turned out, her love of music was not accompanied with a matching talent.
As it became apparent that her brother wasna€™t cut out for music, it was finally Trinaa€™s turn.
A couple of years later, at the age of 16, she played and sang a combination of two covers, one fast and one slow. There was one available in the house that she shared, but it took 2 years for her to pick it up and learn it. Trina describes her management experiences as a€?very free form,a€? people guiding her, but in an undirected sort of way. It was a blast.a€? Because the album was not completed at the time her songs first appeared on Dawsona€™s Creek, she was unable to garner much publicity from the TV exposure. If you remember that song all too well and think you were burned out on its excessive presence on FM airwaves in the a€?70s, think again.
And ita€™s this underlying understanding of whata€™s happening that I dona€™t always give myself credit for. Most were pass-the-bucket a€?tip houses,a€?A  where performers were not paid, and made their money from the collection at the end of each performance. Their style is what might be termed a€?jazzy folk.a€? I asked if shea€™d be singing for the DJs and she responded that it had already taken place.
In 3 months, Oliver learned everything he needed to know to get into Humber, entering at age 22. When it came time to re-enroll in school, he was tapped to play for a group that toured all over Canada.
Stepping off the stage during a pause, she fell when the overturned plastic bin that was placed as a makeshift step collapsed [too late for a lawsuit at this point, I suppose].
Therea€™s a Buffy Sainte-Marie-like quaver and a power in the voice of Bev Grant that helps raise a persona€™s social awareness when it happens to be her goal. It was a whole other world, some rock and pop and also some standards and jazz singing with pickup bands. Another band person was explaining to Dan how Ina May sings a€?this songa€? and a€?that song.a€? Daniel said in response (not aware that Ina May was standing there) a€?Oh, I know all that female stuff!a€? Ina May stepped up and said, a€?Oh, really?
Bev was known as a€?the little girl with the big voice,a€? and sang songs like a€?Blue Suede Shoesa€? and a€?Heartbreak Hotela€? as well as Teresa Brewer covers. As part of that group she made a documentary about the Miss America pageant protest in 1968 and she took many photos surrounding that event. She has written songs to illustrate those issues.] After the Human Condition disbanded, she formed the Brooklyn Womena€™s Chorus, a 40-person vocal group.
While Ina May focuses on rhythm guitar and finger picking, Bev has taken on lead guitar work.
Her words show that she's seen those late afternoons with the long shadows that coat the loneliness with a wistful amber light.
The guitar and mandolin set up a mantra-like rhythm and the pedal steel sighs in the background. We got to hear a bunch of great new songs and Lynn worked a sardonic brand of humor on the living room full of guests.
Her back-up musicians on the album include some wonderfully familiar names: David Hamburger, Mindy Jostyn, George Wurzbach, Greg Anderson and others. September came and I went to a€?Frosh [Freshman] Weeka€™ and got the university out of my system during that week and never enrolled for any classes. She began with a fast song, a€?Ia€™ve Got the Music in Me,a€? segued into the slow one (a Kim Carnes song) and then finished up with the fast one, and she won. Additionally, she did a few gigs there, and was noticed by a man named Krisz Kreuzer who asked her to write words to some songs he was recording for an urban blues album. Part of that is because I always felt a little bit off-kilter as a kid because I could hear, but I didna€™t always know what I heard.
He learned a lot of theoretical things that allowed him to communicate ideas, rather than hashing them out by demonstrating on the guitar. He chose that and, between playing on the road and producing when he got home, he never went back to school. Even though Ia€™m primarily pursuing music at this point, it enriched my life in such a great way, in terms of being able to help myself and my family and friends and broadening my understanding of the human body. Together, Wool&Grant possess a sweet blend and a one-two punch that invites all kinds of a€?strong womena€? references. Are you married?a€? and wound up telling him about her relationship problems after the gig. Her oldest sister had taken several years of piano lessons and learned electric bass, while her middle sister took up lap steel. Theya€™ve each brought earlier work to the new album and have collaborated on one of the new songs, a€?The Last Man on the Mountain,a€? about strip mining. Every song, one after another, was movingly satisfying, filled with surprising melodic turns and articulate phrases. When she mentioned that she'd gotten a feature spot in November in the main showcase at the Northeast Regional Folk Alliance Conference in the Poconos, we thought it would be a good idea to do a feature on her, sharing our fondness for her work with the others in attendance at NERFA. Some favorites who've appeared there include: Cheryl Wheeler, Cliff Eberhardt, Hugh Blumenfeld, Vance Gilbert, Lucy Kaplansky, and Richard Shindell. As the two began to tour more as a duo and less with a band, it was their desire that their albums become more a€?strippeda€? down and attempt to replicate their sound as a duo.
Lisa stated, a€?I dona€™t know what he does or how he does it, but just about every fiddle player who does it for a living thata€™s come out of Cape Breton was taught by Stan Chapman.a€?A  Lisa played for traditional Scottish square dances on weekends and in various folk bands.
As the two began to tour more as a duo and less with a band,A  it was their desire that their albums become more a€?strippeda€? down and attempt to replicate their sound as a duo.
She dedicated it to her Uncle Murray, who used to coax her to sing that song impromptu in some of the tonier restaurants in New York City. This is where she picked up the harmonica, purely by accident.A  Two college friends were in a blues band, a€?The One Eyed Jacks,a€? that shea€™d go to see after she got out of school. A couple of other interested presenters showed up, as I suggested we go to my own guerrilla showcase room. Later I realized that when you change the words, the chords, the melody and the rhythm of a song, it might be called a€?writinga€™ a song. Abruptly, her husband and a bass player friend moved to New York, where they looked for gigs. It didn't hurt that she's also attractive, with a mantle of dark hair framing a striking face with eyes that seem to brood in their intensity. Enormously popular with Cabin-goers, Richard is booked for two shows on Sunday, January 16th. Donovan is earmarked to go to the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary to start the Sorraia Mustang herd there.
I realized the first time I sang on stage, right from the get-go, that it was what I had to do. Brenley has said that she never saw him cry and [paraphrasing here] thinks it woulda€™ve done him some good. That was her means of income, as opposed to working in a fast-food restaurant, a more typical fallback for a teenager. Some elements in her learning progression included using her brothera€™s Eagles songbooks, and picking up songs from Crosby Stills and Nash albums from a frienda€™s father. She was asked to pick some songs, which were then arranged for her and she sang without playing piano (a€?weird for me,a€? she said). Using overdubs, Trina provided back-up harp throughout the entire song, as well as the harp solos that are in the forefront along with her lead vocal. Working with Susan [Werner] has been amazing because she talks in those terms a lot and I know that I understand it.a€? All that Trina has experienced prepared her well for her supporting role with Susan. She was asked to pick some songs, which were then arranged for her and she sang without playing piano (a€?weird for me,a€? she said).A  She performed with the orchestra for 11 straight days in front of an audience of a€?about five thousand peoplea€? each time. She thinks that perhaps watching the leader play harp gave her some insight into playing it. Thus, about six of us got our very own private Layah Jane showcase performance a€” about 3 songs. It wasna€™t like one day it occurred to me, a€?Oh, I could do this.a€™ It just naturally grew, I think.
Shea€™d only heard him doing pop and rock on synthesizer at the gig and was flabbergasted to hear him playing a€?gorgeous acoustic jazza€? on a piano. She also recalls learning how to play Don McLeana€™s a€?American Pie.a€? Later, while dating a guitar player in college, she got introduced to the songs of Cat Stevens. Dionne Warwick was supposed to play at the final a€?Grandstanda€? show, but couldna€™t make it, so Trina filled in, along with Michael Johnson, a pop singer, the showa€™s opening act. When another singer songwriter friend, for whom Trina sang backup vocals, asked Trina to play harp on a song, she demurred at first, but gave in. Theya€™ve been married 25 years now and Daniel has produced both of Ina Maya€™s solo albums. Sharron Scheikofsky and Dave Reynolds in South Dakota have produced a number of horses that made it into the Permanent and Foundation books of the Sorraia Mustang Studbook.
Within the first sentence that came out of my mouth, singing in front of a live audience, it was like I was struck by lightning a€” I know this sounds cheesy a€” Wow! Although the Montessori method eventually leads its students to sight reading, Trina refused. A couple of months later, the consultant got back and said that Susan needed a band during her Gospel Truth tour.
The stage was bigger than anything shea€™d ever seen, and when the lights were turned on, she couldna€™t see the audience - just a a€?black wall.a€? These days, the audiences are a lot smaller in the clubs, and when she plays festivals, large audiences dona€™t faze her. Her friend taught her how to a€?benda€? a note, it gave it more of a a€?voice.a€?A  Trina did it and liked it, then started a€?fooling arounda€? with harmonica. John Flynn is pencilled in for December and Pierce Pettis and Michael Smith are scheduled for the spring of 2000. Sheri Olson in Cheyenne, Wymoing, has aquired stock that will give her Sorraia Mustang program a headstart. Finally, her teacher forced her to leave, saying she had to study with someone who would force her to read music. She listened to albums by harp players, but that didna€™t help, so she just kept experimenting on her own. In concert, sometimes she sings solo with just Oliver on guitar and on some songs, she and Oliver both play guitar. Susan Watt from the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary near Hot Springs in South Dakota is putting together a group of Sorraia Mustangs for another preservation project. She was fascinated by the rhythms she was getting - different than the ones she was singing.
I wrote in the following montha€™s NERFA wrap-up issue: a€?Shea€™s like Diana Krall with a guitar. The Sanctuary will be a spectacular place to visit and see Sorraia Mustangs in a natural western setting. No matter what I throw at you, you land on your feet.a€? Given that Susan constantly needs to change things up to keep it interesting for herself, Trina is the perfect band mate for her. Layah Jane would be the result.a€? On paper, that might not seem like much, but seen live, it packs quite a wallop.
Additionally, it happens that Oliver is a brilliant, seasoned guitarist, having toured Canada with top-of-the-line acts.



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