2018

Wow, what a year it has been. At the beginning of the year, I vowed to live as authentically as possible. 2018 was a year of transition. I switched from being primarily a hired gun to teaching and touring as my own solo project, Miss Christine. In some ways, it feels like I lived several lifetimes in these twelve short months. I learned lots of lessons as I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and into uncharted territory. I recorded my first full length album, played thirty shows as Miss Christine, began teaching private lessons to wonderful students, ate delicious food that I grew in my garden, played bass on some killer records, learned more about my identity, figured out how to communicate better, and so much more. I discovered that putting yourself out there isn’t as scary as you think it might be and the results will more often than not surprise you. I am so grateful for everyone I met this year who has supported me and my music. You are amazing!

I played 77 shows/sessions in twenty states. Tennessee, New York, Massachusetts, Ohio, Illinois, Florida, Iowa, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Alabama, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana, and Michigan. Below are some of the highlights.

January 2018

I played shows with Amy Black in Chicago, Boston, and New York City.

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Setting up at City Winery Chicago

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Boston

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Crammed in the back of the band van on the way to New York City

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I had tea at an amazing tea shop in NYC

February 2018

The month started with a recording session for Georgia English‘s second record. It will be released in the summer of 2019. Georgia brought cupcakes to the session because she’s the best.

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I tracked my first full length album at The Sound Shelter in Franklin, TN. It was produced by Wirebird Productions. We did 15 songs in 10 days. It was one of the most intense things I’ve ever done. It will be released in 2019.

At the end of the session, we recorded this live video of one of my new songs for the NPR Tiny Desk Contest.

I played a couple gigs with Amy Black in Florida.

March 2018

Eric Paul & I decided we wanted to go on tour in the fall. After we started planning it, we went out for Chinese and I got this fortune.

I had to get a new pair of musician ear plugs after I thought I lost mine. Protecting your ears is so important. I highly recommend every musician get some!

I played a super fun St. Patrick’s Day gig with 12 South Band.

We put some finishing touches on my record. The hand clap crew was claptastic!

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I traveled to Texas and Louisiana for Fawn Larson‘s CD release shows. I played bass and sang background vocals on her album which you can listen to here. We shared the bills with Scott Mulvahill who is an incredible singing bassist.

April 2018

In April I played my first show with Dinzy. She’s killer!

I played my first gig on Broadway in Nashville with Breaking Broadway.

I got to play bass on the broken fits. EP at The Sound Shelter. Their music is sick and it was so much fun! Listen here.

I filmed a music video with Duende Vision for my song “Entitled.” It will be released in 2019.

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I got to play SandJam Fest in Panama City, Florida with Kirstie Lovelady.

May 2018

I got to see my friend Stefan play with Postmodern Jukebox in Michigan.

I planted my first garden!

June 2018

I played Rock the South Festival in Alabama with Kirstie Lovelady.

I headed back to the east coast to play a couple shows with Amy Black in NYC and Northampton, Massachusetts.

Kale yeah! My garden produced so much so I started to eat delicious, fresh salads.

I volunteered and taught at Girls Rock! Iowa City. It was one of the most fulfilling and rewarding things I’ve ever done. I learned so much!

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I had a photoshoot in Nashville for my album.

July 2018

I played my first house concert solo. I was so scared to play bass and sing by myself without a band but it was so much fun. Thank you so much for having me Cedar Valley House Concerts! 

Fawn Larson & I played a super fun house show in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

I volunteered and taught bass at the first ever Pride Rock in the Midwest. It was a blast and I learned a lot about my identity. Check out the camp song here.

My best friend Anika came to visit from Seattle. We went to Chicago and ate at The Chicago Diner. Highly recommend!

I played at 319 Fest and RAGBRAI.

319 Fest

August 2018

I learned to play the ukulele.

I got to play a few songs with Georgia & Maria at a house concert in Cedar Falls, Iowa.

I went to a music festival at Codfish Hollow and that’s where this picture was taken. That’s me on the boxcar. I had all of my album artwork finalized but switched it all to use this photo. It was a happy accident!

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I got to play a show at the Adler Theatre in Davenport with The David Mayfield Parade.

September 2018

I celebrated my birthday in Memphis. Someone gave me this special hand-drawn card.

I played a fun house show at The Mad Valley Lodge.

Eric Paul & I had ten days of rehearsal in Nashville to get ready for our Coming Home 2018 Tour. One night we got Chinese food and one cookie had seven fortunes in it! We took it as a good omen.

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Just in time for tour, my album was made into CDs!

October 2018

Coming Home Tour 2018 Poster

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I went on my first tour as a solo artist. It was fun and challenging. I am so grateful for my experience and I learned so much!

My album cover

I got my vinyl test pressings. It was so cool to hear my album on vinyl!

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I released my first single. You can listen to it here.

November 2018

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We finished off the tour with a listening party at The Sound Shelter in Franklin. It was the first time that anyone had ever heard my album in its entirety. We even had a photo-booth. It was so much fun and I am so grateful for everyone who came.

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My CD!

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Anana, Fawn, Rosemary, & I

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Meow

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Don’t ask

I got to rock out with Dinzy at The Basement East for a Women Rock showcase.

 

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I shot a music video with Duende Vision for my song Conversion. It will be released in 2019.

I did a photoshoot with no makeup. It really pushed me out of my comfort zone.

December 2018

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Thank you so much for all of your support and for following me on this crazy journey. I can’t wait to see what 2019 will bring!

2017

2017 was probably the busiest year of my life so far. I definitely traveled the most. I played 110 shows/sessions in 23 states and two countries. The states I played in were Tennessee, Mississippi, Missouri, Illinois, Texas, Alabama, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, West Virginia, Washington DC, New Hampshire, Indiana, Virginia, and Iowa. The countries I played in were Monaco and Hungary.

When my touring started in May I remember thinking, I didn’t know it was possible for a person to be in this many places in a matter of days. For example, in May I played a show in Massachusetts with Fabrizio and the Fever, flew back to Nashville, drove to Michigan for a five day Midwest tour with ELEL, drove back to Nashville, drove to Pennsylvania for a gig with 12 South, came back to Nashville, drove to Alabama for a gig with Roman Williams and the Prey, drove back to Nashville, drove to New Jersey to play a festival with ELEL, then to Ohio for the start of another tour with Amy Black. All of that travel happened in a period of three weeks.

I am so grateful for all of the experiences I had this past year. I learned valuable lessons, played with fantastic musicians, ate delicious food, and saw places I never thought I’d see. Below are some of my highlights.

January 2017

IMG_20170116_204717_20020170119_122439I tracked bass for Fawn Larson. Her album “Loose Hand” will be released in March 2018. I tracked bass for Brad Owens. Hopefully his album will be released soon!

My band recorded this at The Sound Shelter. The same studio where I’ll be recording my first full length album in a few weeks!

February 2017

20170212_165703I played an adorable Daddy Daughter dance with 12 South in Nashville. So cute!

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ELEL opened for Moon Taxi in Knoxville. You can read more about it here.

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Playing my first Sofar Sounds show with Fawn Larson & The Fringe

March 2017

IMG_4239IMG_20170324_090313_260I played with my band Miss Christine at Blue Bar in Nashville. March was a scary month because I got diagnosed with tendinosis  of the carpometacarpal joint. I had to go to physical therapy and was splint-bound for a month. Since I make a living off of playing music, I had to take the splint off and play through the pain during gigs. It was not fun. My finger is still always a little inflamed but it finally healed.

I played with ELEL at SXSW. My favorite show was when we played on top of a boat. During a song we went under an overpass and it was such a cool moment.

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April 2017

My physical therapist and I got creative making different splints for my finger. Slowly but surely it was healing. I also found out that I was going to Monaco/France with Fading June in the summer.

May 2017

20170506_010646Occasionally I would sub for Just Whiskey at Alley Taps in Nashville

I played with Fabrizio and the Fever at the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield, Massachusetts

ELEL played Sevier Park Fest in Nashville as well as toured the Midwest opening for Ripe . They are the sweetest guys and I had so much fun dancing!

June 2017

20170603_140044Hop Sauce Festival in New Jersey. My parents came to see me perform with ELEL and we played before Susto. Ice cream was shared.

FB_IMG_1497158625962I got to play a super fun ’60s rock corporate gig at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis

I was on tour with Amy Black for most of June and July. Some highlights were seeing where JFK was assassinated in Dallas, delicious cocktails in Austin, feeding the birds after a gig in Oklahoma City, my first time ever in New Orleans, playing the Bluebird Cafe, meeting the Hodges brothers in Memphis, the Purple Fiddle in West Virginia, getting free stuff from a band house in New Jersey, and seeing old friends at The Regattabar in Boston.

July 2017

IMG_20170709_001439_038 Squeezing an 8 South gig in between tour dates

20170722_132355Seeing myself on a banner outside Berklee College of Music in Boston

August 2017 

Playing with Fading June in Monaco for three weeks. Entertaining the Prince and Princess of Monaco at the Red Cross Ball, meeting George Benson’s bassist who is a raw vegan, going on stage with Kool & the Gang for their last song, playing the opera house which is probably the most beautiful venue I’ll ever play, opening for Roger Hodgson of Supertramp, seeing the lavender fields in Aix en Provence, exploring Nice with Liz, and playing the whole gig with one of my favorite drummers, Hannah Stallings.

September 2017

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Fawn Larson & The Fringe at The Family Wash in Nashville

Amy Black at Americanafest

Tracking bass in Budapest, Hungary for Strata Obscura. Eating delicious vegan food, making a new arrangement of my song “Stay Away,” seeing an old friend from college, flying through Heathrow, stopping in Boston on the way, and playing with one of my favorite drummers, Kyle Edmonston.

October 2017 

Playing music with some of my favorite people at my going away show. A night I’ll never forget. So grateful to play music with Liz Lawrence,  Hannah Stallings, Will Larson, Kyle Edmonston, Jon Upton, Fawn Larson, Kristen Dinsmore, Georgia English, Jesse Correll, Hayden Cotcher, and Darren Darling.

November 2017

Music City Roots with Amy Black

IMG_20171102_120056312_HDRSee you later Nashville!

December 2017

IMG_20171203_145232500Busking on the street in Iowa. So rewarding and fulfilling.

Playing in Atlanta, Owensboro, Nashville, and St. Louis with 8 South

Thank you so much for your support and following me on this crazy ride. 2018 is filled with lots of exciting new things, including recording my first full length album.
Stay tuned!

The Simple Things

In memory of my Grandma Mac who passed away on December 8, 2017. I read this at her funeral. 

“’My theory is, you can take the girl out of Iowa but you can’t take Iowa out of the girl.’”

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I kept every letter she ever wrote me. Before writing this eulogy, I read all the letters she sent from 2004-2017.

Those words were written in beautiful cursive penmanship at the bottom of a card attached to a gift of two potholders with a barn design. My Grandma couldn’t believe I was about to start my second year of college. I was so excited to return to the East Coast and get out of Iowa. Her words would enter my thoughts every now and then but I was never quite sure what she meant.

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Christmas 1999

As a child, I spent many summers on the farm. I have fond memories of playing with the kitties, having picnics under the trees, playing games, eating fresh strawberries out of Grandma’s garden, shelling peas to prepare supper, sitting out on the porch and hearing the wind chimes ringing in the breeze, having tea parties with Grandma’s fancy tea set, eating fresh watermelon from the garden, admiring the sunset, and looking at the vivid stars in the night sky. We had so much fun together and between visits I received letters and cards from her filling me in on her life and the weather. She always wanted to know what I was doing. I must admit that I wasn’t the best at returning Grandma’s letters and it got even worse when I entered high school.

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On the farm in 2000

In high school, I kept busy with almost every extracurricular activity offered. The letters kept coming but I only responded a handful of times a year. She was so proud of me and so supportive. She was so thoughtful and thankful. She bought me kitty luggage tags for my first big trip overseas, sent me a get well soon card when I had strep throat, and thanked me for performing songs for her. When my Grandpa was in Hospice, she put her arms around me and took my hands in hers. It struck me then how selfless she was. She was so caring and intelligent. The tiniest things made her day and I never understood it.

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High school graduation

When I went off to college, Grandma continued writing me regularly. She told me before I left to never forget my Midwestern values and I’d be fine. My responses became few and far between as I was so excited to be out of Iowa. I was always a city girl at heart and imagined a life quite different from the one my Grandma lived. After several years, I realized how much I took my time with family for granted. By the time I wanted to ask my Grandma questions, it was too late. Dementia had taken its ugly toll on her mind and she was no longer the woman I once knew.

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Visiting on break from college 2013

They say you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. I’ve suddenly come to realize how much Grandma has influenced me. It haunts me that I never asked her some questions and didn’t write back as often as I should have. We can’t change the past but we can choose to live each day to the fullest. A person doesn’t have to die to be gone. Dementia changed my Grandma. Sadly, I let my chances to ask her important questions slip through my fingertips. However, all of us still have the opportunity to tell our loved ones how much they mean to us before it’s too late.

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Grandma came to see one of my gigs in South Bend, Indiana 2015

Now as I watch the sunset on the farm or walk to get the mail, I understand what my Grandma meant. Life is all about appreciating the simple things. Last night as I drove back from her visitation, I listened to one of her favorite songs, “Que Sera, Sera” which means whatever will be, will be. As soon as I pressed play, I saw a shooting star and knew it was my Grandma’s way of comforting me. I’ve discovered a newfound appreciation for my home state and I am so thankful that I got to know such a wonderful woman in my lifetime.

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Christmas 2016

Full Circle

Happy International Women’s Day! As someone who minored in gender studies in college, I feel we must study and learn from the history surrounding women’s rights. I wanted to write this blog post as my participation in “A Day Without Women.” My day was spent going to a band meeting, a rehearsal, and teaching music lessons. I also met these nice horses.

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I’ve been playing bass since I was 12 years old. Growing up sheltered in rural Iowa, to me, playing bass has no gender role attached to it. Some people would say, “keep playing the bass girl” and I took it to heart. Pretty much as soon as I picked up the bass, I knew I would be pursuing it for the rest of my life.

When I was in high school I went to a bunch of rock shows. I remember watching the opening bands, examining their equipment, and wanting so badly to be on stage in front of a big crowd. At one show, there was a female bassist. It made me so excited to see a woman playing bass live. Seeing her under the glowing lights helped me visualize myself on stage. It upset me immensely when the lead singer introduced her sexually to the crowd and she played it up by pretending to take off her low cut tank top. How could she do that? It made me so angry. To me, she was portraying female musicians in a horrible light. I was only 16 years old and it was my first time witnessing sex appeal live at a concert. That crowd cheered her on because she might take her clothes off. Is that what I’d have to do to be able to play a gig like that? I hoped not. That wasn’t me. That would never be me. I went home and started practicing even more. Someday, when I was on that stage, I wanted the crowd to cheer me on because of my skill set, not simply because I am a woman.

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Fast forward to a few weeks ago. I played my first show with ELEL, opening for Moon Taxi to a crowd of about 1,200 people. The venue was packed. I had seen this scene countless times. However, this time I was on the other side. Moon Taxi celebrated their ten-year anniversary and we were encouraged to dress up. I wore a gold skirt and black sequin shirt that I felt totally comfortable in. During the show, I played and sang my heart out. At one point, I looked down in the crowd and made eye contact with a girl and she smiled at me. It made me think of my gender studies professor in college who told me, “Just by playing, you’re changing things. Always remember that.” When I packed up my gear after our set, some girls yelled that my skirt was awesome and I have great style. One of my high school friends came to the show. He told me that there was probably someone in the crowd who was me ten years ago. Someone who wants to be on stage and maybe I inspired them. It felt as though everything had come full circle.

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The view from my side of the stage.

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A photo from my high school friend.

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Moon Taxi

After the show, I had such a performance high that I couldn’t sleep. A feeling of pure contentment, a reassurance that everything is going to work out and I’m on the right path. These moments make me realize that there’s nothing else I could do with my life. Pursuing music is such a love-hate relationship for me, but at the end of the day it’s my drug.

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To this day, I still think that playing bass has no gender role attached to it. I’m always shocked when people introduce me as beautiful before talented, or call me the “hot chick bassist,” or tell me “chick bassists are so in right now.” Playing bass is something that I’ve always done; it’s part of who I am. I never started playing bass with the intention of using my gender to standout. However, I’ve learned that society sees me much differently than I see myself. I am constantly planning what I’ll wear and how I want to portray myself on stage. The reality is there are double standards for females in the music industry.

Sometimes the sexism is unbearable, but I’ll never quit music. At the end of the day, I’ll keep going and continue playing bass. It’s what I’ve always done. Chasing your dreams isn’t supposed to be easy; it takes hard work, persistence, and perseverance. It’d be nice to be seen as an equal too. On that stage a few weeks ago, I was an equal. No one made me feel different for having a vagina.

 

2016

This year was a whirlwind. I played 94 shows in 14 different states. Tennessee, Texas, Alabama, Maryland, Connecticut, Massachusetts, West Virginia, Virginia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Indiana, and Kentucky.  The 94 shows also includes recording sessions. I played less shows than last year, but I played shows that paid significantly better. I had my highest paying gig ever in 2016! Below are some of my highlights from the year.

I wrote a bunch of new songs that I hope to bring to life in 2017. I also wrote a couple of blogs that I never had the courage to post. My plan is to change all of that in 2017 and build a greater online presence. Will you hold me to it?

January 2016

My old roommate kindly filmed and recorded my band, Miss Christine, for the NPR Tiny Desk competition. It was so much fun!

My friend and fellow Iowan, Molly Conrad, let me sing and play tambourine (while driving) on the song she wrote about Bernie Sanders. We drove up to Iowa and caucused for him. 2016 was a year when I realized how politically active I am.

February 2016

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Miss Christine got to play at The Basement East in Nashville for a local band night.

March 2016

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I played a Bar Mitzvah with the 12 South Band and John Travolta was in the crowd! Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to take pictures so this was the only one I got after the show.

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Miss Christine played a fun show at Mad Donna’s in Nashville, sharing the bill with Rann. We played “Moonage Daydream” by David Bowie in honor of him. His death hit me pretty hard. We encored with “Whole Lotta Love” by Led Zeppelin.

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I got to travel to Austin, Texas and play SXSW with Kalie Shorr. We stayed at an Airbnb that had donkeys and silkies. I finally got to try Voodoo Doughnuts and had delicious vegan ice cream at Sweet Ritual. We played the Perez Hilton Showcase at the ACL Moody Theater as well as the Nashville Boat Showcase.

April 2016

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The beginning of April was Kylie Rothfield‘s last show in Nashville before she moved to LA. So glad we got to share the bill with her and Little Raven!

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This picture was taken mid show during a 12 South gig in Alabama.

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I played the Rivers and Spires Festival in Clarksville, Tennessee with Kristen Merlin.

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My first appearance as an extra on the TV show Nashville.

May 2016

I started back up my monthly YouTube videos so I could collab. with my friends.

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I wore my purple sequin heels to the Indieville TV Awards with my hot date Fawn Larson. I was so shocked when I won Solo Female Artist 2016!

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Sadly, April was the month when Prince died. I was fortunate to be asked to play in a Prince tribute at Kimbro’s. The place was packed and I will never forget looking out at the crowd when we played “Purple Rain.” There were so many people crying that it brought tears to my eyes.

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At the end of May, I went on a 10 day tour with Georgia English and the Jukebox Kids up the East Coast to our old stomping grounds of Boston. We played in Maryland, Connecticut, Massachusetts, West Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee. This tour taught me some valuable lessons about being a performer. I learned that it doesn’t matter how many people are in the room, the only thing that matters is giving them an experience and making their day brighter. It’s important to connect with the audience, no matter the size.

We had several homeless people ask us for money, we stayed in the most disgusting house in Connecticut (vlog to come), we ate delicious home cooked food in Pennsylvania, we saw old friends in Boston, we had amazing ice cream in North Carolina, and the tour ended with a kind man sketching a photo of us during the show. Oh, and a woman stole my mic in the middle of a song in North Carolina and started singing.

June 2016

This month I got to collab. with my good friend Micah Snow.

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I got to play my first hip hop show live with ShaManic. The room was packed and I got to sing the hook on one song.

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I got to play the Trump Winery in Virginia with the 12 South Band. It was by far the most gorgeous wedding venue I’ve ever played. It was funny considering the timing and how politically active I was for Bernie Sanders campaign.

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I got to play in a cave in Bowling Green, Kentucky with Fabrizio and the Fever.

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I started working at Fanny’s House of Music in East Nashville and got my first electric guitar, a glittery ’60s Silvertone Amp-in-case.

July 2016

“Dog Days are Over” won the poll for the song about animals. It was my first time playing electric guitar on a recording.

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On July 4th, I got a text from Quinn DeVeaux asking if I could come play a gig at Acme Feed & Seed from 5-7 pm. He text me around 3 and sent the song list around 3:30 pm. With holiday traffic, this gave me little time to look over the setlist. I remember listening to three songs and deciding to do my makeup instead. On the way there, I tried to park by Nissan Stadium and walk over the pedestrian bridge only to find out that they wouldn’t let me walk over it with my bass. I was really crunched for time and on my way out of the parking lot, I almost hit a car that I didn’t see coming. So much adrenaline. Thankfully, I found parking by the public library (it’s a free on the 4th of July) and made it to the gig right at 5 pm. The show ended up being super fun. Another lesson I learned this year, it’s always good to be on your toes and wing it.

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In mid-July, my band went into The Sound Shelter and recorded six videos live. We did three new original songs and three covers. The sixth video has yet to be released. Stay tuned!

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The last week of July, I subbed out my gigs and decided to go to Philadelphia and protest at the DNC. It was such an eye-opening experience and it’s something that I’ll never forget. I made new friends, saw some old friends (mostly musicians), and was even the trending image on Facebook. Are you proud Mom?  😉

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We rushed back from Philly so I could go to Biloxi, Mississippi and play at the Scarlet Pearl Casino with Audio Time Machine. Definitely one of the most fun cover gigs I’ve ever had.

August 2016

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The first two weekends in August were spent on the road with Connor. We played in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. The first weekend, I met Brandon GilliArd who kindly let me sit in with Nathan Angelo for his last song. The second weekend, we played at Eddie’s Attic in Atlanta. Here’s what I wrote on Instagram about it:

Last night was a night that made me pause and reflect. Four years ago, I was in a bad car accident that gave me bad whiplash and back injuries. During my recovery, which consisted of weekly physical therapy and chiropractic treatments, I often thought I’d never heal or be able to do what I love ever again. It was so hard for me to stand up and play for 30 minutes. My physical therapist told me about @eddiesattic and how cool of a place it was during my weekly appointments. Two years ago, I moved to Nashville, Tennessee to follow my dream of being a touring musician. Since moving, I’ve done just that. Last night, I played a 90 minute set with @connornashville at a venue that was on my bucket list with no back pain. I am so grateful. Hardwork and yoga pay off. Huge thanks to everyone who has been a part of my journey. I couldn’t do it without you!  ❤

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A favorite outfit from Fanny’s House of Music #bassoftheweek Instagram series.

September 2016

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I went on a weekend run with Adrian+Meredith. We played in Knoxville, Tennessee and Indianapolis, Indiana. Playing live on the Blue Plate Special was a ton of fun!

October 2016

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I played at The Basement with Georgia English and Hannah Stallings. #girlpower

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I dressed up as Fabrizio for my gig with Fabrizio and the Fever at Blue Bar on Halloween. When I got out of the car, a guy said, “How’s it going man?” I guess I was pretty convincing.

November 2016

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I went to Arlington, Virginia and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with Amy Black. We played a Muscle Shoals Revue show. The guitarist and I ate delicious vegan Chinese food in Philly and we stopped at several cute local coffee shops and bakeries.

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I spent Thanksgiving week in Boston and played two sold out David Bowie Burlesque shows with Niki Luparelli. It was awesome because I got to play with Shaina Mikee Keiths for the first time in over two years. We call our rhythm section Keiths/Moad. She flew in from LA to play the shows. I also played a show with the Jonny Bass Trio. We did some of my originals and then they played Zeppelin II in its entirety. I got to sing “Whole Lotta Love,” “Heartbreaker,” and “Living Loving Maid.”

While I was there, I gave two talks at Berklee College of Music, my alma mater. I talked to a Music, Gender, and Society class about what I’ve learned being a touring musician as well as the sexism I’ve faced. I also got to talk to a bunch of first semester students for an Artistry, Creativity, and Inquiry class about stuff I’ve learned that Berklee could’ve never taught me.

December 2016

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Fabrizio and the Fever played a pre New Year’s Eve taping for NBC in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

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The 8 South Band played in Dallas, Texas at the Cowboys training facility.

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The 8 South Band played Opryland in Nashville for New Year’s Eve! It was a blast and the most confetti I’ve ever seen.

Thank you so much for your support and being part of my journey. I can’t wait to see what 2017 brings. 🙂

2015

Yesterday, as I was crammed into a bunk on Journey’s old tour bus heading back to Nashville, I decided to reflect on this past year. As a creative person filled with self-doubt, I often feel like I’m far from reaching my goals. When I was in Gettysburg, PA on tour this February with Georgia English and the Jukebox Kids, the drummer and I decided to get these one-of-a-kind leather journals. They became our “Tour Journals.” I write about each show that I play outside of Nashville and cover the pages with stickers. He fills his with postcards, stickers, napkins and other cool things he finds along the way.

Going through my journal made me realize that I played shows in sixteen different states this year. TN, KY, WV, PA, MD, LA, NC, SC, GA, IA, CA, IN, NE, NY, MS, AL. After going through my planner, I counted a total of 117 shows. That 117 also includes recording sessions.

2015 was filled with so many ups and downs and new experiences. I learned so much about playing professionally. I played to crowds of 2 to 10,000. I met so many fantastic people. I tried tons of new food and experienced different cultures throughout the United States. I tried local hard cider almost everywhere I went. I laughed. I cried. Here are some highlights.

January 2015

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January started with the release of “Good Girls” by Georgia English and the Jukebox Kids. This photo is from a show that we played in Atlanta, GA at an art gallery. We had played two nights prior in Asheville, NC, drove to Nashville the next day to play at The 5 Spot, and then woke up early to drive all the way to Atlanta on barely any sleep. Only one other person showed up at the gig besides the other bands playing with us. During our last song, “Your Love Keeps Lifting Me Higher,” everyone danced around the room and sang. It was so much fun and made the long haul totally worth it.

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A few days later I played a fashion show at Marathon Music Works in Nashville with Fabrizio and the Fever. This is a photo of me and the guitarist, Mark Lonsway, throwing back to an awkward prom pose on the red carpet.

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My first recording session of the year was at Starstruck Studios in Nashville tracking for Lucy Dacus.

February 2015

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I went on my first week long tour with Georgia English & the Jukebox Kids. We stayed in a cozy band apartment the first night in Louisville, KY after playing to a crowd of seven and selling a CD to a man who walked in the venue with a basket that contained a glowing dildo. The second night we played in Charleston, WV at The Empty Glass. It was my favorite show of the tour. I have a great video of the drunk people dancing and singing with us. It was so much fun and the crowd started an awkward “hot bass player, one more song” chant at the end of our set.

The next two dates were in Williamsport, PA. We stayed at the childhood home of our guitarist, Torey, and he showed us around Amish country. One night he took us to the abandoned WWII bunkers and we sang four part harmony. Our fifth show was at Gettysburg Rocks, a music festival that raised money to help kids with cancer.

Off we went to Baltimore, MD where we played in a beautiful church. We stayed with Georgia’s childhood guitar teacher’s parents who were so kind and got us a cake that said, “Georgia & the Jukebox Kids.” Somehow we avoided snow and headed to St. Leonard, MD, the town where our keyboardist, Jon, is from. There was our last show of the tour and the bar was packed.

On our drive back,  I convinced the band to stop in Washington D.C. for cupcakes. We didn’t realize that where we had parked was a tow zone after four pm. At 4:05 we headed back to our car to start the eleven hour drive back home to Nashville. We couldn’t find it anywhere and realized that we had been towed. Torey tried to call the number on the sign but they said it would be a two hour wait to talk to an actual human. In our panic, a UPS man approached us and asked us if we had a tan car. We said yes and our savior pointed us towards the Salvation Army. We had no idea where it was and Google Maps couldn’t even direct us where to go. Georgia was pushing her car alarm button and we wandered aimlessly in what we could only hope was the right direction. The alarm never went off but after crossing over a bridge, we saw that our car had been moved down two blocks to an empty parking space. Under the windshield wiper was a bright orange envelope with a $150 ticket. To this day, we joke about our $150 cupcakes. I think they were totally worth it.

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At the end of February, I went to Louisiana with Fawn Larson to play her CD release for “The Sway” and open for the band Shinyribs. I felt like I was in a whole different country and I learned some cajun french and had hopes of seeing a nutria rat.

April 2015

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In April, I went back to Louisiana with Fawn Larson to play at Festival International. It was my first time playing a summer festival and I was immersed in so much new culture. I tried crawfish, went to a daiquiri drive-thru, had a po’ boy sandwich, swung by the bayou, and played at the Blue Dog Cafe.

May 2015

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May started in the studio tracking bass on the Black Market Research record. I had a great time working with Grammy Award winning producer/engineer, Chad Brown.

June 2015

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On June 19, my band Miss Christine got to play Mumford and Sons’ Gentlemen of the Road Music Festival in Waverly, IA.

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The end of June was spent in Northern California with Georgia English & the Jukebox Kids. It’s my favorite region of the country and I had a great time exploring it more. We played to a big crowd in San Francisco, ate fresh fruit off of the trees in Mendocino, drove through the Chandelier Tree, and got a flat tire on our drive to Sacramento for our final show. It was quite an adventure!

July 2015

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I subbed for Caroline Kole’s bassist and played with her for 10 days in South Bend, IN at the St. Joe County 4H Fair.

August 2015

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Ink N Iron Festival with Georgia English & the Jukebox Kids in Nashville.

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Singing backups at the Iowa State Fair with Caroline Kole opening for Reba McEntire to a crowd of 10,000.

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I took my full band to Iowa for the first time. It was great seeing old friends who hadn’t seen me play live in about four years. At our last show someone in the crowd showed me their Led Zeppelin ass tattoo. It was awesome.

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The lovely Dianna Corcoran asked me to be in her music video for “God Did Good.”

September 2015

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Rockin’ the SVT at Gratifonia Music Festival in Pennsylvania.

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Super cool wedding gig at Churchill Downs in Louisville, KY with 12 South Band.

October 2015

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My favorite wedding gig of the year happened in Louisville, KY. A little girl kept looking at me on stage and took some pictures of me on her mini digital camera. After awhile she started dancing and making motions like she was playing a guitar and rocking out. During one song I went out in the crowd and we “played” together. (I have a wireless pack) It was so cute. Then her mom put her on stage and she came over by me and rocked out some more with me during a song. Afterwards I went up to her and asked her if she has ever played guitar or wants to learn, she said she hasn’t but wants to. I told her she totally should and I was glad she had a good time.

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Georgia English & the Jukebox Kids opening for The California Honeydrops at The Basement in Nashville.

November 2015

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Miss Christine played on the same bill as Nemes, my favorite band from Boston, at Mad Donna’s in Nashville.

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Tin Roof Broadway with Fabrizio and the Fever in Nashville.

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A weekend run with Georgia English & the Jukebox Kids to Jackson and Clarksdale, MS. I had some delicious macaroons, saw a cotton field for the first time, ate incredible hummus, and wonder why Jackson, MS is named in the song “Uptown Funk.”

December 2015

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Chillin’ with Santa at a corporate party in Nashville.

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Collab. with Kylie Rothfield & Kyle Edmonston on “Run Rudolph Run” by Chuck Berry.

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Noon Year’s Eve in Gulf Shores, AL with Caroline Kole. We got to ride in Journey’s old tour bus.

If you made it this far, thank you, thank you, thank you. To everyone I’ve played music with, to all of the new people I’ve met, to the supporters of live music. You make my dreams come true. Cheers to 2016!

Bass Beginnings – My Musical History Prior to High School

On a spring day in 2002, the tiny fourth grade class at Allison-Bristow Elementary School shuffled into the band room. No one really knew what to expect, but I had been waiting for this day for a long time. We finally got the chance to try out different musical instruments and decide if we wanted to play in band. After failing to get a sound out of a flute and feeling uncomfortable with the cold brass mouthpiece, I decided on the clarinet. My Mom, Aunt, and Grandma played it when they were young so I thought it would be cool to follow in their footsteps. The first night I brought my clarinet home, I remember my Mom teaching me “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” in her bedroom with the hum of Jay Leno on the TV in the background.

When I entered sixth grade, I felt that I must learn to play piano. I begged and begged for piano lessons and my parents finally caved in the fall of 2003. Sight-reading the treble clef was easy since I played clarinet, but learning to add the bass clef with it was a challenge. My piano teacher and I would play piano duets and I remember being excited when I got to play the bottom part. After my first piano recital that winter, a woman came up to me and said, “I can’t believe that you’ve only been playing piano for three months! It sounds like you’ve been playing for much longer.” Ecstatic, I went home excited to practice. My parents surprised me with a piano that Christmas.

Unpacking the piano. December 2003.

The summer before I entered seventh grade, I took band lessons at the middle school. Often I would stay all afternoon to help Mrs. Rosin, my band director, file marching band music. One day during my lesson, she asked if I had any interest in playing electric bass guitar in the jazz band that coming school year. My best friend at the time, Abby, had told me that Mrs. Rosin asked her to play bass so I was confused why she wondered if I was interested. Mrs. Rosin took the sparkly red four string Yamaha out of the case, which smelled like maple syrup, and told me to mess around with it while she tended to another student. Propping open the beginner bass book, off I went figuring out what each string was and sight-reading examples. When I finally emerged from the practice room, two hours had gone by and I was infatuated.

With summer drawing to a close, seventh grade commenced at the brand new North Butler Middle School. After a few weeks, Mrs. Rosin started jazz band rehearsals after school. At our first practice, we started with the tune “Secret Agent Man.” It was my first time playing bass in a live band setting and I was hooked. Abby was mad that she had to play piano instead of bass. To this day I often wonder what my life would be like if I never picked up that bass.

One of my first jazz band performances. February 2005.

One of my first jazz band performances. February 2005.

For my twelfth birthday, my parents surprised me with a black and white Fender Squier Jazz Bass with a mini amp. I named the duo Billy Bob and the Bamp. Up until that point, I had self taught myself to play bass. Jeff Burak, a man who lived in the town over, was my first bass teacher. He is primarily a guitarist but agreed to teach me beginning bass. My first lessons were a lot of hard work. I had to unlearn bad habits that I taught myself. Over winter break, my best friend Matt had me watch the movie School of Rock. It changed my life.

Billy Bob and the Bamp. 2004.

Billy Bob and the Bamp. Unlearning those bad habits. 2004.

Matt and I were obsessed. We had to form a band. The only problem was that our tiny school had no guitar players. Jeff put us in touch with two guitarists from a couple towns over. We arranged for a jam session one Saturday afternoon. Hybrid was born. Patrick, Ethan, Matt, Abby, and I started in the band. Due to some scheduling conflicts, our first photo shoot was a trio and our first recording, that I have on a cassette tape somewhere, was without Ethan. Hybrid only lasted a few months and we never played any live gigs.

Hybrid 2005.

Hybrid 2005.

Growing up, I had to drive at least twenty miles to get to the nearest Wal-Mart and the nearest Starbucks was thirty miles away in a town called Cedar Falls. *gasp* Jeff, my bass teacher, taught lessons at a music store there called West Music. The summer before my freshman year of high school, they started a program called Weekend Warriors. Weekend Warriors was a six week program that brought musicians together to form a band. Rehearsals were held once a week and at the end of the program, the music store arranged for a live performance in the area. I signed up and met four new musicians. We began rehearsing for our first gig at Jameson’s Irish Pub in Waterloo and decided on the band name Average Joe. I got to sing “Behind These Hazel Eyes” by Kelly Clarkson, “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield, and “It’s About Time” by Lillix.

Our first show was a huge moment for me. I remember being so nervous yet so excited to be performing in front of a crowd. Afterwards, I went home and stayed up all night, reliving everything that had just happened. I cried because for some reason I thought I’d never be able to do it again. It was such an incredible feeling and that’s when I realized that I wanted to be a musician and play music for the rest of my life.

Average Joe's first gig at Jameson's Irish Pub in Waterloo, Iowa. 2006.

Average Joe’s first gig at Jameson’s Irish Pub in Waterloo, Iowa. 2006.

Since we were the first Weekend Warriors band, we were featured in the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier. I was so excited about being in the newspaper but I made sure to tell them I was 14 because I didn’t want to seem too young. Average Joe decided to stick together and so began my first experience playing in a rock and roll band. The next month I started my freshmen year of high school as an awkward thirteen year old.

Weekend Warriors program brings together teens who are anything but Average Joes

Nostalgia

It’s here. I finally started a blog. It has a name…. thanks Brett!

What compelled me to begin writing today was a string of events. I ran into two women who were visiting Nashville from Boston which made me realize that it has been exactly a year since I moved out of that great city. I also ran into a man and woman visiting Nashville from Iowa. A year ago today my parents and I started the long drive back to the state I grew up in. And finally, when I was driving through an alley, a rat scurried in front of my car which was my first rodent sighting in Nashville. I used to see them all of the time in Boston.

A year ago today I packed my whole life into a minivan and moved out of Boston after living there for four years. Some important items in the van included a Fender precision bass, an acoustic guitar, and a newly earned degree from Berklee College of Music with an emphasis in electric bass performance. It was a sad and scary day. I was not ready to leave Boston, but I said goodbye to the Pru, took a deep breath, and off we went.

My final moments in my Boston apartment

All of the things

Goodbye Pru

Goodbye Pru

I’d driven back to Iowa from Boston several times, but this ride was different. I was filled with doubt and confusion. I grew so much in Boston. I made friends who became family. I played music with great musicians. I walked through the streets, looking at the tall buildings and felt at ease. It was my home. Why was I leaving it all behind?

My next stop after a few days in Iowa was Nashville, Tennessee. I always planned on going to New York City but the cheap rent and promise of playing in a band whose music I was passionate about convinced me to give it a try. If I hated it, I could always go somewhere else. On the sixth day of August, I packed my little car and headed down to Nashville to find a place to live.

Success

Success in the form of a small house that had a living room and dining room in addition to my room?! How is this possible?

Within three weeks, I lined up my first gig with a band I found on Craigslist. It paid $200. My only goal once I moved to Nashville was to play music for a living. I thought this was a good start.

A picture from my first gig in Bowling Green, Kentucky on August 23, 2014. There's always something strange at every gig.

A picture from my first gig in Bowling Green, Kentucky on August 23, 2014. There’s always something strange at every gig.

This blog is going to tell the story of a singing electric bassist beginning her journey in the music industry. The past year has been a whirlwind of new life experiences and I’ve learned so much about playing bass and being in bands. I’ve played to crowds of two people to crowds of over 1,000 in at least fifteen different states. I’m living a version of my dream and I’m anxious to see what the next year brings. Follow me as I try to figure it all out and I’ll share what I learn along the way.