In 2006, my husband bought me an upright bass. I picked up the long carved wood neck topped with the delicate wood scroll that was my first Englehardt Supreme ES-1 Upright Bass, and on that day I became a musician. The connection between myself and that bass was immediate. And wholly unexpected. With no musical background, I seized the instrument as if I had known "her" - Louise - my whole life. A new life was born from that immediate comfort between me and the music. I was on a new path.
Looking back, each of my careers has involved a passion for communication and understanding.
When music hit me, it became a side hustle that would not go away. The ultimate in vulnerability, and yet, the place where I feel most comfortable is on the stage. Performance is my place of discovery; of my humanity and depth of feeling. And it did not frighten my - "not a hugger" - self, but instead, drew me in. As I delved deeper into music, I discovered the Alan Lomax Collection. I listened to the songs of Appalachia, and learned how the songs were traced back to England, Scotland and Ireland. I fell in love with the rawness, the realness, and the history of "Mountain Music" as it made its way down the eastern seaboard and into the heart and soul of early America. Those early recordings are rich with emotion, depth of storytelling and a pureness that will break your heart. Music's power achieves what spoken and written language cannot. It is pure magic.
I appreciate the lonely sound of mountain music, orally handed down from generation to generation; the music of the Carter Family and the body of music that became bluegrass music. Bluegrass incorporated a more driving rhythm, blazing solos, and beautiful harmony. Never a fan of Jerry Garcia or the Grateful Dead, I have learned to understand Jerrry's own love for the traditional catalog of songs. In fact, the International Bluegrass Museum, located in Owensboro, KY, where I served as a Trustee many years ago, has launched a new exhibit featuring the music of Garcia, who actually started out with the singular hope of playing banjo for Bill Monroe (the Father of Bluegrass music) and his Bluegrass Boys. Check it out. Another musical hero of mine is Django Reinhardt, the father of the Gypsy Jazz movement in Europe. Like Bill Monroe, Reinhardt came from humble beginnings. Neither man was classically trained. However, both had a burning desire for a life of music. This is where I find my connection. If I am to be honest, at times, I would like to pack it up and spend my days and nights playing, and playing some more. The songs of early America, the tunes of Reinhardt out of Europe, Bluegrass, "New Grass".....and the mash up that includes Americana and Alt Country. It's all a beautiful mess. I don't want to miss a moment, or a note, of it. Alas, a girl's gotta work.
I play upright bass in several local Colorado Springs' projects, aspiring to become a true Rock Star. I am always open to collaboration, so if you have a project that I would be a good fit for, get in touch. It is my honor and privilege to share the stage with really incredible people. People who love music the way I love music. People who write their own music. People who get the same rush from live performance as I do. I love the balance of real time, live musical performance with a confidence that comes out of rehearsal. I like rehearsal. And then there's the magic that happens from the connection I have with my own beautiful instrument, the people sharing the stage with me, and the beauty and depth of communicating with a live audience. I have a bit of an unusual perspective when it comes to playing in bars and other venues where you are serving as "the vibe" rather than being watched as in a concert setting.
I believe that because I have spent more time being NOT a musician, I realize and benefit from having music in my life. The connection of certain people and memories with specific songs. As a musician, I don't mind being the background. I enjoy being the soundtrack for someone's evening out; the melody behind a great first date....or even the heartbreaking rhythm of loss or disappointment. Connecting people. Celebrating life and all of its joys. Grieving with others in times of sorrow or loss. Music removes walls, ignores barriers and reaches out with a power that heals and restores. It is something that was given to me later in life and I pray I never stop enjoying it. Sometimes I think that the only reason I continue to pursue athleticism is so I will be able to hold up this big bass well into my old age.