I have had several people say that my music is like a west coast Americana Band. Every time I hear this assessment, I feel very honored and complimented, mostly, because I am influenced by many different Americana artists, East, West and everywhere in between. Whether it is John Mellencamp, Bruce Springsteen or Steve Earle from the east or western artists like Bonnie Raitt, Chris Isaak and The Killers. Like most artists, I guess I found my earliest influences through seeing local bands at clubs, bars and concerts, so It’s probably safe to say that as a young artist trying to find my way that ‘west coast’ Americana had a major impact.
As a southern California girl, the western Americana Band scene drew me in with its earthy, yet free spirited feel. Los Angeles artists like Ry Cooder, Fleetwood Mac and Credence Clearwater Revival blazed a trail for many of the great western Americana artists like Lone Justice and Los Lobos. While both east and west explore many of the same themes of the classic American dream, they tend to look at it in different ways. It’s great to feel like I have been equally influenced both by the more eastern point of view of the working man struggle and the more western concept of freeing yourself from society’s structures.
Music has always gone through its fads and phases and it seems for quite a while now that we have been going through a period of big budget, heavily produced music. With all the contest shows and ‘high concept’ music out there, you might think that the classic Americana Band has seen its day. If there’s one thing I’ve learned though, it’s that musical fads may come and go, but like Shakespeare says, ‘the play’s the thing’. The wonderful thing about music that comes from a good story concept, with thoughtful lyrics and great melody is that it will always transcend the most recent trends.
I am very happy to say that with the current group of great musicians, the americana and roots rock band tradition is alive and well and thriving in America today. Artists like Lucinda Williams, Allison Krause and Ryan Adams, who continue to have great success both in music sales and touring, are helping to give many other americana artists hope and inspire us to write more songs that tell a great story. Every time I hear a new song that has a great melody and strong lyrics, it makes me want to sit down and write, so that I can do my own small part in continuing this incredible tradition of the Americana Band. It’s my hope that if you are a songwriter/musician, you will be inspired as well and add your voice to all of the americana artists who have brought us this amazing, inspiring music.
How I Dreamt of Putting Together My Own Americana Band
For me, there is nothing like playing great songs with awesome musicians. When I see my favorite bands live, I am transported to another dimension. That’s why when I decided to build my own Americana Band, I wanted to pay tribute to all those great artists I had seen before. From early on, I played lots of live shows any chance I got and I’ve been putting bands together since before I was a teenager, so I believe that all these experiences have made me ready as a songwriter and performer to bring together all the right musicians for this current Americana Band. There are a lot of elements to creating a great band, like musicianship, personalities, experience, and influences, but of greatest importance to me is the musician’s feel for the music and desire to play these specific songs. Because, after all, they’re going to have to play them a lot.
I’m always so excited at the possibilities of performing quality, timeless music like some of my influences like Tom Petty, The Pretenders, Fleetwood Mac and Bruce Springsteen, that I knew I had to build this group from the ground up with the best musicians possible. Because I know what it’s like to be moved deeply by a great performance (have you ever seen Springsteen?) I have always had a dream of building a great Americana Band to play my songs and a passion to give the audience a great show to remember.
Whenever an artist decides to do a record, they know they will have to spend at least a year after it is finished promoting it by touring. As I was finishing up mixing my second record, “Trip to Horizon”, I knew I would have to have an incredible Americana Band to support the record for playing live shows. I felt that the first person I had to find was a great lead guitarist. My music is very guitar oriented because for the most part, that’s how I write most of my songs. After auditioning many lead guitar players, I came upon the most amazing young guitarist, Mario Gorito, who really seemed to understand the feel of my music right from the start and had the ability to play anything. It has been a great relief to have such a wonderful talent in Mario and the right person for this critical role in my Americana Band.
I made a decision early on that the musicians in my band would have to not only be great players, but would have to be people I could trust and get along with because we would be spending a lot of time together on the road and rehearsing. That was a major reason for choosing my drummer, Bobby McBride, who had toured with me to support my first record. Not only is he a fantastic drummer, but he is also a great songwriter and lover of Americana music. I knew that the final piece to my Americana Band, the bass player, would have to be able to match up to the quality of the other musicians. I am so glad that I found an incredible bassist, Luca Spanio, to round out the band. It is critical in a band that the bass and drums be ‘in the pocket’ to allow the lead guitarist and vocalist to move freely in the music and Bobby and Luca have that gift. It’s always difficult finding and keeping good musicians in a band and I am very happy to have the right players for my Americana Band.