California you seem like promised land
You feed my children and you work my hands
When I lay down to pay the final toll
Take my body, leave my soul
~ To California, ellen cherry
Baltimore, MD singer-songwriter ellen cherry puts her history major to good use with her latest recording, (New) Years. Each song in the collection of 12 is designated with a year, and while half are personal reflection within ellen's lifetime, the first six story songs speak from the point of view of women from as far back as 1864.
Whether it's the intimacy of her voice, the stripped down aesthetic of the recording or the poignancy of the story-telling, it doesn't seem to matter what year ellen is singing about, each song is like a familiar, favorite jacket that settles around her shoulders perfectly the moment she puts it on.
It's my last day here in paradise
Gotta put back on my shoes
But all I wanna do is stay here and cruise
I got the blues, there's nothing I can do
~ Last Day of Vacation Blues, Jenn Cleary
It's tempting at first to put Colorado artist Jenn Cleary squarely in the blues category. It wouldn't be completely wrong, she does have a powerful, smokey voice and the hot guitar chops and plenty of tunes that fit the genre. But listening to her latest album Back to the Wheel, one quickly discovers that Jenn is first a true songwriter, with a penchant for blues, the ability to slide between rock, folk and more with ease, and the commitment to serve the songs in whatever style is best suited to the story at their heart, because heart they have indeed.
Change is coming too fast
No listening to how I feel
You're gonna free your heart at last
~ No Compromise, Sister Jane
Austin, Texas band Sister Jane blends sweet harmonies, aware lyrics, thumping bass lines and a dash of violin to create their own special brand of pop-reggae that is sure to bring a smile to your face and set your body swaying.
Lead songwriter, vocalist and guitarist Lynette Perkins can bring the groove with multiple combinations of musicians, from an acoustic duo with Catherine Parke on vocals and violin, to the core four women of Sister Jane including Vicka Behl (5 string bass and vocals) and Franci Jarrard (keyboards and vocals) to a full six piece adding in Mark Wilson on saxophone and flute and Scott White on drums.
You next to me, me next to you
We're perfectly in tune
Curled up in this room
I'm melting into you
We fit like spoons
~ Spoons, Sheri Miller
New York singer-songwriter Sheri Miller has been writing songs since childhood, following her natural instinct to create and express. Her latest release, Winning Hand, produced by Kevin Killen (U2, Peter Gabriel), is lush and complex, yet easy to relate to both musically and emotionally. From the uptempo and hooky Spoons to the Bollywood Rock flavored Satellite, Sheri explores matters of the heart with refreshing honesty and a healthy helping of poetic metaphor.
Tune in from 9-10am Central for your weekly concentrated dose of music by women. We'll kick off with rain songs in hopes of bringing some rain to parched Texas, and we'll hear from Sheri at 9:30!
Bacon in skillet
Lemonade in a glass
Here's something boys
You won't learn in class
~ Giant Mushrooms, Erin Hill & Her Psychadelic Harp
The multi-talented multi-instrumentalist Erin Hill is currently focusing her formidable skills on an ambitious new project - a sci-fi video album. Much like a collection of short stories, Erin describes the ten songs on her upcoming album Girl Inventor to be little 4 minute episodes in a Twilight Zone flavored series. The psychedelic harp-driven tunes run the gamut from dreamy to rocking, all topped with Erin's etherial vocals and are also waiting to be realized in video form. The first video for the track Giant Mushrooms is already making a splash online.
Born in West Virginia, a long-time resident of Canada and currently living in the UK, singer-songwriter Lobelia is no stranger to making her way in new lands. She applies that adventurous spirit as a musical pioneer, forging a new path for independent artists everywhere by her own life example. Join us on Lyrical Venus as she talks about touring sustainably, booking gigs and being genuinely interesting on Twitter, motherhood as a musician and the importance of using all your talents to live a happy life, rather than trying to fit into a traditional idea of what being a musician looks like.
Lobelia's latest project, a covers album titled "Beautifully Undone", is sparse and lovely, her rich voice wrapping like warm honey around each song and claiming them for her own.
To honor the passing of Amy Winehouse, for this episode of Lyrical Venus, we'll kick off with one of her songs, followed by a whole bunch of other songs by artists who share the same first name. Plus a few other songs of hope to round out the hour. Check out the playlist here.
Tune in from 9-10 am Central Tuesday morning for a full hour of music by women!
Oh I just wanna fly
'cause I know the feeling would be right
Let's do it, I say tonight
Tonight would be just fine
I've worked it out
I've got my shoes laced up tight
And the temperature's alright
~ September Sky, Lizzy Lehman
With a soul, sound and subject matter that belie her years, listening to Lizzy Lehman gives the impression of a folk artist with several albums and several tours of the national coffee-house circuit already under her belt. Currently an Austinite by way of Portland, OR and Evanston, IL, Lizzy could easily hold her own in a round-robin song circle with the likes of Amber Rubarth, Ana Egge, Catie Curtis and Meg Hutchinson.
Tune in from 9-10 Central for an interview with Lizzy followed by 30 more minutes of music by wonderful women songwriters!
Violet dreams racing through my mind
Kaleidoscope of wishes lighting up the night
Bright, bright, bright
~ Violet Dreams, Amy Zamarripa
Generous, hard-working and talented to boot, Amy Zamarripa is a major player in the Austin Open Mic scene, hosting her own on Fridays at Fair Bean Coffee and you can find her playing out at others around town almost any other night of the week!
With a rich, bluesy voice and lush, poetic lyrics, Amy's music mixes the soulfulness of Janis Joplin, the spark of Bonnie Raitt and the mystery of Tori Amos. With one album under her belt and another one in the works, she shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.
Tune in Tuesday from 9-10am Central to get to know Amy, hear a few songs celebrating the 4th and more! Amy will be on the air at 9am.
Broken wanderer, open to it all
Happy in your soul
If it is not written in the stars
Write what you know
~ Lovesick for the World, Little Grey Girlfriend
Mash up a foundation of classical training with years of honing a pop sensibility, mix in a generous portion of creative originality, a splash of quirk and top it off with the liquid silver of Erika Lloyd's voice and you get one of Brooklyn's more unique indie bands - Little Grey Girlfriend.
Bringing to mind other stylistic trailblazers like Regina Spektor, Bjork and Joanna Newsom, more for a sympatico of fearless approach and extensive range than a similarity in sound, Little Grey Girlfriend is ready to take their show on the road this summer.
Tune in at 9am to hear a feature set of music by Little Grey Girlfriend and stick around for the rest of the hour for more great music by women from all over the map. Check out Lyrical Venus for a full blog interview with Erika.