My album, Mother’s Self-Rising, has been a long time coming; in fact, it’s been ten years since I started performing and gigging in April 2010, longer still that I have been writing songs and figuring out the guitar, and I have been working with Larry Mitchell on this project since May 2018. Now that it’s done, I cannot help but reflect on all who have touched my world and have influenced my life (and likely inspired song lyrics) over this decade. This page began as a paragraph that was to be on my album, but it just keeps growing -- I feel such tremendous gratitude for you all:
THANKS to Larry Mitchell for his magical textural sound making skills, his engineering and instrumental genius, his awesome sense of humor, his friendship and guidance, and especially for agreeing to play the banjo for me on my song “Dear Keifer”; to Mama Jean Pollard-Geist for always welcoming me into her home and making coffee as needed; to Wade Allen for his perfect timing and steady hand on my “Mannequin Song”; to the Georgia Succulents (Lianne Hutcheson and Katie Martin) who have motivated and inspired me as fellow Succulents with love, laughter, and artistic brilliance as we navigate the music world; to Dan Harr for his awesome photography and unique sense of humor and for inspiring my first trip to Nashville.
THANKS to Stephen Blackburn for his wonderful ears, intuitive sense of humor, for music business commiserating, for everlasting friendship, and for inviting me to perform in Washington, Georgia, where his family home with the Scarlet O’Hara room and the wonderful town community inspired the song “Just Like the Movies”; to Jan Blackburn for her constant support and tolerance of her husband’s dedication to music endeavors; to JB Hopkins for sequins jackets, great stories of Washington, GA (or about anything really - if JB tells the story, it’s great!), for pizza with cough syrup on top, and for his hearty, devious laugh; to Rick Reese for wicked bass playing and great driving directions home from Washington, GA.
THANKS to Mike, Margot, and Sami Ghanes for hiring me and for keeping me busy playing music for many years in Helen, GA, at the Hayloft Tavern, for feeding me Fireball (not Sambuca) and French fries and other great treats, for keeping Charlie in line (Margot) and for hiring me now still for family celebrations - you are family to me!; to Charlie “Hey Baby” Norton for his loving and flirtatious nature, for inspiring the “Hey Baby- Hayloft Song,” and for always being the best roadie at the Hayloft and to his lovely daughter Leah who tells me I am "good for her soul"; to William Jason Welch, the Yeti, for protecting me at the Hayloft and for adjusting my back when needed from the long drive to Helen, and for singing with me one time; to David Songdragon Penner for knowing how to get a party started and for encouraging me to sing Melissa Etheridge songs; to Richard Wagner for being such a wonderful friend and listener and for being dedicated to attending my shows all around North Georgia, and for drinking red wine at each spot; to Billy Jo Clark, who we miss terribly, and Marticia Tate for always coming to the Hayloft and hanging out on the deck and for making sure Charlie always got home safe; to Ronnie Cole, for buying full trays of shooters, for always requesting sweet songs like "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow" and for always coming to see me play at the Hayloft; and to Wayne, for hanging out on the deck with that awesome Cowboy hat!
THANKS to Kiefer Sutherland for his work as Jack Bauer in the Fox Show 24, and more importantly his passion and brilliance as a songwriter, which brought me out of a deep slump and awakened my soul to writing again, hence the thank you song, “Dear Kiefer”. Seriously, check out his music!
THANKS to Chip Jones for his friendship, support, and inspiration, and for dedicating himself to giving singer songwriters an original live music scene to try out new songs and share the love; to Sean Bulow for sharing tots and believing in my songs or “whatever”; to Phillip Sanders for encouraging me to record my songs; to the rest of the songwriter crowd who perform at Chip’s awesome nights to celebrate life; to all of the songwriters I have met, shared nights of story and song with, laughed with, and who have inspired me with your talents and stories.
THANKS to Jessie Albright for sharing a chance double-booked gig with me that turned into an amazing friendship and for future collaborations we will do someday (we will!), and to Dan Orell for being so wonderful to Jessie and for having such a good heart; to Joe Carter Green for inviting me into the “Greenhouse” to help him with Guitar Club at Pope High School and who encouraged me to play music live and for being such a good friend; to Jeff Wheeler, who left his drums at my house for an entire year so we could start a band (that we didn’t do... yet) and who listened to really raw songs before I ever played live and found positive thoughts to say to encourage me; to TE Flugum for visiting my classroom to play guitar after school daily to ponder going out to play live until we actually did, and then started cheering each other on as we grew into performing musicians; to Mandi Strachota for the promise to teach me piano in April of some year yet to be and for starting Brassiere Blues with me to showcase female songwriters.
Thanks to Roula and Tim Kadom for laughter, strong convictions, and fantastic friendship; to Lori Edwards Pirtle for therapy lunches, powerful friendship, and for going out there and grabbing love, showing the world how it’s done; to Mia Manekofsky for being a true friend who can make any situation fun, for supporting me through many complications by making me laugh, and for motivating me to keep writing; to Susie Lightfoot-Freeman and Ellen Freeman for hiring me to play weekly at Marco’s Pizza and for putting my name up on the big screen there, and for requesting new songs for me to learn for their beautiful wedding; to Joe Caprera for great friendship, annual breakfasts with fun stories and real conversations about music and life; to the Walton High School Marching Band Moms and Dads who follow, support, and promote me with marching band spirit. Thanks to the Kastner Family (Heidi, Wayne, Lindsay, and Erica) who were the best neighbors and babysitters when my kids were young and I was starting my music career.
THANKS to Patty Waxman for being the first person to tell me that my voice is my instrument before I even contemplated such a thought and was too shy to really explore it; to Amy and Rich Odell for being true friends while my life flipped upside down a couple of times and I morphed into a songwriter; to Pam Korzonowski for laughs and support and for always being a role model for pushing boundaries; to Jackie Kimball for forcing me out into the world to laugh, get in trouble with, sing karaoke, and start living again after chaos had me hiding in my cave. Thanks to Terri Jacobson for taking me to my first open mic, hosted at Bradley's in Marietta, GA, and thanks to Mark Michelson for hosting! Thank you also to Jeni Michaelson and James Rowell for introducing me to the Divas and providing such an awesome roll model for musical showmanship!
THANKS to Marty Manous for deep conversations, great memes and pictures, true friendship, and musical support; to Leslie and Steve Bryson for hosting awesome open mics for musicians to gather and sometimes wear crazy costumes or jammies with fuzzy slippers; to Sheri Garza-Pope for her love of live music, her sweet friendship, and her tremendous strength, showing us all how to kick ass and never quit;; to Terri Jacobson for taking me to Birmingham to learn about the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, for being a great colleague, and for taking me to my first open mic; to Mark Michelson for hosting that first open mic I attended and for encouraging me to do more; to Hemingway’s Bar and Grille on Marietta Square (no longer there) which gave me my first gig after I performed open mic for just the second time in my life; to Jeni Michelson for making me aware of darkness around me, for being light, for starting the Diva’s Music Group to encourage women in music, and for demonstrating how to lead a band with fabulous style.
THANKS to Gregg Shaddix and Stephen Crowson for a great road trip to Nashville to play at the Hotel Indigo even though I got us lost on the way there, and for giving me great advice that I should have taken but didn’t; to Jack Scott for hosting an amazing songwriter night in Nashville, TN at the Hotel Indigo and making us Georgians feel at home in Tennessee.
Thanks to JD Waldrup for believing in me and giving me my first steady gig at his bar O’Malley’s in Woodstock, GA; to Marshall and Rosie Still for lovingly hosting the open mic at O’Malley’s where I really earned my wings and met so many great musicians and friends; to Jamie Salvatore for free hugs and for showing us all how to work the crowd at an open mic; to Brooke Taylor for filling in for me at the Hayloft when I needed her to, for nights at Johnny McCrakens, for playing around Atlanta and always sharing her stage with us, for introducing me to Walter Ray (who we miss so much) and Shelby Lynn, and for loving the “Mannequin Song” so so much; to my first band mates Eric Schmitty Schmiedeknecht, Joe Como, John Lockamy, and Dale Gray for crazy practices and fun shows and for showing me what band life is all about.
THANKS to Ian Schumaker who hosted the craziest songwriter competitions with sass and style and inspired us all to write new songs; to the members of Scorecast (Deanne Ogden, Christian Tessmer, Marie-Anne Fischer, and Michael Babbitt) who invited us to dine with them, and who despite knowing me for only just a weekend of NAMM in LA, became friends and have been truly inspirational for my growth as a musician just starting her career; to Ellen Eldridge who enabled me to go to NAMM as a journalist for her Target Audience Magazine and who also took me to see one of my music idols, Ani DiFranco at the Variety Playhouse in Atlanta, which led to me writing the “Mannequin Song”; to my new friend Laura Evertsen who invited me to Carrie’s Corner to hear Dianne Patterson, who tours with Ani and is a badass herself, and for bringing her friends out to my shows.
THANKS to David Lang who is so fun to pal around with at open mics, and who can make me laugh on a dime; to David Craver for hosting a weekly open mic with a family atmosphere with good friends as well as giving me the opportunity to host an open mic which led to my meeting more great musicians and even better friends; to Eric Tunison who gave me a taste of studio recording early on in his Groove Tunes Studios, so I could work towards recording my songs when the time was right; thanks to Douglas Colwell for asking me to learn "Angel From Montgomery" , for hanging out at the winery regularly when I played, and for always being so sweet.
THANKS to all of the venues and wineries I have performed at, too many to name, but specifically my regular spots, The Hayloft Tavern, Black Bear Tavern, Kastaways, Dixie Tavern, Ice Martini Bar, Bourbon Street Grille, Spirit’s Tavern, Shenanigan’s, Keegan’s, Greenline Brewery, New Realm Brewery, the Family Dog, and the Suburban Tap for keeping me playing live music; to the wonderful people who book me regularly; to the staff at these venues who always take such good care of me.
THANKS to past and future loves who have helped shape my world and who always inspire deep feelings for songs.
THANKS to my friends, fans, and followers who humble me with tremendous love and encouragement; to anyone who has ever dropped a tip in my tip bucket that helped me survive, seriously!
THANKS to my sister and her beautiful family for encouraging me and reminding me that anything is possible; and to my mother for always sending sweet treats to help me through the days.
THANKS to my two amazing children who have inspired me since they were conceived, who make me laugh and cry, who inspired the song “Freak Show”; who keep me grounded, and whom I love more than life itself; and to my wonderful dogs (Lolli, Wolf, and Hugo) and crazy cats (Chubby and Ninja) who always wait eagerly for me to come home and love me unconditionally.
And THANKS to Walt Disney, whose biography I read as a child that planted the seed that dreams can come true if we “keep moving forward.” I have followed his motto: “Dream, Believe, Dare, Do”
Without a doubt, this list will continue to grow…