Category: Special Features

February 26th, 2020

Megan Coleman

Artists worked with: I have had the great pleasure of working with many artists in Nashville and elsewhere-one of the many benefits of being a side player, is the range of artists you get to work with. I’ve played with, Jackie Greene, Ron Pope, Foy Vance, Kree

Harrison, Lucie Silvas, Morgan Bosman, Amanda Broadway, Laura Reed, etc. The list goes on.
 
Instagram: megbrittcole
 

FEMMUSIC :  How did you become involved in music?

MC: I became involved in music as a child. My dad, before he passed was a trumpet player and my mom has sung in the choir my whole life. Growing up in Detroit and in back church, we were constantly surrounded by the best music. I didn’t know it then, but I could not have asked for a better environment in which to fall in love with music. I started playing around the age of 12 when my private school finally started a concert band. I do wish I would have paid more attention to theory then.

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique? How does that change with a band vs solo?

MC: Generally, my songwriting is done alone and in spurts. Often, I start by humming some melody idea that pops up into a voice recorder on my phone and come back to it as more of those ideas present themselves. Then, I will sit and try to at least figure out where it might go on the keys. I am not the best player of melodic instruments and often, this part is my hang-up. When I write with others, most times, someone in the room already has an idea that they’ve brought and we take that and play around with different movements until there is a direction that feels right.

FEMMUSIC: What has been your biggest challenge touring?

MC: Touring can be both really amazing and extremely taxing. The hard part for me, is making sure I take care of myself by trying to get enough rest, drink enough water, and eat enough healthy food. There can also be difficulties amongst people and the many differing personalities in a band. I try to just keep my head down, do my job well, be kind, and bite my tongue when needed…unless I have to stick up for myself, which does happen on occasion. I also, try to make sure I have at least an hour or so a day to myself-whether that means taking a long walk, going to a movie, having a meal coupled with a good book…anything that is within reason for the day.

FEMMUSIC: How much studio work to you do?

MC:  For a while, I was not doing many studio gigs. I have done a lot of live playing, having grown up in church and for a while, the thought of studio work seemed daunting in its need for perfection. Thankfully, over the last few years, I have been fortunate to have been hired by people who trust me to be explorative in the studio, which has, of course opened up more comfort and confidence in the studio. As it stands now, for the first time in my career, I have more studio things on the books than live shows. It has been a surprisingly nice change of pace.

 FEMMUSIC: How do you separate projects? Personal? Studio? Band Touring?

MC: Separating projects can often be the most difficult part of being a side player. I usually try to go about it by order of importance. If I know about a gig ahead of time (perhaps, a month before), I will spend several days just listening to the music in the background, then I will take another several days and listen to all of the songs very intentionally over and again until I have them memorized, it is only after this do I sit down and chart things and make notes. I do not always have the luxury of having several weeks or months to learn music and often there are several gigs a week that I am preparing for. Usually that means I am preparing for personal, studio, and band things all at once. I try to just take one at a time and put the whole of my focus on which everone requires the most attention for that day.

FEMMUSIC: What challenges, if any, have you faced as a woman in the music industry? And how did you overcome them? Are those challenges increased or decreased when touring?

MC: Being a woman in the industry can be extremely difficult, I think especially as a player. There is first the task of getting people to take you seriously. As a drummer, I realized that unless someone has heard me play, they first assume that I will be mediocre at best. Because of this, there is often the pressure to try and prove yourself. This can often take the joy out of playing until you realize the only person you have anything to prove to is yourself. There is also challenge of the fact that many artists feel like female players are taking some of the spotlight away from them. I have found this to be especially true when working with female artists. The best way I have found to combat these things, is to realize that I only want to be in situations where everyone on stage is allowed to shine. It is only then are we all free to create the best experience for the audience and ourselves.

FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you change about the music industry?

MC: There are likely so many things that could be addressed as far as what could change in the industry. What is most striking to me now is the temptation to praise image over talent. I know this has always been a bit of an issue in the industry. But, when I think about classic music that I am drawn to, it seems that there was mostly an emphasis on the talent and the song. There seems to be less of that these days and I hope that this is something we can shift so that, if there is to be competition in the industry, it is because we are pushing each other to be innovators instead of ones who follow formulas in the name of radio play.

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February 26th, 2020

Kristin Weber

Artists Worked With: Dolly Parton, Kacey Musgraves, Midland, Cage The Elephant, Margo Price

http://www.kristinwebermusic.com

FEMMUSIC :  How did you become involved in music?

KW: My mom was a ballet dancer and my dad a painter who decided to start me with Suzuki violin lessons at the age of 3 1/2 because they thought it would be cute and both loved music. I took both classical lessons and fiddle lessons growing up and performed in different youth orchestras. Attending Mark O’Connor fiddle camps in Tennessee during my summers as a kid really opened my mind to all the different genres available to a fiddler. Eventually this curiosity led me to Berklee College of Music where I studied jazz and bluegrass and classical and ended up in an indie rock band for 6 years. The band moved to Nashville, broke up and thus began my career as a side musician picking up any gigs I could get. Fast forward to sharing the stage with Eminem and Lorde and Dolly Parton.

FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique? How does that change with a band vs solo?

KW: Often the inspiration hits while I’m getting distracted from practicing. I’ll play a pattern or a chord progression that catches my ear and I’ll run off on a tangent. Lately I’m experimenting with fitting a song within the context of a string ensemble.

FEMMUSIC: What has been your biggest challenge touring?

KW: The greatest part of tour (or my life 🙂 is when I’m on stage. Even when I’ve been sick and run down on tour I look forward to the time on stage because it’s when I feel my most energetic and fulfilled. Everything else about touring… is not terribly glamorous. The schedules are often exhausting:  early lobby calls, not sleeping great on a bus, little control over your meals and your schedule. I always tell people that touring is the greatest and the worst thing. You’re homesick and exhausted half the time, and the other half of the time you’re having the most amazing new experiences and eating fabulous food and rocking faces and creating unbreakable bonds with the members of the band/crew.

FEMMUSIC: How much studio work to you do?

KW: Most of my work these days is studio work. Often I’m playing in small string ensembles or fiddling or adding harmony vocals or creating string arrangements. I started veering towards studio work a few years ago when I was getting burned out on traveling and am blessed that I can make a living doing it.

FEMMUSIC:  How do you separate projects? Personal? Studio? Band Touring?

KW: There is no separating. I love it all so I say yes to everything that sounds fun and make it work. This means there are days of running from a recording session to a rehearsal to a soundcheck.

FEMMUSIC: What challenges, if any, have you faced as a woman in the music industry? And how did you overcome them? Are those challenges increased or decreased when touring?

KW: As I see it, the challenges are not what I face but the opportunities that never come my way. It is an unwritten law in the world of pop country touring that you do not have women in your band or crew and I’m sure this applies to other genres. Particularly male artists and bands. Women create problems back home. It’s archaic and disgusting and thankfully I have had the privilege of working for some open minded artists. And that’s exactly what it is to me: my work. Inclusivity means going out of your way, going against your old patterns, to show diversity on your stage. Many artists (of all genders) have a way to go in this regard. I see so many talented female artists and musicians getting overlooked for no reason except a pattern the industry can’t seem to break.

FEMMUSIC: What one thing would you change about the music industry?

KW: Play more women on the radio. More inclusivity across the board: at festivals, on bills, in your music videos. Pay the band more. Any band. Anywhere. Did I say play more women on the radio?

 

 

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February 26th, 2020

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February 25th, 2020
Chastity Belt, Nanami Ozone & Hugh F at Bluebird Theater
Denver, CO
February 23, 2020
Photos by Lindsey Whitehead
 
https://www.bluebirdtheater.net/
https://www.chastitybeltmusic.com/
https://www.facebook.com/NanamiOzone/
https://www.facebook.com/hughfff/
 
 

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February 25th, 2020
Silversun Pickups and Eliza and the Delusionals at Ogden Theatre
Denver, CO
February 14, 2020
Photos by Adrienne Kendall
 
https://www.ogdentheatre.com/
https://silversunpickups.com/
https://www.elizaandthedelusionals.com/
 

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February 25th, 2020

Bud Bronson & The Good Timers, Colfax Speed Queen, PoutHouse at the Hi-Dive 

Denver, CO
February 22, 2020
Photos By Lisa Dibbern

https://www.hi-dive.com/
https://www.facebook.com/bbgtband/
https://www.facebook.com/ColfaxSpeedQueen/
https://www.facebook.com/pouthouse/

 

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February 25th, 2020

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February 24th, 2020

Hailey Whitters at The Grizzly Rose
February 22, 2020
Photos by David A. Barber

#TheGrizzlyRose, #HAILEYWHITTERSMUSIC, #RockOnColorado

 

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February 24th, 2020

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February 24th, 2020

This feature began over a year ago. The seed was started many years ago when I met Heather Baker. She’d had a striking song in a film called Holy Ghost People. I ended up meeting her when she toured with Bonnie McKee playing both guitar and keys.

What is a Hired Gun? A Hired Gun, for the purpose of this feature, is a musician who tours with other artists but may not be involved in the album that spurred the tour. They have their own music and may be studio musicians as well. This feature made a specific point of not asking for background vocalists. I think their story was given light in the film 50 Feet From Stardom.

As with our prior features on touring managers & women in studio production this feature asks broad questions. This feature is a continuing and growing piece and we welcome any recommendations for other artists who may fit into it. I also have too long a list of people to thank for their help and recommendations.

Are you a musician who is skilled and wants to travel? Can you adapt to new music easily? Do you want to be on stage but not under the spotlight of the lead? Then being a Hired Gun may be the life for you.

 

Ellen Angelico

Hayley Jane Batt

Leanne Bowes

Adrienne “Aeb” Byrne

Annie Clements

Megan Coleman

Beth Garner

Kristen Gleeson-Prata

Megan Jane

Tosha Jones

Ryan Madora

Lindsay Manfredi

Emily Moore

Allie Moss

Megan Mullins

Sarah Tomek

Vicky Warwick

Kristin Weber

 

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February 23rd, 2020

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February 22nd, 2020

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February 21st, 2020

Winter is Samira Winter and her band. Winter is a psychedelic dream-pop band whose lyrics are a dreamscape to the imagination. Winter is prolific in releasing both albums and EP’s. They are releasing their first album on Bar None Records called Endless Space coming this May. The lead single of the album is “Say”

 

 

Winter will be touring with Surfer Blood this May. For info visit https://www.facebook.com/daydreamingwinter

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February 21st, 2020

Elohim

Elohim grew up playing classical piano but you could not tell that now. Today she is a songwriter, producer, and star of her own headlining tour: The Group Therapy Tour, which begins today. The tour is a follow-up to last year’s release of Braindead which focused on her own struggles with mental illness.

Elohim has had a number of singles including “Xanax”, “Hallucinating”, “Braindead”, “Half Love” and releasing today for the tour “Group Therapy”

 

Last year Elohim returned to her roots with a project called Reimagined. It included a string section and Elohim at a piano reimagining her songs in a beautifully composed setting. For info visit https://elohimxelohim.com/
 
FEMMUSIC: Can you describe your songwriting technique?

E: I guess I would describe it like a mad scientist. There isn’t really a method to the madness, but it comes together and is my unique process. I start with sounds whether that is a sample I create or a chord I play and then usually depending on how inspired I am by the sounds, the words and melody tend to pour out.  Some are easier than others and I write what I feel.

FEMMUSIC:  Let’s talk about the Group Therapy Tour. This is your headlining tour. What are you most looking forward to? What scares you about it?

E: I am looking forward to this community of love coming together as one. I feel magic in the friendships that have been created and cherish them. When we all get to celebrate friendship in one place that is curated for us, there is nothing like it! The scariest part is everything falls on me and I have to sell the tickets! But it is all part of the adventure of being an artist. 

FEMMUSIC: What was the biggest challenge making Braindead?

E: Probably just my own daily battles I go through mentally. It is a catch 22. I write what I write because of my struggles, but I go through the struggle which is pretty unbearable at times. Another tough part is narrowing down songs when you have so many! Overall it was a nice experience.

FEMMUSIC: Tell me about Reimagined?  What the biggest challenge making the show and the double album? BTW after reading about it I will be buying the double vinyl today

E: Thank you!!! It is really special to me. I grew up sitting at the piano so I wanted to show this side of me. The Reimagined show was the hardest show I’ve ever put together. I had to rearrange and relearn all of the music. I had some nights where I’d be sitting at my piano ready to give up, but once I got through rearranging and writing all my piano parts it really started to come together. The strings came in and really brought it home. It was the first time performing with other musicians onstage, so I also felt a new comfort and safety net. I grew a lot from this experience! 

FEMMUSIC:   With Braindead you came out about your own problems with mental health. I do think mental health has become a bigger issue in the music industry. What do you hope people get out of your example? What else would you like to do?

E: I have been talking openly since the second song I ever put out which was called “Xanax.” I hope people will take this topic seriously. It is an illness. Just because you cannot see it doesn’t mean it isn’t there. I hope people will be honest and understanding and careful about their use of the words panic, anxiety and depression. I hope people will feel safer and more accepted from my message and music. I often feel very alone in my struggles so I can only pray I can ultimately just help someone feel less alone. There is so much more I want to do. I’ve been getting involved with organizations dedicated to supporting mental health awareness and suicide prevention doing absolutely anything I can to help.

FEMMUSIC:   On the same track, what are your coping skills on the road? What advice would you give to fellow musicians?

E: Surround yourself with people that love and understand you. Small things like having peppermint oil, peppermint tea. But also finding quiet alone time. Sometimes the only place you can find on the road is a bathroom stall but I’ll take what I can get! Getting centered and breathing is incredibly important.

FEMMUSIC: What song (not your own) has had the biggest influence on you and why?

E: “Kid A” by Radiohead. Every time I hear it I still get that feeling…you know the one…the one your favorite song gives you…you can’t even explain it.

FEMMUSIC:  What challenges, if any, have you faced as a woman in the music industry? And how did you overcome them?

E: I never really thought about things in this way, but I have noticed, and I do get frustrated when I’m listening to alternative radio and hear a girl once every two hours. Or festivals with mostly male lineups. I always want to scream “I’M RIGHT HERE DO YOU SEE ME?!?!”

FEMMUSIC:  Whom would you most like to collaborate with, or tour with? Why?

E: ASAP Rocky, Bjork, Frank Ocean, Thom Yorke, Post Malone. I think our voices would go well together. I kinda just want to do headlining tours though!

FEMMUSIC:  What one thing would you like to change about the music industry?

E: I would make it more about love and art and less about money and fame.

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February 21st, 2020

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February 20th, 2020

Ralph and Joan at Globe Hall
February 19, 2020
Photos by David A. Barber

#GlobeHallDenver, #songsbyralph, #songsbyjoan, #RockOnColorado

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February 20th, 2020

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February 19th, 2020

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February 18th, 2020

Princess Dewclaw, Spendtime Palace, The Paranoyds at Larimer Lounge
Denver, CO
February 12, 2020
Photos by Lisa Dibbern

https://www.larimerlounge.com/
https://theparanoyds.bandcamp.com/
https://www.spendtimepalace.com/
https://www.facebook.com/PrincessDewclaw/

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February 18th, 2020

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