I made a decision in the fall of 2010 that I was going to go after my music career in a way I hadn’t ever before. I didn’t know all that would be involved, but I was determined to give it 100%. As I look back now, it’s been nothing short of an amazing year. How did so many great things happen? What I’m convinced of, more than ever, is that to make things happen in music you need to have a great team of people to work with you and on your behalf. I had that in 2011 and it made all the difference.
I feel a ton of gratitude for everyone who supported me and my music. I have to thank a bunch of folks starting with my awesome band, Bob Sevigny (acoustic guitar), Jim Scoppa (lead guitar), John Styklunas (bass) and Eric Pohl (drums) as well as two other musicians who played with me often, Bob Enick (guitar) and Dan Kellar (fiddle). You guys are the best.
I also want to thank my excellent management team, Ralph Jaccodine and Justine Ferland; the awesome woman who did all my booking (and cheered me on), Tracey Delfino; the Nashville folks who got my CD out to the world – radio promoter Leslie Rouffe from Songlines and Kissy Black’s team Joseph and Joy at Lotos Nile; the producer of “One Time”, Lorne Entress, who brought my music to life; all the musicians who played on my album; the folks who booked me including Patrick Norton at Narrows Center for Performing Arts, Matt Smith at Club Passim, Scott Hayward at Tupelo, George Tocci at the Bull Run and Tom Rota at One Longfellow; my incredibly supportive husband, Ryan; and lastly the fans of my music. The fans are what make everything possible. Thank you so much for loving my music, coming to my shows and providing me with so much encouragement.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Here are my 14 biggest highlights of 2011
#1 – After six months of work, in April I released “One Time”, my first album made up of mostly originals. The album was produced by the excellent Lorne Entress (Lori McKenna, Catie Curtis, Olabelle). Players included Lyle Brewer (Sarah Borges, Ryan Mountbleau), Mark Erelli, and Stuart Duncan, renowned fiddle player from Nashville (Alison Krauss, Robert Plant, EmmyLou Harris, Alan Jackson). Lorne and I spent an amazing day in Nashville with Stuart. Wow.
#2 – Debuted on the AMA: Americana Music Association charts at #58 and climbed to #42. I was a completely unknown artist to Americana/Folk radio stations in Boston and across the United States. With the help of a great radio promoter, Leslie Rouffe, out of Nashville, we were able to get the album added to the libraries of dozens of radio stations and get hundreds of “spins.” While we expected the album to do even better, we were happy to see so many stations add it and the feedback from those who did was excellent! My greatest supporter was WUMB here in Boston.
# 3 -“One Time” received critical acclaim from national publications. Like with radio, Americana media, including bloggers had never heard of me when I launched the album. With the help of Nashville marketing agency, Lotos Nile, critics (aka music lovers) across the country received, listened to and reviewed my album. Read a bunch of quotes from the critics here.
#4 – I had the privilege of opening for excellent artists including Chris Isaak, the Courtyard Hounds, Suzy Boggus, Joe Ely, Rodney Crowell, Sarah Borges and Ellis Paul. A very exciting part of this year was getting to open the show for all of these great musicians and performers. The Chris Isaak show at the Lowell Summer Music Series was an incredible start to a great run of opener slots. There were around 1,000 people there. The crowd was AWESOME. They were so into our music and supportive. It was also pretty cool to get to hang with Chris a bit before we went on. Opening for each of these artists was a total treat. One of my favorite experiences was with Rodney Crowell in Portland, Maine. Rodney put on a moving and entertaining show. He left me inspired.
#5 – The band and I played some of the best live music venues in New England, including: Club Passim, The Boston Folk Festival, The Narrows Center for Performing Arts, One Longfellow, Tupelo Music Hall, Iron Horse Music Hall and the Lowell Summer Music Series.
#6 – We sold out Club Passim in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in April for my CD release, then played the room again in September and had a great crowd. Club Passim is a special place, one that I had dreamed of playing at for years. Thank you to Matt Smith for being kind from the first time I met him years ago and for letting me be a part of the Passim community of artists.
#7 – The band and I were a featured act at WUMB Boston’s Music Festival. Our showcase drew a crowd of 300. We were up against national acts that were far more well known and still managed to fill the room primarily because WUMB had been playing songs from my album and a good deal of their listeners had heard the music. I can’t say thanks enough to Pat Monteith, John Laurenti, Jay Moberg and the rest of the team for getting behind my music. You guys are the best! (Photo by Jake Jacobson)
# 8 – We were invited back to WUMB for a sold out member concert that was filmed and aired by Comcast. The WUMB team worked hard to make the production top-notch and Comcast was there with five cameras to film. The concert was aired for two months as the ON-Demand music feature in 2.5m households in New England. A memorable moment for me was when I saw on the schedule “Amy to make up.” I asked my manager, “Really? Someone is doing my make up?” He told me that Comcast had hired someone. That was a first! I have to add that one of my band members really enjoyed getting his make up done as well. : )
# 9 – I played my first shows in Tennessee and Georgia. This summer, I got out of New England and headed down south to do some shows. I build a band with a lot of help from musician friends and had a group of talented folks that I met up with in Nashville. We started our week-long tour with a feature on the live radio show Music City Roots in Nashville, hosted by Jim Lauderdale, then on to Eddie’s Attic in Georgia (where Sugarland and John Mayer got their starts), Blue Plate Special in Knoxville and finally back to Nashville for a CD release at the Basement. Getting to partake in the music scene in Nashville and get to know excellent musicians down there was a very special thing. I look forward to going back again in 2012.
#10 – The band and I played Narrows Center for the Arts Summer Festival. I love this great venue located in Fall River, Massachusetts. If I become the national touring artist I want to be, it will be because of organization like the Narrows. To build a career, people must give you chances. It really does take a village! I feel so much support from these folks. They gave me a chance to open for Texan singer/songwriter, Joe Ely, and then had me and the band back for their summer festival where we played to a room of about 200 (competing with the main act, Room Full of Blues). Since then, we’ve been back to open for the excellent Sarah Borges and in January, will open the show for one of my favorites Eilen Jewell. Super special thanks to Patrick and his team for all their support in 2011!
#11 – We were selected by Alternate Root Magazine for the inaugural ARTS Block Concert, filmed and aired by Alternate Root who will also feature me in the year-end issue of their magazine. They work hard to highlight independent artists like me. Having their support in 2011 was a real plus. Thank you, Bill Hurley and Danny McCloskey.
#12 – I showcased at the Americana Music Association Conference and Festival in Nashville in October. Tim Fink, a VP from my Publishing Rights Organization (PRO), SESAC, came out to one of the shows I did in Nashville. After seeing me perform, he offered me the chance to showcase as a SESAC artist at the AMA Conference and Festival in October. I gladly took him up on the offer and performed there along with very talented singer/songwriter Robby Hecht. Just the year before I had attended my first AMA conference where I had gained so much knowledge and great connections. I was determined to come back the following year and perform. While I didn’t get an official evening showcase in 2011 (heck, I was up against artists like Keb Mo!), representing SESAC and getting to perform at the conference was an incredible opportunity. Also, SESAC highlighted me in their publication that goes out to all of their artists. Thank you to Tim Fink and Amy Beth Hale at SESAC.
#13 – I was chosen for a quadcentric showcase at New England Folk Alliance Conference. The NERFA conference is a cool event that happens in the boonies of New York State. Singers, songwriters, musicians and promoters (people who run venues and book shows) come from all over the east coast to go. It’s three days and nights of music and some panels too. I was happy to receive an official showcase and I had to chance to perform multiple times throughout the week. Not only did I have a BLAST, but I met a lot of great folks including my new friends of the band Pesky J. Nixon and singer/songwriter Matt Borrello who played with me during my showcases. Thanks, Matt! (Photo by Jake Jacobson).
#14 – I’m on several year-end “best of ” lists from Boston to Melbourne. A nice close to the year is finding myself on a few “best of” lists including Modern Acoustic’s top three “Breakout Acts of 2011” right next to David Wax Museum and Dawes (very good company!) and and Colin Fielding’s 2011 “best in show” from his Folk and Roots program on 3INR (96.5) from down under in Melbourne. Colin is a big supporter of Boston music and I thank him for including me in his selection.
As I head into 2012, I’m hopeful and excited. I’m writing new songs and just added several of them to our live show. I’m also very focused on touring and getting to as many new cities and venues as possible in New England and the East Coast. I hope to do more in NY, NJ, CT and PA. I’ve already got some great shows on the calendar that include openers, co-bills and headliners at great venues in New England. I want to keep growing this thing and doing what I love–making music and entertaining. It’s in my blood.
Thank you again for your support! Here’s to a great 2012! I hope to see you soon.