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That’s What She Sang

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Women’s music finds a welcoming home throughout Texas
by Nancy Ford

It’s God’s perfect month. Sure, Texas can get a little warm in April, but Texans can count on two things to be in the air: One is pollen. The other is music.

Musicians and producers are keen on capturing that golden moment in Texas weather when the climate is not so hot that your car’s windshield wipers melt into the windshield glass, but still warm enough to sustain comfort while spending extended time outdoors—even overnight, in some situations.

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Beyond the Blues: Victoria Love’s Elle Acoustique at House of Blues picks up where other open mics leave off. Photo by Stephanie Ramirez.

When Victoria Love, who is also known as Monique Jamail, was living in Austin in 2008, a spontaneous phenomenon regularly occurred among her fellow musician friends.

“Whenever I would get home, it would be late. We’d end up drinking on the porch, and we’d end up playing,” she recalls.

Before long, that spontaneous jam became Elle Acoustique, a musical confab dedicated to encouraging local and independent women musicians to share their original music.

Now returned to Houston, Love has given that feel-good, porch-bound creative outburst more direction, presenting the monthly Elle Acoustique, scheduled April 18 at House of Blues’ Foundation Room.

Love describes the evening as “a pow-wow, onstage.” Sarah Golden is a frequent “sitter-inner” of previous Elle Acoustique events.

“All artists play together and song-swap,” she continues. “It’s basically a jam, but with structure. Everybody plays their own music and, sometimes, covers. It’s meant to have that ‘we’re sitting in your living room, jamming out’ kind of feel.”

Despite having recently released her new self-produced CD, Just Breathe, Love laments the lack of venues for new musicians who may not be quite seasoned enough to gig, but who nonetheless can benefit from having an audience listen to their tunes.

“It’s like, what happened to Lilith Fair? All that amazing music. And we used to have The Dyke Show open mic, which was always so comfortable and welcoming. It was the first place I played,” the singer/songwriter says.

Love’s plans for the Elle Acoustique go beyond the artistic. She hopes eventually the gathering will become a nonprofit organization for music education for women.

Victoria Love’s Elle Acoustique: A Celebration of Women’s Music • April 18, 8:30-11 p.m. • House of Blues’ Foundation Room (open to the public for this event), 1204 Caroline St. • www.victorialovemusic.com.

On the Air & in the Montrose: following her acclaimed stint on NBC’s The Voice, Sarah Golden joins Anderson Fair’s Songwriters in the Round. Photo by Lewis Jacobs/NBC.

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Fresh from her brief but impressive battle on NBC’s The Voice, Sarah Golden takes the stage at Texas’s oldest and possibly most respected listening venue, Anderson Fair. She takes part in Songwriters in the Round, joining veteran musicians who have not yet made their debut on network television, as Golden has. “This is the best way to see a folk show,” Golden promises generously.

Sarah Golden and Songwriters in the Round • April 12 • Anderson Fair, 2007 Grant St. • www.andersonfair.com • 832-767-2785.

 

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By the Sea: Coles Whalen introduces her new CD at Girl Jam Deuce, the 2nd in a series of all-day music and fun on Galveston Island.

 

Some patrons of Girl Jam Deuce, the next in a series of producer Julie Mabry’s rollicking and unpredictable music parties, prefer to stay indoors at Galveston’s Riptide Surf Bar and grind to the cranks of DJ Melle Mel Frausto. Others may cross Seawall Boulevard to enjoy a day on the beach where “bikinis are encouraged,” Mabry says. Volleyball and football, along with a conveniently located beverage bar, are also available on the beach. The day concludes with singer/songwriter Coles Whalen playing tunes from her new CD, I Wrote This for You. (For those who can’t make it down to The Island to enjoy the music, Whalen reprises the concert and CD launch the very next evening at The Usual Pub in Houston.

Girl Jam Deuce Beach Party and Concert • April 14, 11 a.m.–1 a.m. • Riptide Surf Bar, 5904 Avenue M in Galveston.

 

 

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Susan Colton and Elizabeth Wills (see left photo) are staples of Recreation Plantation’s FriendsFest, the annual women’s camping festival in Dripping Springs.
Elizabeth Wills

Diehard fans of women’s music recall the Lone Star Women’s Music Festival, a glorious weekend of music, workshops, and straight-up womantime under the Lone Star’s stars in New Braunfels. After its highly acclaimed run throughout the ’80s and ’90s, the festival took its final bow, causing music-loving lesbians to fold up their tents and go into mourning. Fortunately, Recreation Plantation was quick to take up LSWMF’s mantle, and for years has provided a long weekend in the woods of Dripping Springs that accentuates informal “sistership.” Though campers begin arriving at the festival on Thursday, the music stage doesn’t officially light up until Saturday. The full day of music begins Saturday at 3 p.m. with Bronwynne Brent, Susan Colton, Nancy Scott and Millie Marlow, Lisa Litman, Elizabeth Wills, Kiya Heartwood, and Andra Haviland, followed by a DJ providing dance music until the wee hours.

FriendsFest 2012 • April 26–30 • Recreation Plantation Campground • 3550 Pursley Road in Dripping Springs, 25 miles west of Austin • www.friendsfest.com • 512/858-0002.

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In the Living Room: Austin’s notorious Therapy Sisters bring their unique blend of Texas twang and lesbian sensibility to producers Sandi Glorfield and Arden Eversmeyer’s House Concert Series, April 22.

If we are to believe Readers’ Digest, laughter is indeed the best medicine. With decades of experience headlining women’s festivals, Pride rallies, and any place that can benefit from a little musical self-help, these rollicking divas of dysfunction offer original songs like “My Finger Is an Instrument of Death” and “Don’t Touch Me When I’m Beautiful,” and “The Weenie Whacking Woman,” based on the tale of John and Lorena Bobbitt. The quartet comes to Houston to perform at the spring edition of Sandi Glorfield and Arden Eversmeyer’s popular House Concert series.

The Therapy Sisters in Concert • April 22; artists’ reception at 3 p.m., concert follows at 4 p.m. • 3203 Rustling Moss Drive • Reservations: 713/502-9297.

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In the Heart of the City: Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Ruthie Foster delivers her signature blues sound on April 21 at the renowned International Festival in downtown Houston.

 

Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Ruthie Foster delivers her signature blues sound on April 21 at the renowned International Festival in downtown Houston. Mastering venues as varied as a women’s gathering in the woods to the Houston iFest’s forest of glass and steel, Foster can be expected to play tunes from her latest recording, Let It Burn, featuring an eclectic mix of traditional and new music covers, and originals.

Houston International Festival’s Americas Stage • April 21 • Downtown Houston, in City Hall, Tranquility Park, and Sam Houston Park areas • www.ifest.org.

 

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