I grew up outside of Austin, Texas in the little town of Dripping Springs. As a kid, I was surrounded by music. My childhood was full of potluck parties where music and food were of equal importance. Texas swing, classic country, bluegrass, and fiddle tunes filled the house late into the night and were a soundtrack to my early years. Though I was more likely to be found playing flashlight tag than the fiddle at these get-togethers, I have no doubt that it was these times that instilled a love and sense of music within me.
My dad is a fiddler, a luthier, and can pick up really any stringed instrument and create beautiful sounds. My mom plays the guitar and together they play with a group of friends and great pickers in an Irish group that, as they joke, gigs about once every March. When I was 6 years old, I began learning the fiddle from my dad and from the great, Mary Hattersley. I had the two best teachers in the world, but, being a kid, I had to explore everything before I knew what I really loved. So, I set down the fiddle around age 10 and picked up a basketball for the remainder of my younger years.
I jumped back into music in college and spent these years and beyond collaborating with musicians in this little Gunnison valley, the place I still call home. During these years I made many lifelong musical connections, including two talented gals that became my band mates in Free the Honey for three fulfilling years. I learned so much with this group, including the art of writing music, and though writing in itself is a lifelong study, this group and its passion for original material got me started.
These days, you will find me on stage with my trio, Storm Pass, a group comprised of my husband/guitarist Sam Pankratz and good buddy/mandolinist Drew Murdza, playing square dances with various collaborations, and writing and recording a debut solo album.
I will forever be inspired by my upbringing. Upon return visits home, I have the chance to pick and sing with some truly great players. From sittin' on the porch with the great Doc Hamilton as he teaches me clawhammer banjo tunes, to fiddlin' for hours with my dad in the greenhouse, to swingin' by my neighbor Beyrl's to work up an Uncle Walt's Band song, I am so grateful for this musical immersion that only gets sweeter with time. These people have taught me the importance of music. It can be a performance tool, which can be a ball, but more than anything, it is a pastime, something to love, and a way to share stories, laughter, emotion and most of all, joy.