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A trip down musical lane with Nanci, Laura and Jo, as led by Sue
by Peg Doman
Sue Tjardes presented a lecture just before the Nanci Griffith and The Kennedys concert. Sue talked about the female singer-songwriters in the Northwest. She mentioned several of my favorites: Linda Waterfall, Laura Love, and Jo Miller, among others.
Several years ago Don produced You Bet Your Sweet Life, a video presentation to celebrate the one hundredth anniverary of the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department. David Vance of the Health Department wrote the words to the song You Bet Your Sweet Life and Linda Waterfall wrote the music and recorded the ditty that was the theme and background for the historical celebration of public health.
I first heard Laura Love on NPR’s KUOW, on “Sandy Bradley’s Potluck”. That show was a great favorite of mine with the always funny and self-deprecating Canote Brothers, Jere and Greg, silly skits and songs (“I Wanna Be a Dog” with lots of panting and a great favorite of our grandchildren) and lots of guest musicians.
Among their many guests was Laura Love, who described herself as a person of AfroCeltic heritage. She has a lovely voice, singing independently or blending with others. A group that was also a frequent Potluck guest was Ranch Romance. Jo Martin was the lead singer and songwriter and, when RR and Laura teamed up, it was a match made in heaven.
Jo taught Laura to yodel and it was a thing of beauty. They made an album with just the two of them called “Jo Martin and Laura Love Sing Blue Grass and Old Time Music.” It was reminiscent of the Engineer Jimmy Rogers-type songs. Rogers was a favorite of my Dad’s and Dad gave me his Jimmy Rogers album when my tone deaf mother informed him that she didn’t want to hear Rogers, Hank Williams or other twanger music. My gain but his loss.
Laura went on to make another album with yodeling on every cut. I loved it and thought fondly of my Dad when I listened to it.
I had always wanted to yodel. When I was at St. Leo’s HS, one of my classmates yodeled in the Swiss style and it was lovely. I think her name was Reichlan and her family was part of the Swiss-culture society and they sang in the traditional manner.
I have loved music all my life, starting with those only-one-song, little, yellow records on the child’s player. My little brother Joe loved “‘Horace the Horse’ on the merry-go-round, round and round, up and down” and played it for hours. My favorite was “‘ Alice in Wonderland’, where is the path to Wonderland?” from the Disney movie.
When I was about five or six, my family was living in France and my parents bought an upright piano. Madame Chapeau came once a week and gave Pat and me piano lessons. I took lessons for six more years and still love folk, classical, jazz and stage musicals.
Well, Sue Tjardes took me on a trip waaaay down musical memory lane. Ah, the joys of music. I’ve loved Nanci Griffith, Laura Love and Jo Miller for years. It was nice to hear Sue talk about the joy music brings. Sue certainly knows her stuff. For many years she was the organizer and emcee for Victory Music. What an apt background for this lecture.