JamTrotting the Globe ~ Uniting Music, Travel & Cultures

Contributing Columnists

LaLa LISA  ~  San Luis Obispo, California
Singer, Music Aficionado, Real Estate Mogul

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I was born by the river…in a little tent… And just like dat river… I been running ever since…It’s  been a long, long time a coming. But I know, dat change gonna come, Oh, yaaa it will….

Well, I was born by the river. Two rivers actually. Sort of. In Sacramento, California…where the Sacramento and American Rivers flow. So, yep! I can claim that! Not in a tent…but…we can take a little poetic license, can’t we? As for the running part…Well…I was an Air Force Brat. Sacramento being home to not one, but two Air Force bases in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s…So, like most Air Force Brats…we were running…from town to town (err… base to base) about every year and a half to two years!

So…my family’s travels took us to the deep south…where my formative years were a gumbo stew of the best music to come out of this country. Music from the Delta, Memphis, Muscle Shoals, New Orleans, “the Crossroads”, the Chitlin” Circuit, Honky Tonks, Gospel tents and blaring a.m. radios. Melodies and Harmonies that stand to this day as a critical mass in the music industry. Barriers were broken, doors were broken down…and little ol’ me sat in my room with my first transistor radio…antenna extended to the nth degree…attempting to capture my song “du jour”, one more time before my Daddy looked in and saw/heard that little radio was still on! Those hot and humid, Mississippi pre-teen days, are what molded my musical tastes, and have stayed with me even to this day. Yeah…I was a Beatles fan…who secretly dug the Stones (those naughty boys)…but, the groove…the beat…the laid back cool of the music coming from southern recording studios and music halls…had an allure that was like a Voodoo Priest had put a spell on you and never let go. It just pulled you in…your head began to nod… your foot began to tap…your body begins to sway… it’s alllllll over! You were HIPnotized!

The next thing I know…being an Air Force Brat and all…(yep, you guessed it) we up and moved again! Back to California…after 9 years in the South (with the exception of a year and a half in Illinois). California…well, that was interesting…rolling up to a bunch of long hairs in 1968! Flower Power! Peace! Love! Make Love…Not War! (unless it’s the band WAR!)! We’ve moved to an entirely alien country! It’s all…Haight & Ashbury…bell bottoms…moccasins…headbands…patchouli oil…Quicksilver Messenger Service, Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Moby Grape… I’m like…What about James Brown? Where’s Jr. Walker? Everyone is looking at me with a blank expression on their zoned out faces… ay yi yi… I asked, “Where is Ike and Tina Turner’? NADA.  I started my freshman year of high school not knowing what I might expect next. And then I made musician friends. Started jammin’, singin’ and playin’ music…And…life was good, again.

I picked up singing again with bands here on the CA Central Coast and was picked as one of the 5 Central Coast Blues Divas (along with Ms. Harmonica), by the Central Coast Blues Society. I’ve played with various bands, both lead and back up vocals at Blues Festivals, Blues Societies, birthday parties, prisons, and bar mitzvahs. You name it!I I even did some back up vocals for Boz Scags once!  As a Contributing Writer for The Traveling Harmonica, I get to worm back into my music roots and let my creative energies flow from my thoughts to keyboard, and meet incredible artists and musicians. There are some really wonderful folks out there…and on this blog, we hope to bring you some of their stories. We hope you check in from time to time and see what’s going on. We will do our best to keep it fresh and exciting…and update it often. Thanks y’all…until next time… LaLa – OUT!

The Traveling Harmonica can’t wait to share the amusing stories by La La Lisa!

NANCYBLUE  ~  Phoenix, Oregon
Singer, Musician, Web and Graphic Designer

11159949_10205695777306186_1879992074319751141_n (2)NancyBlue has been singing since the age of 5, initially under the direction of her father – a well-known Northwest Oregon professional musician and school band, chorus, and orchestra teacher (oh my, the stories she can tell). NancyBlue has an extensive performance background as a singer and musician (including musical theater) and fronted her own blues/rock band ‘NEXT EXIT’ for over 25 years!  She also worked with the Boise Blues Society. Her day job utilized her unique skills as a specialized administrative consultant for firms such as Morrison-Knudsen, Simplot, Idaho Power, Boise Cascade, and governmental entities in the Boise, Idaho area.  In 2007, she returned back to the great Northwest and settled in Coos Bay, Oregon where she focused on her music, freelance graphics and her website about the local area. NancyBlue is not only capable in music and computer graphics but also an English major with creative writing skills! She recently retired and moved from the coast of Oregon in July 2014 to Phoenix, Oregon to immerse herself in jams, music, writing, several arts projects and freelance work.

The Traveling Harmonica crew Welcomes NancyBlue aboard!