There's no data to back it up, but as an observer of Central Oregon's music scene over the past five and a half years, I think it's safe to say the population of local female artists is strong in both quantity and quality.
Concerts dedicated to showcasing their skills, however, have been few and far between. And that's what motivated Curt Garner, founder of a local group called Peak Artist Alliance, to organize tonight's Maiden Bend Music Fest at the Tower Theatre (see “If you go”).
Maiden Bend will feature performances by six female musicians who either live in the region or have local ties, and a portion of proceeds will benefit Saving Grace, which provides services for victims of family violence and sexual assault.
“I am basically a music junky,” Garner said in an email. “When I moved back to ... Oregon in 2007 from California, as I attended various events in an effort to familiarize myself with the local music scene in Central Oregon, it struck me that the area was home to a large contingent of talented musicians as a whole, and, most notably, more female singer-songwriter musicians than the larger city I had come from.
“I would see them playing at (a number of) events and it occurred to me that their abilities deserved a larger showcase,” he continued. “Maiden Bend Music Fest grew from wanting to give them their own, small-scale ‘Lilith Fair' type of event.”
And so, Garner went about recruiting talent. He snagged Janelle Johnson after seeing her play in Sisters, and Erin Cole-Baker after Breedlove Guitars' music festival and Anastacia after Bend WinterFest. He met Caitlin Cardier through a friend and Abigail Nyman through the Central Oregon Songwriters Association and Lisa C. Pollock through Dori Donoho's Homegrown Music show on Clear 101.7 FM.
“Knowing full well that several other local talents would be left out of the mix,” Garner said, “I settled on moving forward with this terrific group of women.”
That group covers a wide range of styles, from folk and country to rootsy pop to hip-hop-flavored R&B. Below, you can find out who plays what, plus a little extra info about each of the artists performing tonight.
If you go
What: Maiden Bend Music Fest
When: 7 tonight
Where: Tower Theatre, 835 N.W. Wall St., Bend
Cost: $15 to $30, available through the venue
Contact: www.towertheatre.org or 541-317-0700
Roots: Born in Portland, moved to California, and then to Sisters at age 5
Style: Music that has soul. My music is kind of melodic R&B/soul
Musical origin: I would perform at talent shows when I was in elementary school but I really started to pursue my music in seventh grade through the Americana Project in the Sisters schools.
People say I sound like: Celine Dion, Alicia Keys, Norah Jones
Female inspiration: Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, and Gladys Knight
Why I play music: Because it is my passion. I want to pursue music as a career and every moment of the day I am either singing or writing songs, etc. No matter if I am happy or sad, music always brings me joy.
Current project: Working on a Christmas CD.
Find me at: Maiden Bend tonight! (Website isn’t up and running yet.)
LISA C. POLLOCK
“Young-ish,” Los Angeles
Roots: Born in Idaho, raised in Bend Style: Alternative country
Musical origin: I wrote my first song at age 5. I’ve always been drawn to music. I used to riffle through my family’s records when I was very young and listen for hours.
People say I sound like: I’ve been likened to everyone from Dolly Parton (which I love) to Sheryl Crow
Female inspiration: Dolly Parton for her business sense and sweet personality. Patty Griffin for her heartbreaking lyrics and Loretta Lynn for her guts!
Why I play music: I play music for the same reason that I breathe. It sustains me and I could sooner give up breathing than music.
Current project: I just finished my third album “Average American” which is available on iTunes.
Find me at: iTunes, www.reverbnation.com/lisacpollock, www.youtube.com/lisacpollockmusic
Roots: Born in California, raised in New Zealand
Style: Folk/pop, singer-songwriter
Musical origin: At 5, I was fascinated with piano and couldn’t keep my fingers off it.
People say I sound like: The Weepies, Brandi Carlile
Female inspiration: Brandi Carlile
Why I play music: It’s an amazing thing to make music from a few strings and the voice. It connects to the soul in ways nothing else can.
Current project: Moving back to New Zealand Monday!
Find me at: www.erincolebaker.com
Courtesy Marina Koslow
Roots: Prineville. I have lived in the same house my entire life.
Musical origin: I started playing around the age of 13 and am self-taught. I have many friends that have helped me along my journey.
People say I sound like: I’ve been told I resemble Taylor Swift in appearance, and Bethany Dillon’s style. I have my own sound, so I don’t know if you could say I sound like any one person.
Female inspiration: Carrie Underwood and Whitney Houston
Why I play music: I started because I loved to write songs! Music has just been such a huge influence in my life. I simply love to listen to, write or play music. It expresses who I am.
Current project: Maiden Bend! And I hope to have a CD completed by spring of next year.
Find me at: www.peakartistalliance.com (currently) and www.abigailnyman.com (soon)
Roots: Kennewick, Wash.
Style: Neo-soul, hip-hop beats with soul and R&B elements
Musical origin: I was always involved in something as I grew up. I remember being a munchkin in “The Wizard of Oz,” doing dance recitals, cheerleading camps, playing dress-up and making up dances with my friends and just being creative. Being an only child, I filled a lot of my time singing and dancing in front of my TV to Whitney Houston mostly. Music just poured out of me.
People say I sound like: Erykah Badu, Rihanna, Christina Aguilera and Tina Marie
Female inspiration: Erykah Badu. “New Ameriykah: Part 1 Fourth World War” changed my entire view on everything, from music to politics. Also, Janelle Monae.
Why I play music: Because there is nothing else I’d rather be doing. It’s my passion and it’s undeniable. I love to inspire people who don’t think they have options or voices.
Current project: My top-secret second album with an amazing producer. So excited! Also, I recently opened for acts like Boyz II Men, Brian McKnight, SWV and more.
Find me at: www.caitlincardier.com
Roots: Huntington Beach, Calif.
Style: Whatever my feelings are at the time. I write the song with a focus on crafting poetic, storytelling lyrics and music with kinetic energy.
Musical origin: My dad and brother both played. At 9, I found an acoustic guitar in the trash at the beach.
Female inspiration: Anais Mitchell
Why I play music: Because I have to. Music is my antidepressant. I am passionate and addicted to every aspect of music. I am trapped on a “rat wheel” chasing the illusion of trying to always be a “better” musician. Music keeps me engaged in a push-pull dance with the creative process. I feel creating any art commands being in the present moment. I feel I can never master the state of being in the present or the art form of music. It therefore is a constant, consistent challenge for me. Unfortunately or fortunately, I thrive on challenge. That is why I have to play music.
Current project: Maiden Bend and my Nov. 19 concert at the HarmonyHouse in Sisters are CD-release shows for my new album “Where the Road Meets the Sky.”
Find me at: www.anastaciamusic.com
Courtesy Lynn Woodward