Dejha Colantuono on Lyrical Venus 10/6

Singer-songwriter Dejha Colantuono
Singer-songwriter Dejha Colantuono

Native New Yorker Dejha Colantuono is no stranger to the music scene, she fronted a number of bands during her time in Seattle, including 3DS&M, the Pin-Ups, Rotten Apples, and Ragazza.  From growing up with two jazz musicians to all that time writing and performing in Seattle, every step of Dejha’s path has brought her into the seasoned performer she is today, ready to shine on her debut solo album.

If you listened to the individual tracks on Tea and Vodka, you might not necessarily place them as on the same album – one seems influenced by No Doubt, another perhaps Prince, yet another hints at Bjork.  You might not necessarily place them as on the same album, except for that unmistakable, soulful, rock voice that marks them all as Dejha’s.  She has the power to belt it, and the control to keep it low as the emotion calls.

I was only able to find this video of Dejha with her band Rotten Apples, but it gives you the idea of her voice, her passionate intensity and the catchy flavor of her songs:

If you are reading this elsewhere, you may need to come to the actual blog to see the video.

Find out more about Dejha and her new solo album Tea and Vodka on her website or MySpace

Of course, you can also tune in to the Lyrical Venus Radio Hour on KRUU for the interview with Dejha and to hear some songs there! KRUU-LP 100.1 FM in town, online anywhere!
The show is from 9-10 am Central Tuesday 10/6/09. Dejha will be calling from about 9:30-10.

Click here for the podcast of the 10/6/09 interview with Dejha Colantouno

New Release from Boca Chica! Interview 10/6!

Indie-folk Band Boca Chica
Indie-folk Band Boca Chica

I always tell the artists I interview to be sure and send me any new albums they come out with, so it was a complete joy this July when I got the mail to discover that Hallie Pritts of Boca Chica had remembered that request!  Inside a delightfully hand-stamped white box was a brand new copy of the Pittsburgh-based band’s second full length release, Lace Up Your Workboots.

When I wrote to Hallie asking about an interview, she mentioned that KRUU was one of two stations to have a copy so far in advance of the CD release.  I felt doubly lucky!  Alert listeners to the Lyrical Venus Radio hour know they have already heard a few of the tracks in the past couple of months.

With an expanded cast of characters this time around, Lace Up Your Workbooks delivers a richer, multi-layered experience without losing that characteristic Boca Chica sound – somewhere between a vintage lace handkerchief and a pair of well-worn steel toe boots. With cello, banjo, vibraphone, Wurlitzer, pedal steel, bass, guitar, guitar, drums and the occasional synth on various tracks the songs are not quite like anything I’ve heard before. The story-telling is slightly quirky and yet the choruses are that catchy sort where I find myself singing along. I highly encourage you to have a listen as I am most definitely loving it!

Well, all that talk of the new album and the only video I could find is from the previous album, Transform Into Beasts.  Featuring the title track, it of course still captures the essence of Boca Chica that is heard on both albums:

If you are reading this elsewhere, you may need to come to the actual blog to see the video.

If you want a taste of some of the new stuff, head on over to their MySpace, or check out Lace Up Your Workboots on CD Baby where you can purchase mp3’s or the actual CD.

Of course, you can also tune in to the Lyrical Venus Radio Hour on KRUU for the interview with Hallie and to hear some songs there! KRUU-LP 100.1 FM in town, online anywhere! The show is from 9-10 am Central Tuesday 10/6/09. Hallie will be calling from about 9-9:30.

8 Questions with Anna Rose. Plus – Win her EP!

Singer-Songwriter Anna Rose
Singer-Songwriter Anna Rose

Be sure to read to the bottom for details on how to win an Anna Rose EP!

Anna Rose has a passion for music that is to be admired.  It’s perhaps no surprise, seeing as her father is film composer Alan Menken, but I never would have pinned Anna Rose as his daughter if not for reading her bio.  Anna Rose has a sound all her own.

A self-proclaimed “guitarhead”, the 24 year old has been playing since the age of five, inspired by greats like Hendrix, Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, and Buddy Guy.  Also listed as influences are Springsteen, Dylan and The Doors.

Her music lives up to the weight of those big name inspirations, with a rockin’ grittiness not often found among other gals doing the songwriter thing these days.  Her self-titled debut contains 5 songs and is leading up to a full album.  If this EP is any indication, the full album is going to be quite the treat!  Have a listen yourself to this MP3 for starters, and then read on to learn more about the artist behind the music: Picture by Anna Rose

1) When did you know you wanted to be a songwriter?

Wow! You know what, I’m not sure! I knew I would be a musician for as long as I can remember, but I think I was around 12 when I started writing my first songs and the vision of my future became fully realized. I definitely did not choose this path, it chose me.

2) What is your songwriting process like?

It varies because there are times when the lyrics come first and then other times I get a melody line into my head before the lyrics come to me. I also have those moments when an entire song will come to me all at once, which is the most amazing feeling in the world. No matter what, though, I do find the writing process to be a very private one and I have a hard time writing when other people are around.

3) What is one thing (besides your instruments!) you can’t leave for a
tour without?

My dog, Joplin. She is my constant companion. She is laying next to me even as I write this to you! I also could not go anywhere without a camera and a journal to document my travels.

4) Where is your favorite place to sing?

In my car!! I’ve always done it, but when I was living in Los Angeles, I spent so much time driving that I started making myself useful and warming up my voice for a gig in the car on the way there. I still have that habit, but it’s a little different in New York when I sing in the back of a cab on the way to a show, I get some amazing looks from the driver.

5) If you could form a super-group of any musicians, living or dead, who would you choose and what would they play?

This question is too important for me to answer, it would take a thesis statement and endless research. Ask me in 50 years when I’m worthy!! At the end of the day, I am a little kid in an industry of giants.

6) What are you most proud of on this album?

Everything. It was such a struggle to stay true to my vision, to not lose focus and to trust my co-producer and my bandmates. I learned so much from everyone I worked with. I guess I am most proud of what I learned in the process of making the record, but nothing beats the feeling of holding the first copy of the album on your hands, with all the artwork on it, knowing people will finally be able to hear it.

7) What was the last book you read?
The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand.

8 ) Any upcoming projects (musical or non) that you’d like to share?

Absolutely! I am playing two shows with my band coming up in New York City – The Gramercy Theatre on September 21st and Rockwood Music Hall on September 29th. The 29th is also the release date of the EP, so be sure to come out to the shows and pick up a copy!!

BONUS QUESTION: What is your favorite sandwich? :-)
You can’t beat a good PB&J, my friend.

Learn more about Anna Rose at her MySpace or Website.  If you like what you hear, leave a comment about either a) your favorite guitarist OR b) your favorite color of rose on this post and I will have a drawing on October 2nd for one lucky person to win an Anna Rose EP!

16th Annual Iowa Women’s Music Festival, September 11-12 in Iowa City

iowa womens music fest logoLaurie Haag is a woman after my own heart. I just read this article where she was interviewed about the 16th Annual Iowa Women’s Music Festival and she talks about being the only girl on stage in her band in high school, and one of few women as she continued to play in bands as an adult.  So 16 years ago she helped organize the first women’s music festival in Iowa City and it’s been going strong ever since.  One of their goals is to introduce the audience to new and under-the-radar artists, much like one of my goals of this blog and the Lyrical Venus Radio Hour!

I’ve been to the Iowa Women’s Music Festival the past two years and loved it both times.  The stage is set up in a park across from Hancher, it’s under the trees, small enough to feel intimate and not get too crazy, but big enough to be fun and festive.  Sign Language interpreters are there, as well as food and craft vendors.  September is just about one of the best months in Iowa and spending a whole afternoon outside listening to great music for free sounds like my kind of day!

Laurie is going to call in to the Lyrical Venus Radio Hour this Tuesday 9/8/09 around 9:15 to tell us a little about the festival.  Tune in to KRUU-LP 100.1 FM here in town or online anywhere!  I’ll play a few songs by some of the performers, plus some songs about the sun in honor of KRUU’s solar panels going live on Wednesday 9-9-09!

I’m including the press release for the festival because I think it says it all.  Read on for details about the performers and to find out about the other events surrounding the main afternoon of performances.  I’ve linked up all the artist’s names, so even if you don’t live in Iowa, you can still check out their websites and find out more about these awesome women!


Shocked’s Americana & Wonderland’s Blues Headline the 16th Annual Iowa Women’s Music Festival Sept. 12 In Iowa City

The REAL thing. Start to finish. That’s the line-up for the 16th Annual Iowa Women’s Music Festival (IWMF), to be held September 11-12 in Iowa City and headlined by the legendary Michelle Shocked and fast-rising blues star Carolyn Wonderland.

The eclectic line-up includes a Grammy nominee (Shocked), an Internet mega celebrity, a master mystical storyteller, and the 2008 Official Texas State Musician (the first woman to be honored). There is music for everyone at the IWMF: jazz, folk, pop, rock, country, Americana, roots, comedy, hip-hop, and the blues, with influences of honky-tonk, soul, and gospel, as well as provocative performance art.

The 2009 IWMF kicks off with a comedy and music show on Friday, September 11 at 7:30 p.m. at Old Brick, 26 E. Market St. in Iowa City, featuring popular Iowa singer-songwriter Lojo Russo and comedian Poppy Champlin from West Hollywood, CA (as seen on cruise lines, on TV, and at top comedy clubs around the nation).

The festival’s traditional main event, the “day stage” in Iowa City’s Upper City Park, comes to life on Saturday, September 12 at noon and continues until approximately 5:30 p.m. The non-stop stage lineup includes (in reverse order) headliner Michelle Shocked, Carolyn Wonderland with Shelley King, Cosy Sheridan, Tracy Walker, and Lynne Rothrock and Friends, with high-energy emcee Kim-Char Meredith.

The festival fun continues indoors at the Mill Restaurant, 120 E. Burlington St. in Iowa City at 8 p.m. on Saturday night. The night show is dubbed the “Pop, Hip-Hop & 80’s Dance Party!” The lineup features Kim-Char Meredith, festival emcee, in her own set of high-energy pop and feel-good folk-rock. Ames, Iowa’s own Leslie & the Ly’s take the stage with some of the most provocative and artistic hip-hop around.

Around 10 p.m., the Mill blasts into the 80’s with the retro rock’n’roll, pop, and new wave of the Jodie Foster Connection. A dance floor will be open for attendees to grove to the music. At midnight, the festival closes out with an all-women’s jam, to which festival attendees are able to add their instrument or voice.

The tickets for the Friday night comedy and music show at Old Brick can be purchased at the door for a suggested donation of $8-20 (sliding scale). Proceeds benefit Prairie Voices Productions and will help pay for the operations and performances of this and next year’s festival. Please note: The comedy show may contain adult topics, so parents should use discretion in bringing children. For directions or more information about Old Brick, visit

The day stage in Upper City Park on Saturday afternoon is free (no tickets required), everyone is welcome, and families are encouraged to attend. Food and merchandise vendors will line the festival, and an auction will be held. Attendees should bring blankets or chairs for grass seating. The park is wheelchair accessible, and the festival performers will be American Sign Language (ASL) interpreted. Pets on leashes are welcome. In case of inclement weather during the outdoor portion of the
festival, the rain location will be The Mill Restaurant in Iowa City.

Admission to the night show at The Mill Restaurant is a sliding scale of $5-15. Attendees are asked to pay what they can to help fund the IWMF for years to come. For directions or more information about the Mill, visit or call 319-351-9529.

For more information about the events of the 2009 Iowa Women’s Music Festival, or to apply to be a vendor or sponsor, go to, call 319-335-1486, or e-mail The festival is also seeking volunteers, who may call Laurie at 319-335- 1486 to sign up.

The mission of Prairie Voices Productions (PVP), the 501(c)3 non-profit organization that produces the IWMF, is to support and promote the work of women artists and musicians through accessible events for the community. PVP also strives to provide women diverse volunteer skill-building experiences in planning, organizing, producing, and implementing major public events such as the music festival.

Laurie Haag, 319-335-1486
Lisa Schreihart, 319-431-0982
Prairie Voices Productions

Mary McAdams on Lyrical Venus Radio 9/1

Singer-Songwriter Mary McAdams
Singer-Songwriter Mary McAdams

Iowa singer-songwriter Mary McAdams only lives about two hours away from me, but I think I actually see her more in Colorado!  Last year was my first at Rocky Mountain Song School and somehow knowing that there were other Iowan’s there gave me a little boost of confidence to hang out with people outside of the group of musicians from Fairfield.  I saw her plenty of times again this year around the campgrounds and in classes.  I did meet Mary for the first time in Iowa though, at a Just Plain Folks showcase at Ritual Cafe in Des Moines.

Just Plain Folks is a wonderful organization that supports musicians of all types, their motto is “We’re all in this together”.  Among other things, they tour the country having showcases of local musicians in various cities to help people get to know each other.  I believe Mary was one of the organizers of the Des Moines event a few years back, because Mary has been supporting area musicians of all sorts for years, from teaching music and songwriting to students in Iowa schools to hosting a monthly Open Mic at Ritual Cafe, so it’s great to see her out there with her own brand new album!

Her self-titled debut tackles a broad range of topics – from keeping the spark alive in married life to corporate greed (and that’s just the first two songs!), but all told from the lens of Everywoman.  Putting on on the CD is kind of like sitting down with a dear friend and a pot of tea and catching up on the past couple years, chatting openly about everything near to her heart lately.  That’s not to say it’s sleepy or quiet, quite the opposite!  The lush, layered production rocks, and Mary’s voice soars above it all to drive those stories home.  I heard in an interview that she originally thought the album was just going to be her and the guitar, and I don’t think that would have been a bad thing – check out these videos of Mary playing a couple of my favorite songs from the album solo at an outdoor event:

Take You There


If you’re reading this elsewhere, you may need to come to the actual blog to see the videos

See?  I think it would have been a solid album on it’s own, but I’m really digging the production too.  Mary recorded at The Sonic Factory in Des Moines and those guys seem to be pretty with it.  They even have a webcam set up to broadcast in the studio, so I got to see Mary recording some vocals a few months back.  Cool stuff.

To hear some of those tunes from the album, check out
You can purchase the album direct from Mary’s website, or get it from CDBaby or download it on Mary McAdams - Mary McAdams

Or of course, you can join me Tuesday from 9-10am Central for the Lyrical Venus Radio Hour on KRUU-LP 100.1 FM  here in town, online anywhere, for great music by female singer-songwriters, including new tracks from Mary’s self-titled CD due for official release on Sept 18th.  Interview with Mary will start shortly after 9am.