Tell us about your tour vehicle. Any notable breakdown stories?
My tour vehicle is usually a rented van once we get off the plane and head to where we’re going. Countless miles. My notable breakdowns are actually from when I use to travel in my own van. We broke down in Boise, Idaho in the 80’s and had stay in town while my transmission was being rebuilt. Friends from the city got together and put on a backyard house concert then passed the hat to help pay for the repairs and rebuild. Awesome community.
How do you eat cheaply and/or healthy while on tour?
Eating healthy while on tour is challenging. I avoid fast food and pack healthy snacks ahead of time for the flights and the long van rides. Cheese, peanut butter packets, MCT oil, nuts, protein shakes and drink lots of water. We’re good about finding a grocery store on the way and shopping for healthy foods once we’re close to our hotel.
How many strings do you break in a typical year? How much does it cost to replace them?
I don’t typically break strings as much after finding the right gauge that works for my guitar. I do try to change my strings every performance during the summer months due to sweating and overplaying, so that could be anywhere between 40 to 50 pairs in that duration. Cost can be anywhere from $10 to $15 per pair. I’m open for a sponsor!
Where do you rehearse?
My rehearsal space used to be my garage but I’ve since moved into a room in my home. It’s small but comfortable and I tend to get a lot more done now that I’m not tempted to start a load of laundry!
What was the title and a sample lyric from the first song that you wrote?
“Go to sleep little baby child
See the rainbows fall ’round you
Rest easy for a little while
Then I will follow too”
I was a neighborhood babysitter. Playing guitar and singing was the only way to get the kiddos to calm down and take a nap!
Describe your first gig.
I wrote the closing song for my 4-H club talent show and taught it to all the kids to sing. The reaction from the parents, including my mother, was enough to convince me that I might have a future in this business of songwriting one day!
What was your last day job? What was your favorite day job?
My last day job I was a commercial sound engineer for a major cable company, I ran camera and sound at a local CBS affiliate tv station in Charleston, SC then Bryan-College Station, TX before that. It was my absolute favorite job! I loved how live tv news casts were a lot like music performance. You have a script for your news anchors and how things were SUPPOSE to go for the broadcast but if it goes as planned, it’s a miracle; every night and if it goes smoothly, it’s all about the celebration – for a minute – then you’re off to prep for the next slot. Awesome job! Pay was low but I loved the rush!
How has your music-related income changed over the past 5-10 years? What do you expect it to look like 5-10 years from now?
Regarding income, I value the lesson of ‘it’s not how much money you make, but how much you keep’.
In 5-10 years I’ll remain optimistic about my own financial musical endeavors. It’s constant work before and after leaving the stage as always but I’ve learned a lot about how to protect my emotional and financial assets!
What one thing do you know now that you had wished you knew when you started your career in music?
I wish I could tell my Lil Ruthie-self that, ‘Girl, you got this and… you are enough!’