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Photograph by Mark Maryanovich Pictures

As seen in Guitar Lady Journal Summer season 2020 Situation

By Enmaria Cuminsky

Austin, TX-based singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, instructor, and founding father of Lady Guitar Austin, a complete rock and roll college for girls, attracts influences from a variety of musicians and genres. From rockers like Tom Petty, Neil Younger, and The Rolling Stones to singer-songwriters like Lisa Loeb, Lucinda Williams, and Neil Younger to the classical music of Vivaldi and Chopin.

Her love of educating doesn’t cease at Lady Guitar Austin; Rowden can be the camp musician for Fortunate Star Artwork Camp, a daily visitor clinician for Personal Your Personal Universe, and a songwriter for Songs for the Soul which she says, “All issues I genuinely love and am deeply proud to be a part of!”

Apart from her numerous hours dedicated to educating guitar, she can be a songwriter and touring artist enjoying her unique music. She has launched three albums thus far and is at the moment engaged on her fourth.

Rowden chatted with us about Lady Guitar Austin, educating, her musical background, her Gibson guitars, and extra.

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Because the founding father of the music college, Lady Guitar Austin, which we love, by the best way, inform us about beginning the music college, and why the first concentrate on females?
Lady Guitar is without doubt one of the issues I’m most pleased with on the earth! It’s a complete guitar college and rock camp that focuses on girls twenty-one and up within the Austin space. I’m actually passionate in regards to the studying facet of issues, however I’m equally pleased with the group that’s been constructed there. I began it, nearly by chance, 13 years in the past, after having moved again to Austin from New York Metropolis throughout the holidays and being broke sufficient that my mobile phone bought reduce off. I assumed that throwing collectively a six-week guitar class would assist me get again on my toes, and when somebody steered making it only for girls, I ran with it. It seems we had a lot enjoyable no one needed to stop after the category was over, so we saved going—and going and going. We’ve by no means been “man-haters” or something overtly political; it simply seems that enjoying music with girls is de facto, actually enjoyable, and it makes for a distinct vibe—one which a number of individuals reply rather well to. It’s a tremendous group of individuals and one I’m very proud to be a part of. In the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, all courses and workshops have been switched to Zoom, and we now have individuals from everywhere in the US!

How is educating music to others completely different from making your personal? Have you ever discovered that educating has modified your perspective on the music-making course of?
Instructing has undoubtedly modified how I method my very own music! For one factor, I study a lot from the every day reinforcing of fundamentals that I do with my college students, but additionally, I get always impressed by them! Numerous tune concepts and melodies come from conversations with my college students. I usually work on one thing I’ve requested them to just do out of solidarity, and it’s at all times pushing me ahead.

When the pandemic hit and stay-at-home orders had been issued, you needed to change your construction to fulfill the calls for of your college students. How did you method the brand new format, and do you see this as a brand new method of reaching extra college students?
In some methods, the pandemic has achieved me an enormous favor! I’d by no means even heard of Zoom earlier than March of this yr, and now it’s the platform I exploit to show all my courses, workshops, and personal classes. I at the moment have college students in 11 completely different states (and one in Spain) and extra coming in on a regular basis, so I’ll undoubtedly be making changes as all of us begin getting again collectively in particular person to maintain my out-of-towners plugged in and rocking out. There’s a very good likelihood I wouldn’t have considered this by myself, and it’s been a extremely cool expertise to share Lady Guitar’s courses with girls from throughout!

You additionally take part in workshops with Terri Hendrix of Personal Your Personal Universe. How is that have?
I’ve been educating guitar workshops at Personal Your Personal Universe for a number of years now and actually love working with Terri. It’s a terrific house, a terrific group of individuals, and a pure match for my expertise and my laid-back method to educating. I’ve regarded as much as Terri for a very long time, so attending to work carefully together with her has been a whole lot of enjoyable.

Share with us a little bit of your musical background; whenever you first started enjoying a musical instrument, what formed your fashion of music, what music you grew up listening to.
I grew up enjoying classical piano and violin from age six and was in a fairly uptight spiritual surroundings the place I used to be completely closed off from something mainstream; it was all both classical or gospel. My little world took a severe pivot after I was about 13, and my older brother introduced dwelling a replica of Tom Petty’s Biggest Hits—it was like the entire world opened as much as me. I knew in some way I needed to play music—loud, enjoyable, empowering music that made me joyful. I didn’t abandon classical music fully, and gospel nonetheless works its method into my writing pretty usually, however loud guitars and matters that had been related to me took my focus after that. In highschool, my buddy and I made a decision in some way or different that we had been going to affix Weezer, or at the least marry into it, and guitars appeared like the plain path to creating {that a} actuality. I discovered a clunker and bought began, and that’s been an enormous focus of all the pieces after that. I’m nonetheless ready to listen to from Weezer, however I determine it’s not over but.

From what I’ve learn, you’re a multi-instrumentalist with a gentle spot for folks devices which might be featured in your music. Apart from guitar, what devices do you play? Do you could have a favourite?
Guitar is my favourite by far today, however I nonetheless have a gentle spot for violin/fiddle and piano, they usually’re an in depth second and third. I play a very good quantity of drums and bass in addition to harmonica and mandolin and dabble a bit with lap metal, banjo, and ukulele.

I do know you play Gibson guitars, and as a Gibson artist, what’s it about their guitars that make them your go-to?
When it got here time to put money into a extremely good guitar, a number of years after highschool, all I may discover myself drawn to had been ‘60s period Gibsons, and I ended up with a 1967 J-45. Years later, I’ve owned many, many, many Gibson guitars and nonetheless love them as a lot as ever. It’s the sound, it’s the aesthetic, it’s how they really feel in my arms; they only do it for me, and I’ve had a whole lot of enjoyable studying the model, the historical past, and the devices.

What are a number of the fashions you play?
My go-to’s are a fairly latest J-200 and J-45, however I additionally personal a 1980 Les Paul Customized, a 1964 F-25, a 1936 L-00, a ‘60s 12-string, a 1937 Lap Metal, a ‘60s Mandolin, and I usually educate with certainly one of their new G-45s. There are others that get traded out and in on occasion, however the above are my steadies, they usually deliver me tons of enjoyable and happiness!

You’ve gotten to work with GRAMMY award-winning producer Lloyd Maines up to now, and Don Richmond produced your most up-to-date album. Are there another producers you’d wish to work with sooner or later?
I’m engaged on a brand new file as we converse that Matt Smith is producing at 6 String Ranch in Austin, and evidently, I’m fairly excited for it! Past that, I haven’t picked out a bucket checklist of producers, however this makes me assume I ought to! I’ll admit to fantasizing about working with Benmont Tench or Mike Campbell of The Heartbreakers or T Bone Burnett, however that’s down the highway.

Working with Don Richmond at Howlin’ Canine Information was a extremely fantastic expertise, and I’d make extra music with him any time. Lloyd Maines performed pedal metal on my first file (These Unhealthy Habits, 2015), however that was an album I coproduced with Joe Carroll at Treehouse Productions in South Austin. I’ve been actually fortunate that each one of those guys have been a dream to work with. Right here’s to hoping my streak continues!

What about collaborations with different instrumentalists and vocalists?
I like collaborating and hope to do tons extra of it after this file. Once more, I haven’t made a bucket checklist of individuals I need to work with, however perhaps I’ll now!

You will have a really distinctive musical sound grounded in Americana music. What drew you to this fashion of music, and who had been a few of your musical influences?
After I was in school in San Marcos, Texas, I stumbled onto two radio stations that modified my life: Austin’s KGSR and KNBT out of New Braunfels. This was the primary time I’d heard Lucinda Williams, Kelly Willis, Neil Younger, and Willie Nelson. I liked the realness of the manufacturing with the earnestness of the songwriting, and that it got here from what appeared like “actual individuals” slightly than pop icon varieties. That type of accessibility made their music actually interesting to me, and I’ve been in love with it ever since.

Do you assume your sound has modified a very good deal because you began making music? In that case, what brought on it? If not, what has helped you keep your sound?
Nicely, I definitely hope my sound and my expertise have matured, however I nonetheless love the identical stuff. I’m much more educated now, so I do know the music I’ve studied within the intervening years has influenced me. I’m additionally so much much less judgmental of my work, and I like what I’m writing now higher than I did again then. I play much more electrical guitar now than I did in these early days, and that performs an element in my sound. It’s a louder present now, and I prefer it that method!

From my perspective, I really feel there’s a close-knit music group in Austinplainly nearly everybody I interview in Austin is linked in some way. Share with us your view of the Austin music scene.
Oh man, I may rattle in regards to the Austin music scene for a very long time; I’ve been right here for fifteen years and have been enjoying gigs right here for even a little bit bit longer. It’s been a extremely particular expertise, and I’ve liked attending to know and attending to play with so many fantastic individuals right here. As Austin has grown, a whole lot of the scene has unfold out to rural areas (or simply up and left Texas altogether), and it’s been unhappy to see a number of people transfer on; nonetheless, there’s nonetheless a bond, a familiarity, after I run into people out on the highway or on social media. Austin has a method of bringing individuals collectively, and it’s fairly particular for many of us which have been by means of it.

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