The Local Music Project in Erie County, Penna.

I’m honored to be included and featured prominently in the Blasco Library’s Local Music History Window Display located in my hometown, Erie, Pennsylvania. It’s deeply meaningful to be recognized for my music and documented by such a highly prestigious and fundamental institution as our library system.

Photo by Erin McCandless at the Blasco Library in Erie, Penna. Featured photo also by Erin McCandless.

Here’s a little about the project from Blasco Library clerk, Jessica Makowski:

“Blasco’s Local Music Display is located near our Heritage Room, and it celebrates the library’s Local Music Project as well as Erie’s Local Music history. The display will be viewable during October, November, and December of 2021.

[…] Along with the window display, we are also working on creating what we at the library call a vertical file, for the local music topic. Traditionally, a vertical file is a physical file in a metal file cabinet located in the Heritage room at Blasco that contains newspaper clippings of anything to do with the related topic, usually coming from (but not limited to) the local newspaper. This is something the general public can study(and/or make photo copies of its contents) in the Heritage room. […] In addition to using the interview form about your experiences with local music here in Erie for our window display, we are going to save them, probably to a flash drive, and include them as part of the local music vertical file.”

Here is the full text of my interview for the Local Music Project verticle file at the Erie County Blasco Library.

What part do you play in Erie’s local music history (past or present?//musician? Promoter? Venue owner?..etc)?

I would say I started out in the scene as a fan and, with the encouragement of my friends in local bands, I became a singer-songwriter myself. John Yochim of Erie band Pegasus Unicorn (among others) taught me guitar fundamentals. Bob Jensen of Basement Transmissions helped me write and produce my first original song and even accompanied me during my first performance of aforementioned song at the Edinboro Celebration of Excellence in 2009. Matt Boland of The Dirty Pickles always insisted I attend his open mics and perform my music live. My life would look very different without the love and support I received from the people making music in the Erie scene. And I love them whole-heartedly. 
What does music mean to you?

Music is the only thing that’s been there for me when I feel most alone in life. 
Please share one or two (or more) of your favorite musical memories from Erie, Pa:

I just played PACA [LiVE!] this summer, Sunday July 25, 2021. It was my first show with an in-person audience since the start of the COVID 19 pandemic. I was super excited to find a bunch of my friends had driven to Erie from Pittsburgh to see my show in real life! 

Also especially exciting was sharing my PACA [LiVE!] set with my boyfriend, Dang Anohen from the New York City rock band, Sallies. We both live in Brooklyn and booked the show as part of our trip to Pennsylvania visiting my family. I love that I’m able to continue creating memorable live events in my hometown! 
Is there anyone we should know about (past or present) that has had an impact on Erie due to their part in Erie’s local music history?
Dave Schroeder (Digg !t Dave) is one of my best friends in the whole world and has been a pivotal member of the PACA Theater on State Street since 2013. He’s also a drummer and has played in a handful of local bands including Matty B And The Dirty Pickles. Currently, he books and produces PACA [LiVE!] – the theater’s response to the COVID pandemic, which is about to hit 50 consecutive livestream concerts without missing a single Sunday (although, when I verified this information with him, Dave informed me that two of those broadcasts were reruns!). 

Do you have a favorite Erie venue ( past or present)?
My favorite venue as of 2021 would have to be the PACA Theater on State Street. I remember when it was still just a dream in Mark Tanenbaum’s head and he was showing me blueprints of the 1505 building while we were chatting in Perry Square. It’s been truly amazing to watch a cultural center grow and expand from it’s prenatal stages. I’m eternally grateful for my strong friendships in the Erie music community. 

My favorite venue from the past is The Beer Mug on Liberty Ave., which has since been torn down. That joint had zero pretension and was 100% dive bar. Bands could find the booking calendar and just write their name on the date they wanted. When I’m told to imagine my “happy place,” I legit always thought of standing in the back of The Beer Mug. RIP. 
What is your favorite genre and what do you love about it? 
Grunge – it’s raw and real and about as close as I can get to the style of music I think I’m creating. I’m not really sure what kind of music I make. I’m not going for anything specific. I’m just doing what feels right. 
Do you have anything else you’d like to share regarding your thoughts, feelings, memories, etc about Erie’s local music history?

Back in the day, when I was in high school in the late 90s and early 2000s, kids under 21 were able to attend shows in bars between the hours of 4pm and 8pm. I remember seeing shows at State Street Tavern and Sherlocks when I was 13 years old. I think it’s a great creative and real-world social outlet for kids that I never see these days. I’m not even sure if it’s legal anymore!