Women's Showcase

DK & the Joy Machine

Mid-East Mountain Dulcimer champion, “DK“ also won first place on “The Joy Machine” in the Great Trails Dulcimer contest in her 20s. As a young teen, she made her first dulcimer out of cardboard, from a kit, with fret wires out of bent nails. Once she got her hands on her first wood dulcimer (with real fret wires), she gave up guitar to focus exclusively on the instrument that stole her heart. “The dulcimer is both sweet and mournful, and unique in the West (other than the hurdy gurdy) as a drone instrument. So many song writers play guitar---I was drawn to something different. I still am.”

Since she was a young child, she’d written and sung her own songs; as a teen, she wrote for guitar; now, she began to write original, contemporary songs and tunes for dulcimer. For eight years, while living in Dublin, Ireland, she adopted Irish tunes for dulcimer, playing in trad sessions, and also performing traditional American material on the stage, including with Hank Halfhead and the Rambling Turkeys. After returning to the US and winning first place in several dulcimer contests, she went on hiatus for 18 years. During this time, she completed a PhD in cultural studies, worked as a freelance writer (publishing in Sojourner, The Sun magazine, and Harvard Gay and Lesbian Review, among others) as well as working as a contributing writer for a Village-Voice owned alternative weekly. She also wrote poetry and award-winning fiction, with her work appearing in Lesbian Short Fiction, F/M (Ireland), and the Cleis Press anthology, Dykes Dream Home. She also co-wrote a non-fiction book, Connecting across Differences (now in its second edition) and authored a graphic novel book of vignettes, Urban Empathy, illustrated by comic book artist Mark Badger. During this time she also worked as a union organizer (for the National Writers Union/UAW local 1981) and founded a successful non-profit in her native NYC that teaches peace-making, facilitation and conflict resolution skills.

After being told by her cat (via a cat whisperer) that she should sing more and a statue of five Ganeshas miraculously appeared in her home via an Indian holy man---each playing an instrument, DK took this (and other signs, such as breaking up with her girlfriend and seeing Amy Ray live in concert for the first time) as divine intervention and began singing and playing again, writing dynamic new material and performing out on dulcimer since April, 2012. Since then, she has been a featured performer at venues and arts centers in Brooklyn, as well as entertaining the masses at subway platforms and inspiring dancers at weddings. In December, she is planning to perform at a benefit for the Lesbian History Archives in Paris.

Heather Eatman

Heather Eatman was born in Jacksonville, East Texas, a town so small, as Heather describes it, "the phone book is only a quarter-inch thick". She was a quiet, studious kid with an active imagination. Her dad taught drama at the local college and Heather eagerly absorbed the
world of magic he brought into the house.
Eventually, the Eatmans moved on to Ann Arbor for awhile and finally ended up in Johnstown, PA. The teen-aged new kid in town had trouble fitting in and her natural shyness pushed her further to the margins.
At seventeen she made the huge leap of moving to New York City, entering the Parsons School of Design and supporting herself with several simultaneous part-time jobs. In New York she began the long journey of becoming a performer. "I spent many years staring at the tops of my sneakers," she recalls. Heather explains her stimulus into songwriting as normal teen rebellion. Her father's taste in music ran to Stephen Sondheim. Rock music was an anathema. So naturally Heather had to try it. She describes the influences that got her going in the early '80s as "anachronistic" -- bands such as the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, who led her to discover seminal blues artists like Elmore James and Robert Johnson. Cinematic songwriters Tom Waits and Rickie Lee Jones also struck a nerve, clearly making a mark on Heather's rich storytelling style.
After college, Heather started booking herself into local clubs and landed a "day job" at the New York Daily News where she still works as a graphic artist. Oh Boy Records' A&R rep Tom Lewis caught one of these early gigs and discerned a very special talent in the singer/songwriter who was still at the self-described "early, early stages." Heather had made up a very rough demo tape, just for booking gigs, but hadn't even begun to consider the wider world of recording contracts, national tours and tv appearances. She was stylistically undefined, but had amassed a cache of about 50 solid songs with new music pouring out of her at an impressive rate. She signed to Oh Boy in 1993 and spent the next two years readying her debut album MASCARA FALLS. It was "a massive learning experience."
The album was produced by Roger Moutenot, who also handles producer duties on the new release. Heather toured the US, opening for Oh Boy owner John Prine and appearing at such illustrious venues as the Fillmore and the Ryman Auditorium. She landed a booking on The Conan O'Brien Show. Robert Hilburn, pop critic for the Los Angeles Times, praised her debut: "...there is a sizeable portion of Eatman originality in her music, and it will be interesting to see how she expands on that freshness." Heather treated complex people with compassion, drawing well-constructed lyrical portraits over plain-spoken tunes. Her stage performances reiterated the album's atmosphere -- simply dressed, armed only with an achingly expressive face and clean musical accompaniment, she allowed her characters to speak for themselves.
Critics also warmed to her subsequent release, CANDY & DIRT (1999), which
Heather released on her own imprint Impossible Records. The New Yorker Magazine described her as a "...guitar-slinging, spiky-haired New York City transplant fomr Jacksonville, Texas with a wispy, smoky voice and a serious talent for writing compelling songs." Billboard, Stereo Review, Interview, and Request were but a sample of other publications weighing in on the charm of her sophomore project.
In 2000 Heather teamed with manager Mike Maska and together they brought
her new project, REAL, to Nashville's Eminent Records. Mike encouraged Heather to experiment with co-writing and introduced her to songwriter Bruce Brody. Heather says she didn't want to seem difficult, but inside she felt herself to be a loner who couldn't share her work with a collaborator. "I was as shocked as anybody," she says, "that we immediately wrote a really great song!" Heather penned two of the album's tracks with Brody and also included her first cover, the Willie Dixon tune "Spoonful."
REAL represents a breakthrough on many levels to Heather. As a songwriter she feels more focused on musiciality and melody; she's balanced her sharply-drawn tales of outsiders with unabashed love songs; and she's reached the point in her career when she can fully trust her own artistic instincts. She's excited by this new departure from second-guessing and self-criticism. "You can't know the future," she says, "but you can have faith -- wonderful things can happen."

Paulina Perlwitz

Holly & Evan

Holly & Evan ARE the blues. Both from long, rich musical backgrounds, Holly Taormina and Evan Conway have updated the tradition of the Barrelhouse, with their unique style. Together, they showcase a wide range of original and cover material, in the styles of Blues, Jazz, and Soul. The originals, which are often featured on: WRPI 91.5, WVCR 88.3, WEXT 97.7, WCDB 90.9, WEQX 102.7, WTBR 89.7, WBCR 97.7lp and the Crumbs Cafe' at Crumbs.net radio show; are catchy, with a lot of personality, and will appeal to audiences everywhere!



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