Portraits/Cover Photo/Band Photos © Erin Little
All Photos © Jackie Spencer Photography
What is Ladies Adventure Club?
The Ladies Adventure Club is a membership group of like-minded women in Maine who have come together with the purpose of adventuring in community. Many of our adventures are outside, but we do have a handful of inside adventures too.
How did Netflix show, Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries lead to the inspiration and creation of LAC?
While watching a particular Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries (a fantastic TV show about a feminist Australian detective in the 1920s) episode featuring an all-women race-car driving club with pool playing and general awesomeness, I realized that I wanted a club like that in Portland. First off, I’d love to be Miss Fisher, just as I’ve always wanted to be Nancy Drew and if I can’t be one of those fictitious women, I’d like to embody some of their strengths. I thought that there were possibly a good number of women in Maine who would like to find an avenue for adventuring and it turns out that there are.
Eleanor Roosevelt once stated, “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” Where would you be today without adventure in your life?
That’s a great quote. But I actually think that reaching out with fear is more powerful. If we’re afraid and we challenge ourselves, we grow in great ways. Without adventure, without pushing myself, my life would be staid and somewhat dull. With challenge and adventure, there’s an excitement and a bit of fear, which helps me feel vital. I’m reading a book now about the health benefits (mental and physical) of being outside and that resonates for me as well.
What is one challenge and one lesson you’ve learned from your experience as a founder?
A challenge would be finding ways to engage all of the women who have joined the LAC. There are many different interests and thinking up adventures that satisfy everyone is tricky. A lesson is that at the core people are kind and want others to succeed. In our small groups of adventurers, people are exceedingly supportive of one another.
Can you give us one invaluable resource that has helped you in the development and growth of Ladies Adventure Club?
The state of Maine is the most amazing resource. We have so many places to explore and adventures to embark upon – it feels limitless in a wonderful and exciting way. Additionally, communities of other adventurers have helped promote and support the LAC.
What are your top two LAC memories so far?
Our first LAC two-night overnight in March 2016 to West Branch Pond Camps is a fabulous memory. We were a group of 12 and we snowshoed up a mountain, played some very funny card games, ate extremely well and had a great adventure in the northern part of the state.
And most recently, we had a fabulous hike up Rumford Whitecap Mountain and then my 80 year-old friend Walter treated us to a BBQ at his camp afterward and for dessert served homemade blueberry pie made with fresh wild Maine blueberries.
What is your proudest personal accomplishment?
I recognize that this might sound like a cliché, but I count the birth of my children as a very powerful accomplishment.
What is your favorite inspirational/motivational quote?
I don’t have a favorite, but I read this last night and it resonated for me:
Annie Dillard, “How we spend our days is how we spend our lives.”
In one word, describe yourself:
What inspired you to become a Soul/R&B Musician/Hall of Fame Songwriter?
It stems from the most impactful man in my life, my father Phil. For those who have met him/heard him perform, it’s no surprise how much he’s influenced me. As his son, I grew up listening to one of the most soulful and tasteful singers in the history of the world ever (there’s absolutely no bias involved in that statement, haha!).
Some of the most influential situations I can remember weren’t when he was on stage though, it was when he and his buddies would sit around a living room with a couple acoustic guitars and trade songs, singing harmonies with each other, and just being in the music with so much effortless comfort and joy. It really made me fall in love with and understand the true power of music. He and my mom introduced me to so much incredible soul/funk music as well as so muchc beautiful songwriter/folk music too. At the same time, my sister was showering me with all of the 90’s hip hop and R&B I could get my hands on, which really grew out of the soul/funk movement. It became a really cool connection for my father and I too, as I would turn him onto folks like D’Angelo, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, and the neo-soul and soul/hip-hop movement, and he would turn me onto the folks they were sampling or inspired by. As I started to develop my own desire to make music, I was lucky enough to be surrounded by friends that were equally, if not more, passionate and experienced. I didn’t really start making music until I was 16 or 17, but once I did I serendipitously reconnected with my childhood best friends, Dan Boyden and Pete Genova (us three started Model Airplane a couple years later). Our high school/early adult parties were always surrounded and driven by music (I mean… they still are), and alongside our close friends Billy Libby, the Cambiata boys, and the community of incredibly talented and encouraging musicians that would circle through, it was first-class, one-way ticket to creativity. Billy was the first friend who’s songwriting truly blew me away and he quickly became one of my favorite songwriters ever (still is). As I expanded my community, hearing the limitless creativity of friends like Dave Gutter, Nigel Hall, Tony McNaboe, and Chris Moulton showed me that anyone had the potential of expressing themselves in ways that would and could resonate with people. This was the groundwork, and once I caught the bug, it’s been a nonstop affliction, ha! I’ve been really blessed to be surrounded by amazingly imaginative and passionate friends ever since, no matter where I’ve lived, so the desire to create has only grown, matured, and will continue to for as long as I can make noise.
What do you like to do outside of music that contributes to your innate musicality?
I thrive on and strive for experience, knowledge, and reflection. I love conversation, adventure, trying new things, and putting myself in situations conducive to growth. I have been blessed to be surrounded by outgoing, open-minded, passionate, empathetic friends and family who share my love of the human condition. I can’t get enough of the path toward understanding the human condition within such a crazy and ever-changing world. On the other side, I love secluded studying of the same things. I love exploring the lineage of music, musicians, and the cultural impacts of the writing and reaction to the music, as well as reading, learning new skills, and pushing myself to be more of an independent, well-rounded human. Without the desire to grow as a person, you can’t grow as a musician/songwriter. I’m learning to meditate, increasing my exercise, and finding routines that allow me to stay in touch with myself and create a better body/mind/spirit relationship, as well as learning new ways to be creative in areas outside of music – cooking, building, problem-solving, etc. It’s always a process, and that’s really exciting to me because it means that there’s no limit to what we can do or achieve.
What are one challenge and one lesson you’ve learned from your journey as a musician?
This is not an easy lifestyle, and you sure don’t get into it for comfort, stability, or routine. But, in a sense, that’s what makes it even more rewarding. There are so many small achievements that, as long as you keep in touch with yourself and stay realistically positive along your journey, those achievements can encourage the desire to keep you constantly reaching for your ever-growing potential. When you’re not in your best state of mind, however, it can be spiritually crushing. I think that’s where the biggest challenge comes in. When you’re doing something so vulnerable and self-exposing, it’s easy to feel not only like a failure when it’s not working, but like an imposter when it is working. It’s been interesting to start arriving into a place where my music is being heard by more people, when I see articles written about me, and starting to create relationships with musicians that have inspired me for years. It’s difficult not to ask myself, “why do they even want me here?” or tell myself “I don’t belong here with these people, I’m not on their level” when I’m not feeling confident or the best version of myself. It’s been really important to check in with myself about that, and analyze what parts of myself allow me to sink into that state of being. I guess one lesson that I’ve learned stems from the reaction to that challenge. I’ve been able to slowly get myself to a point where I take that questioning and use it as inspiration to keep growing. To use my ears and my intuition to grow that much more. To take advantage of the opportunity to be around these incredible musicians/people and absorb the genius that I see in them. To ask questions about their process, listen to the way they approach their own music/lives, and do my best to take those ideas/concepts/techniques and see how they apply to my own journey and voice. No matter what we do, no matter who we are, we are a superbly screwed up and stew of our influences and experiences. There’s no use in questioning why I’m where I am… I am where I am, so what am I going to do about it, so it’s really about asking myself, how can I learn the most from my present in order to best shape my future?
What are your top two LD barefoot, on-stage moments?
Best Barefoot On-Stage Moment: My favorite barefoot on-stage moment would have to be the first time I played at Red Rocks in July 2016 – one of the most legendary outdoor venues in the country, if not the world, built in the side of the mountains in Colorado that holds 10,000 people. Not only was it my first time ever seeing the venue, but it was also my first time playing for my new band (The Motet)’s hometown fans. It was a sold out show and may have been the most momentous show of my life. It flew by in an instant, but I will always remember the moment I came out, introduced myself to my new fan family, and was able to experience something so rare and inspiring.
Worst Barefoot On-Stage Moment: This came maybe a month before the aforementioned Red Rocks show at an amazing festival called SummerCamp in Illinois. At this point, this was the largest crowd I had ever played to, around 13,000 or so. We had a crazy weekend already, traveling to 4 different states in 3 days with very little, if any, sleep along the way. We were also playing right before George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic. We had our usual 30-minute festival changeover to get the band before us off, and us on and sound-checked, and we had 4 cameras ready to record our first couple songs for some high quality live-show media for the band. We had to hurry because we were running a few minutes behind, so I ran backstage, kicked my shoes off and came back out to get things started. As I hustled to the front, spread my arms wide, and welcomed the seemingly never-ending crowd with 2 giant cameras right in front of me, a fire shot through my entire body from the ground up. It turns out, a black stage absorbs the scalding summer sun quite well, and on this 95 degree day when the sun was setting directly on the stage, that stage decided to share all of that heat with the soles of my bare feet. Needless to say, my feet have never moved so quickly, and never hurt so much. There were blistered burns and plenty of painful traveling experiences in the following days, but the show went really well despite it, and I even got summoned by George Clinton himself so he could express how much he dug our set.
If you could write one song for any brand, what brand would you choose?
American Roots. My not-by-blood brother and sister, Ben Waxman and Whitney Reynolds, are working nonstop to create a fully American-made, American-sourced, American-worked line of clothing. They have created programs and possibilities to give members of the Maine community a chance the thrive and support themselves, their families, and their communities. It’s a company built atop a foundation of love and desire for good, and I will support them and spread the word about them and their message to any and all. Our country’s business owners could learn so much from them.
What is your favorite inspirational/motivational quote?
Intelligence is Intuitive,
You needn’t learn to love,
Unless you’ve been taught
to fear and hate.
-Saul Williams, poet
In one word, describe yourself:
How many of you are googling 'What is Gallimaufry' right now? Answer is HERE ;)
What is Riverbend Yoga?
Riverbend Yoga is a midsized, women owned and operated yoga and meditation studio in Yarmouth, Maine. We focus on the breathe and body connection while practicing traditional asana/yoga postures. Our class options range from beginner to advanced flow, meditation, yin, power yoga, and everything in between. We are conveniently located right off exit 15 on Route 1 in Yarmouth, just 12 minutes north of Portland.
What inspired you to become the Studio Manager of Riverbend?
I was inspired to become a yoga teacher because of the many healing benefits of the practice, physical, emotional, spiritual, even mental. I fell into the management position due to drive and determination and my passion to share this practice with my community. My business partner and I work very closely to make yoga accessible to everyone.
What is one challenge and one lesson you’ve learned from your experience as Studio Manager? The major challenge would be facing the fact that I can not please everyone. This is NY yoga, daily. As an empath, I am always in others shoes and wanting to cater to their needs. I suppose one lesson I have learned through yoga but also through my position running Riverbend, would be to stop and think before reacting/responding.
What are your top 2 favorite Riverbend memories?
I remember the very first class I taught at Riverbend and the nerves hitting every inch of my body. Since then, the space has grown into a sanctuary and support and healing for me. I am looking forward to building new memories over the years.
What is your favorite inspirational/quote?
"Before you speak, ask yourself: Is it Kind? Is it Honest? Is it Necessary?"
In one word, describe yourself:
What inspired you to become a writer?
I guess it’s always been in my blood since I was young. I’ve always had an appreciation for the power of the written word.
At what point did you discover your passion for music and writing would become a career path?
During college I was a DJ at my school’s radio station and also a writer at the school newspaper so it really started then. Mostly through the college radio years is my when I first started getting into interviewing musicians. I had the chance to interview Sarah McLachlan when we were both essentially a couple of kids and Indigo Girls way back when. Then when I moved to Portland in the mid 90s I started writing for a now defunct monthly paper pretty much all about music. I also wrote for a number of years for a national magazine, often about music.
I started writing my weekly Face the Music column 13 years ago and have been fulltime at Maine Today/The Press Herald for a little over six years.
What do you do outside of work that directly impacts your career as a writer?
I go to a lot of shows, from small local ones to huge concerts because that’s one of my absolute favorite things; the live music experience. I also listen to a ton of music all the time. For the past two years or so I’ve been host of the local music show Music from 207 on WCLZ which also keeps me learning about new music in Maine. I also recently launched a music blog called AimselontheRecord.com and am writing about some of my travel experiences including a trip in April to see Brandi Carlile at Ryman Auditorium and a recent trip to Gillette Stadium in MA to see U2. I also follow a lot of my favorite acts on various social media platforms which helps me stay up-to-date with what’s happening. All these things feed into each other. I don’t get enough sleep but most of the time it’s worth it.
What are one challenge and one lesson you've learned throughout your career?
A huge challenge is to cut myself some slack. I’m by far my own worst enemy and it’s an ongoing battle. I doubt myself and my ability to write pretty much daily. One lesson I’ve learned is that there’s no substitution for properly preparing for an interview. I pride myself on being an excellent interviewer and coming up with questions that will make for an interesting read for people.
What's your favorite story you've written?
I’ve been at this for a while so it’s hard to pick but I think one of the best interviews I’ve ever done was with M.I.A. because we really got into things. I had good questions and she was really open about things. Here’s the link:
Also, one of my favorite singers is Paula Cole. I’ve interviewed her a number of times through the years and she’s always so great to talk to; very kind and open. Here’s the most recent story:
If you could write about any musician in the world, who would it be and why?
I’m interpreting this as if I could interview any musician in the world. The answer is David Bowie. Of course that will never happen but he would have been the one. And if I could invent a time machine I would like to visit the 60s and have a chat with Judy Garland.
Can you suggest one "secret" app you love that helps with your writing?
In one word, describe yourself: