Sad Girl Night 5/26/19 ft: Joanna Barbera, V Blackburn, Rochelle Riser, and Allie Marshall
At first, each Sad Girl Night feels a bit like a party.
Guests arriving are greeted with a beverage and cookies to make them feel at home; encouraged to make themselves comfortable on one of several couches or chairs intermingled throughout the room. The Sad Girl Music team walks around to introduce ourselves and get to know all the wonderful humans who have chosen to spend their Sunday evening at H.O.M.E. with us. It’s a casual, no-pressure and friendly opening to a beautiful night of empowerment and vulnerability.
This Sad Girl Night was no different. With over 50 people there for the beginning of the night, Elisabeth Beckwitt stepped onto the stage with words of encouragement and love; thanking you, the Goddesses and allies of Nashville, for joining us and for being a part of the Sad Girl Music community.
Singer-songwriter Allie Marshall began the night with a question. “Are you ready for some sad songs?” Following the warning, she dove into a slow ballad about learning to love again; something every Sad Girl does at some point or another. Marshall captivated the room. As we looked around during her set, no phones were texting, no voices were murmuring...she had everyone silently in awe. Her band was perfectly in sync, never missing a note or accent; seemingly practiced and at ease matching her dynamics. With a voice like a siren and background vocals perfectly blended with her own, it was a lovely start to a lovely evening.
Our next performer was folk/pop singer-songwriter Rochelle Riser. She began her set with perhaps one of the most relatable topics in this day and age. It was called “You and Me and TV,” and it was about having to share your significant other with something else. It was perfectly done. It had a bit of comedy in the name, but as she sang the lyrics in a soft and patient manner, we all realized that we had been there and really zeroed in on her words. Throughout the entirety of her set, Riser had a friendly and smiling stage presence. Her music was soothing, with storytelling lyrics and bright melodies. We all fell in love with her up through her very last song introduced with: “Sometimes I don’t know where I end and someone else begins, but no matter where you stand, your heart belongs to you. People say ‘oh, he stole my heart,’ but no, he didn’t. Your heart belongs in your body, beating until the day you die. This song is called Your Heart is Your Own Machine.”
V Blackburn was so fun! Her sarcastic and bantering stage presence made us all hang onto every word as she told stories before each song to set the scene and make everyone laugh. Beginning with a bluesy bass line; Blackburn infused a bit of rock’n’roll into the night. It wasn’t long before she had all our feet tapping heads nodding. Reminiscent of Grace Potter, she ignited our attention with lyrics like: “Daddy’s little princess is now a heartless queen,” and “I used to dream I would never fall apart, while bleeding from a heavy used heart.” Her songs were fire, as were her stories of stalking people until they became her friends and her love of Al Roker. V Blackburn embodies the fierce side of Sad Girl Music which we all love.
Ending the night was another folk singer-songwriter dream, Joanna Barbera. Taking the stage with her Gibson, backed by a violin and upright bass, her soft voice was the perfect end to a stellar night of music and community. Her first song was gentle and forgiving as she sang the lyrics “Well, could you love me maybe, just the way I am?” We loved her openness on stage; holding nothing back in her music or story-telling. A highlight of the night was her asking; “Who here has felt as though they were too old to try something new?” After hands went up all over the audience, she empowered us all. Barbera didn’t play her first show until she was twenty-six, or release her first album until she was twenty-nine. Now, at forty, she finds herself touring with Deer Tick and hearing one of her songs on Criminal Minds. At the end of this anecdote, she tells us all to “Go out there and use what the Goddess gave you!” It was an incredible reminder of our inner strength and followed by the perfect song to reinforce that idea.
To put it simply, by the end of the night everyone was happy. We were all happy to be reinvigorated by music and love and thoughtful energy. It seemed that everyone in attendance decided to live in the spirit of Sad Girl Night; allowing themselves a moment of vulnerability to feed their inner strength. Thank you to Joanna Barbera, Allie Marshall, Rochelle Riser and V Blackburn for sharing your light and breathing life into us. It should be enough to get us through to the next Sad Girl Night on June 23rd! We love our Sad Girl Night alumni!
If you attended this event and/or would like to help support female musicians in Nashville and beyond, please consider giving back to the Sad Girl Music community. Check out our donations page for details! We’re excited to create more opportunities for women in music and continue building a community that is empowered to be vulnerable and practice self-love. You are appreciated and you are loved. <3
written by: Christine Harazim