Friday, July 20, 2018

A Chapter of Our Lives

I have never been more excited to put out an album until Into Our Own came together.  This album it the most meaningful one my sisters and I have ever created.  This all original album is a chunk out of my life, and it comes from a true and new grasp on it.  We are so different from who we were when we started this band; our music has evolved, our look has changed and each one of us has grown into a unique and different woman.  I can hear us all shine through in our own way on this CD, and I think it gives a great variety of songs. Each of us has our own flavor of writing and has had our own experience growing into adulthood.  This album is a collaboration of our life lessons and experiences the last 2 years.

The first successful sister-songwriting-session began about 2 years ago when Georgia and I set up on my bed in my bedroom; with snacks, a ukulele and my laptop at hand we started with an idea.  G wanted my help with the next few verses and a chorus. Once we were settled, she let out a sigh, strummed out a chord progression gently on her uke and sang her verse for me. I immediately related to the lyrics and had some ideas of my own.  I typed a few lines on my laptop and then back spaced… and typed a little more… then deleted the whole thing. I was so self conscious I couldn't bare to share what I had. I kept typing and deleting. Eventually Georgia got just a bit frustrated with me, “girl! Stop backspacing and show me what you have!” she insisted.   I was scared, hiding behind my laptop. I guess I believed what I wrote wouldn’t be good enough. I reminded myself: this was my sister in front of me and she has always been accepting and supportive. I tried to gather the courage to say out loud what I had on the page, but instead I flipped my laptop around to face her. Excited eyes skimmed the page and she cracked a smile “YES!”  and she began to strum her uke again and played it out. Hearing the lyrics was almost cringe worthy for me the first time, but the smile on Georgia's face told me to relax. We didn't just crank out an entire song one verse after another though. Me and G ended up having a long conversation about what this song was for each of us, what we wanted to say and how we wanted to say it. “Sunny rain” was our first love song and that made us both squirm a bit.  Writing the song together and pushing through our discomfort however, made us grow as song writers and as sisters. Once we started collaborating our strengths together and really opening up to one another the songs just started to flow for us and we had enough originals for an album before we knew it.

 I set a goal for myself to fall in love with this album and every part I had in making it.  Every song on this album has meaning to me and I wanted that to shine through. In past experiences recording I always felt I just had no emotion and no real feelings coming through when I heard the final product.  I wanted to be able to do more than record a song we play. I wanted to be able to go back, and by the sound of my voice, remember what it felt like to be in that moment, and for the listener, I wanted to be able to pull them in and make them relate so that they could have a moment there too.  I can perform in front of a room full of people but recording an album is what gives me nerves. So before I left my bedroom that April morning to go to the studio, I got up, I stretched out and settled my mind with some yoga. I wanted to be prepped for the mental challenge recording brings me; sometimes it’s hard to focus in on what a song is about when you are singing the same line over and over again, sometimes I psych myself out and end up forgetting lyrics or jumbling words. So I put myself in a good headspace and headed out to the studio.
The first song we recorded was “Moving Up”, it was almost symbolic to me that we started there.  “Moving Up” is one me and Georgia wrote together in a sister songwriting session. I was getting ready to move out of my parents house at the time and had been really reflecting on how far I had come over the past 2 years.  I made a promise to myself 2 years ago to be nicer to me, to nurture self respect and overcome what was keeping me down, and ultimately it was the way I was treating myself. Needless to say 2 years ago I would not have been waking up and doing yoga before starting my day and I would not have had the courage to write all of the songs I did.    Larry set up my mic and closed the door to my little room, I put on my headphones and sang a little bit for him to get set up on his end. When he was all ready to record Georgia came on my headphones and with all of her sunny enthusiasm said “YOU ROCK KJ! And you got this!....You’re awesome!” During this time of growth for me, Georgia had been(still is) one of my number one cheerleaders.  Always there to encourage me, to build me up, and to push me out of my comfort zone when I need it. I zoned in and did a few takes, and I have to say I honestly had a few (happy) tears in there. When I sang the last verse and the take ended Georgia came over my headphones again and said “it’s like I can hear the smile in your voice there at the end”. Mission accomplished.

Years ago after news of a canceled show my mom told me to play every show like it is the last one, because someday, it will be.  When we started to put this CD into the works I had it in my head that this would be the last CD we made, I convinced myself I couldn’t be in a band and support myself enough to move out.  I convinced myself that this was the last time I would record. The thought of it being the last was what drove me to put so much love into it. I learned a lot making this album, the most important thing that I learned is that this won’t be the last, it is simply the beginning.  A CD is a chapter of our lives. When all of these songs were coming together, we were learning, making mistakes, experiencing joy and pain. With this chapter closed, its time for us to share it with you, and in the meantime, we are learning more lessons.


A big thanks to everyone who helped us bring this album together and had a piece in making it!  I will be doing one more blog about this CD, talking about different songs on the album and what Georgia has to say as well! Stay tuned!

Georgia and Larry in the studio

Fun Fact:  I had the hiccups while I recorded my kazoo solos and I really think it made them better

This was the original album cover before mom worked her photoshop magic to get the sock out.  We were just goofing around while she was taking some test shots and this ended up being the best picture of G, and if you didn't know it is pretty difficult to get a serious picture of her.
recording vocals!

Adventures with G Rae
Me and G at the studio celebrating whatever song we had just finished

Monday, March 5, 2018


I’m not sure what the average sister dynamic is, but my younger sisters have not always been my very best friends.  At 13 years old, I was an angst-filled-drama-queen without a cause,  Georgia(10) was a goofball, only really interested in playing her fiddle and putting a smile on your face, and Quin(9), “The Stinker” with an “anything you can do I can do better” attitude.  I never totally despised them, but they were definitely not “cool”.  Now, my sisters are my best friends. Even though they are younger, I have learned a lot from them.  We were, and still are, so different from one another but music gave us common ground that we built upon together.  As the band fell into place and music fell into our lives more prominently, the bond between my younger sisters and I was cultivated into a unique sister-ship that I could never trade for anything in the world.
 I started in this band with my sisters hoping that we would be The Next Big Thing, what little girl doesn't long to be famous?  The more I played with my sisters the more that appetite for “fame” faded away, and a genuine hunger for what I was singing and helping create flooded in.   I don’t need to be famous or have a hit on the radio to be happy with what I have done with my music now.  I want people to listen to the music my sisters and I have formed together with open ears.  I want it to spark a feeling inside or put a smile on a face, or maybe make them think, I want people to relate.
If you didn’t know it already, becoming an adult is one wild ride.  Change is constant and
I know it is inevitable that things won’t be this way forever.  I love playing music and I will always sing and play with my sisters, but it will soon be time for me to spread my wings and move out, so  while I work on making more time for my career as a hairstylist, Georgia is working on making music into hers.  If you follow along with us on facebook you would note that she has been taking on a lot of solo-loop-pedal gigs.(you should go see her on March 10th!)  She is doing everything from booking and promoting to creating the art that goes on her posters.  If anyone has the drive and passion to make a living out of music, it’s G.   Quin, being the jack-of-all-trades, has decided to take the cosmetology program this year and give me a run for my money.  When she tries something new there is a confidence about her that is undeniable, that’s why she can be good at whatever she wants(eye-roll), once she has her license for hair she plans to continue on with massage therapy.
The years my sisters and I have practiced, performed, recorded and written together are the best of memories I have made.  So many summers at music festivals, autumns playing pumpkin patches, and winters recording a CD.  We experienced a chunk of our lives together that no one else will ever really understand completely.  I am so grateful for the bond that not only held together, but grew stronger in some of the most testing times in my life.  This Valentines day marked us 7 years playing gigs as a band together.  I honestly cannot believe 7 years has passed,  I feel like just yesterday we were on our “Geriatric Tour”.  We’ve played nursing homes, bars, block parties, cat funerals, theaters, news stations, farmers markets and music festivals.  Our music has evolved and our writing has flourished and matured with life experience.  As we go into the studio for an album of all original songs it feels like I blinked and we are musicians now, we are storytellers now, we are women now.  I am so glad I got to experience so many special moments with my sisters, I am so proud of them both, and I am so excited to get to share these songs.  I feel that the lyrics and music embody the bond between us and share the lessons we have learned in these past few years of our lives.  I can’t help but feel a new chapter is ready to unfold for us all and I can feel that we have many more beautiful memories to make ahead.

Always remember, there was nothing worth sharing
Like the love that let us share our name”  -The Avett Brothers

*Over the next few weeks expect some shorter blogs about our time in the studio together*

<3 To my little sisters-  I love you so much happy Sistertines Day and happy Bandaversery!


If you are looking for tickets to Georgia Raes CD party you can find them here! →…/georgia-rae-cd-release-party/

I highly recommend going

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Sisters (pictures)

Girl Power
Right after Quin was surprised with a piano... I look pretty confused  
The last first day of school with all 5 sisters
Our first bar show ever haha

one of the last shows from our first ever "tour" together

we love our converse

Georgia and Quins first homecoming together
Quin goes to prom

when we all went to Colorado for the first time

Backstage at the Pabst Theater... exited to say the least

cant remember where we were headed home from here, I do remember it being one of the best trips we all took together though


The most recent picture wit all 5 of us togher

Thursday, March 30, 2017

A Tribute to our Dad

On Friday afternoon when we pull out of the driveway life will begin to feel normal again.  Winter always makes me feel strange, probably because I’m locked inside the house, short dark days, less traveling and only a gig here or there.  No one is having a music festival in the cold mid-west winter.  March and April are when the we usually start to get busy again.  This year we are starting off with a trip to Duluth, hometown of Bob Dylan.  On our way up we are stopping to play a gig at a bar called the Mouse Trap. I have a feeling The Mouse Trap could be a really awesome show. We really don’t really play too many bars, but when we do, the crowd is always fun. When we get to Duluth we will be playing the Cabin Fever Festival.  As the weather gets warmer and the snow melts (and then snows again and melts again), the calendar starts to fill up, and the winter blues fade away with every show on the books.  We are so lucky to start this new season of traveling off to a very comfortable start, all thanks to our amazing dad.

      After a show, a lot of people will ask us about our dad.  The question is usually about if he plays or if he taught us, and the answer is no.  The reaction when I say no is usually a bit shocked, but let me explain.  Our mom is the one who decided to put a fiddle in Georgia's hands, and the one who got me and Quin singing; my dad however, plays a key role in our ability to share our music, travel so freely and to have the opportunities we do.  Though the band supports all of its own expenses like our lessons, travel, instrument repairs, show clothes, food on the road, etc., we would never be able to support our family. Without dad, there would be no opportunity for a family band. Giving an exceptional example of work ethic for me and my sisters to look up to, he has always provided for his large family, outnumbered by 6 women.
My dad is a concrete mason for the Local 502 Union, he has been a union member for 34 years and a hard worker for as long as I remember. Every day at 5 am he gets up, drives 1 or 2 hours to the job, gets on his hands and knees and builds the roads you drive on, or the high rise in Chicago.  Even as a kid I remember him leaving most times before the sun came up, and he would get home just before dinner.  As the door thud closed behind him little splats of dried concrete would shake from his layers of clothing and tiny concrete pebbles hit his lunch box on the way to the tile floor.  My mom was constantly sweeping away the remnants of a long and hard days work that he carried home with him.  Growing up, I have seen my dad come home in pain, cramps from working in the hot weather or dusty and exhausted from working overnights at O’hare airport.  Long hours of difficult work put wear and tear on his body, all  for his family, and the older I get, the more I learn and appreciate him.
If he’s not working you will find my dad standing in the audience, arms crossed, bobbing along to the music with a priceless grin on his face.  Before the show he helps set up, loads and unloads the car for us, makes mid-show runs to get forgotten capos, kazoos, fiddle bows and  banjo picks. Unconditional support, weather he is in the audience or not.  A lot of times (this weekend for example) while my sisters and I pack up for a road trip to play, my dad stays home to work.  If he can make it to the show, he does.  One time, he worked on a Saturday, drove to Indiana after work, arrived at our camp site at 2 am, slept in a tent, and then was up and 10 am to see us play our set and he was back to work on Monday.
My dad is a hard working man, and my sisters and I are so thankful for him. In the past years our family has gone through some tough times financially, when the economy crashed there was less construction and less work to go around.  From working 6 days a week to around 2 or 3, it took a hit on our family and I can’t imagine the pressure and stress that put on my parents, but they did what they had to do to put food on the table and they always made sure the mortgage was paid.  They made it work, and that isn’t easy (or cheap) with 5 girls.  We got rid of TV to save some money, started the band to pay for our own lessons.  It brought us close as a family and it’s pretty much how to band got formed.  Our family made it through the financial storm, and work in the last few years for my dad, I would say, is much better.  So upon paying off our red mini van, my dad, so selflessly, bought the band a 2015 Ford Transit van. Comfortable, reliable, safe and spacious enough for all of our instruments and equipment. Instead of being without a second car payment for a while, he committed to a new one so the band had something to travel in.  On top of that, he customized the back to hold our instruments, safe and snug. The band would have never been able to have something like this without our generous dad.  So thanks Dad. We love and appreciate you more than I could ever sum up in a single blog post. <3

This is the van, with the awesome lettering we got done at gitgrafix in Richmond. Fun fact, my dad parked the van on the front lawn the first few days we had it haha, he was proud I think :)
thanks dad :)
Mom, G, me, Dad and Quin :)

My favorite picture of me and my dad
My dad is outnumbered.
Still outnumbered :)

my handsome dad back in the day, holding our sister Eleni

Wednesday, June 8, 2016


      This last Wednesday we packed up the trailer with the instruments and camping supplies and headed for Beanblossom, Indiana. So many different styles of music and bands growing from bluegrass and folk roots coming together for 4 days in honor of John Hartford, a great influence on today's new grass sound.  The John Hartford Memorial Festival was so welcoming, full of love and peace. People there were so nice and the jams were some of the best I have heard.  Beginners or pro, everyone got to jam and everyone got to take a solo.  I love to see people build each other up and I saw musicians building other musicians up this week.  I am so grateful that we got to play and be a part of this festival and meet all of the talented musicians and kind people that we did, and I hope we get to do it again.

      Though we had an amazing time at the John Hartford Festival, we came home and discovered some heartbreaking news.  Georgia opened her fiddle case to find her fiddle with some issues so she and Mom took it to our luthier, Martin Brunkalla (, right away.  Though Herman Anderson(Georgia’s fiddle) can be repaired, it is very costly and would change his sound entirely.  So now Georgia needs to retire him and find a new fiddle to play, an instrument like Herman is going to be tough to replace.

      If you ask me what I would grab if my house was burning down I would tell you that I would grab my little sisters fiddle.  Some people think that is odd.  Why? Just a fiddle, and it isn’t even mine!  But Herman Anderson is more than my little sisters fiddle, the backstory behind that fiddle has a lot to do with the Georgia Rae Family Band and why we are today.  
      Herman was given to us by my uncle who got him from a man who was dressed as a Richmond police officer.  The nameless fiddle was in rough shape but we took him to Martin, who made him playable again, and to our surprise his voice was amazing. Herman had a sound that was like no other, and every fiddler who played him would tell you that. I remember how excited and pleased Georgia was when she got to play him and heard how he sounded.  While Martin was doing the repairs Mom and Georgia tried to find out the history of the fiddle.  In the fiddle case they found some old receipts, a few string mutes and a fiddle blanket.  The receipts read only one legible signature and it said “Herman Anderson”, so that is what Georgia named him.  Herman turned out to be a nicer fiddle than we would have ever been able to afford, and his soul is priceless.  Georgia and mom wanted to thank the officer who gave the fiddle to our uncle, but when they went to the station (small police station, we live in Richmond) they said there was no officer who fit the description.  You can think what you want, but I think God had an angle place that fiddle in Georgia’s hands.
After Herman, Georgia seemed to step up a rung on the latter, she really started to play more and more. Fiddle had always been her thing but at an age where she could have branched off and done other “normal” middle-schooler things, she didn’t, she was driven and motivated to play.    The more she played, the more mom played, the more we all played together and started picking up more instruments.  The band formed on financially hard times, but our sound and our music as a family grew together after that fiddle.
      I have seen Georgia take huge strides in her playing since she has acquired Herman.    In the past six years I have seen her go from tunes like Lovers Waltz by Jay Ungar, to tunes like Jeanne by Calvin Volrath.  She has won 4 state fiddle championships, and holds 2 State Twin Fiddle Champion titles. She practiced Herman everyday, taught with him every week and jammed with him every night of every music festival.  When you play an instrument the way she does you grow a bond and connection to the way it plays.  Not a day went by that he hung on the wall.  Herman went out doing what he loved, no doubt.
      For now Martin was so kind to lend Georgia a fiddle to try, so she has something nice to use in Weiser this year, with the option to buy it.  I have to say that I really like the way it sounds and it is really beautiful fiddle, whether we find a way to somehow afford the Brunkalla fiddle, or if Georgia ends up with something else, Herman’s shoes are big ones to fill.

      I watched Georgia play today.  I saw her raise the bow just above the strings, and with a deep breath, her face said “we’ll see about this one” and she touched the bow to the strings. With every note she silently judged the young fiddle.  Scrunching her brow just a bit, as she feels her way around the fingerboard, the spacing was familiar but  there were no worn grooves to set her finger tips in.  I could tell she was listening for that deep mellow sound when she hit the low notes.  Closed eyes, but she was searching for age and the character.  She misses the way that Herman rested, just right, between her shoulder and chin.  The voice of this fiddle is colorful, and has great tone, a blank slate for someone to wear the finish at the neck and the chin rest and give it a story.

Georgia Plays Herman at Solo and Ensemble in 2011, not long after having him repaired-

Georgia plays Herman the year she won the Illinois State Contest-

First Place songs at Colorado-

John Hartford Memorial Festival!!

here are some videos of jams at our campsite and Georgia playing with a band called Steamboat Bandits

late night jams

main stage at the beggining of the week, I wish I had a picture of mid week, it was packed!

more jamming :)

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

On The Road Again.....

       On my way to work last week I was listening to the morning show on 105.5 and I heard Tina Brie talking about how she just got back from vacation and hadn’t yet unpacked.  She was still “living out of” her suit case to savor every last bit of her vacation.  As she was talking about this I looked from my rear view mirror into the backseat.  My green canvas duffle bag was messily half zipped in the middle seat, overflowing with clothes from the last band trip, staring at me.  “oh if only she knew…” my thoughts trailed off on what it is actually like to constantly live out of a suitcase.
       Out of any other summer with the band this is the summer we have traveled the most and the summer I have made the most memories.  I remember realizing how busy we were going to be as I watched my mom on the phone, looking at the computer calendar, booking another gig.  The calendar was a mess, dates here, dates there, and she was currently squeezing 2 dates between another packed week.  Being on the road so much lately has been a blast;  we have made so many new friends, met up with old friends and hopefully inspired some.  
       We started off going to Weiser Idaho (with a stop in Colorado), we got home for 3 days, then it was on to Wisconsin for a working fourth of July, 2 more gigs in Wisconsin, then home again to a local gig.  After that we went on to Manitoish Waters, where we met fantastic friends (shout out to the Stinson family and Noah, you guys are the best!) and got to play the most amazing show we have ever played inside the Cozy Cove.  I will never forget how after the last chord of the first song rang out the crowed erupted, everyone on their feet, dancing with each other and singing.  It was almost an overwhelming feeling but I could play that show every night.   
       We didn’t wind down after Manitoish Waters.  After another few days of camping in Green Lake Wisconsin we played 2 more gigs.  We had a small break, home for almost 3 weeks before we headed to Minnesota for the state fiddle contest, where Georgia took 1st in the Open Division, and first in Twin Fiddle Division with Shawn.  Finally just as things looked to be slowing down, we got an email that we had been picked to compete in the John Hartford Boogie Band Contest!  What a blessing it was to be able to go to Kentucky where we reunited with some friends, camped and had a blast playing in the contest where we took 2nd place.  We aren’t quite done yet, the traveling is slowing down but we still get to go to Illinois State Fiddle contest in October and play local gigs all year, not to mention we plan to record a CD this winter (finally! lol).  
       This summer has been plenty of work.  I think sometimes people forget that being a working musician is work.  We practice countless hours and squeezing band practice in between my work schedule, and Georgia and Quin’s school schedule, and Georgia’s radio and teaching schedule is not always easy.  Not to mention time we spend writing music, time practicing on our own, time booking gigs, time we spend on CD art, time in the studio, time on promo posters and pictures.  I love every second and every ounce of work that it takes to be a musician because of what makes it worth it; the people I meet, the places I get to go, and the unique experiences I get to have along the way.

       Being in a band is not always peaches and cream no matter how sweet it looks.  For me lately life has been crazy, not only with the band, but my life in general.  Hey, I am 19 years old, life was bound to get complicated at some point.  I have been so back and fourth between gigs and home and I try my best to balance friends, a boyfriend, work and family.  To be honest I am somewhat awful at balancing people in my life (apologies to the people I love who may feel neglected during our busy months, but I do think of you, pray for you and send you good vibes.  Also I really try to remember to text you back but sometimes it doesn’t happen).  It seems to me that when I am home I am squeezing friend and boyfriend time in between work and band practices, trying not to forget anyone.  Sometimes it can be difficult to be away from friends, who are as close as family, for so long but I definitely have the best of friends.  No matter how long it has been we pick up where we left off.  It seems I hardly ever sleep in my own bed, because if I did my math right…I have slept in my own bed 3 times this month.  That might bother some people but for me I don’t mind, home is where my people are, not where my bed is.

PS: Shout out to Anthony and Hailey, you guys are the best, most honest and understanding friends ever and I wouldn't trade you for anything! I love you so much! thanks for putting up with all my crazy!
PPS:  Before I forget I would also like to thank my new salon girls at Cost Cutters and my awesome boss for putting up with, and working around, my schedule!  You girls have been so kind to me.  It is a huge breath of fresh air to walk into the salon and get a positive vibe or a genuine compliment rather than the dread of going to work. I love my job :)

PPPS: Thanks to Kenny, Ronda and Owen for hanging out with us in Kentucky and being such amazing band friends, you are like family to us and we love you <3


The GRFB crew that went to Weiser.... plus some random people who jumped in the pic just because

Me and Mom :) love my momma <3
just beautiful

Out to eat in Idaho
a shot from our trip to Weiser
Otis missed mom
me and G tried to fit some fitness into our lives while we were home
Georgia's Smokey Bear look in Manitoish Waters

from the Cozy Cove show

The Cozy Cove Crowd
Georgia thinks she can skateboard
Georgia.... spear fishing?

hula hooping at the Just Live festival

the first day of school!

got my first car this summer all by myself
Georgia's first place in Mn
Me, Georgia and a little praying mantis
Quin plays an electric mando

Sisters that kazoo together stay together

right before the contest in Kentucky!

when I finally reunited with my bestie we went shopping and found this amazing donut shirt

sisters :)