July 19, 2016

My Time with Donnie and Nancy Emerson

Ross with Donnie NancyDonnie and Nancy are a husband and wife duo who frequently perform as a trio or quartet. I was happy to be a part of their musical world from 2010 through 2013 while living in Spokane, WA. Donnie has had a lot of press in recent years because of a record he made as a 16-year old boy which was discovered by a vinyl collector who wrote a very enthusiastic blog about it. After that, interest in the recording began to snowball. Eventually Light in the Attic Records contacted the family about re-releasing the record both on CD and vinyl. Subsequently some of the tracks went on to make some appearances on TV and film and Donnie’s incredible story of delayed success has been written up in the Vibe magazine, The Rolling Stone, LA Times, the New York Times, and other papers. The record certainly has an undeniable and ineffable happy 70’s cool vibe to it and even late night host Jimmy Fallon confessed one of the songs as one of his favorite “new jams” to listen to. You can read more of the back story about this record here.

While that amazing record was sitting in obscurity and aging like fine wine, Donnie was busy pursuing a career as a country artist and also building a business as a producer of jingles. Later focusing his energies on booking the duo and sharing the spotlight with Nancy. If you meet the Emersons you will notice a hummingbird-like energy and intensity to everything they do. Nancy is a tasteful and accomplished percussionist and vocalist with a background as a dancer. In my final year with them Donnie began playing kick drum along with his guitar and Nancy would handle the snare and high-hat. It was the ultimate example of cooperation and teamwork I thought. I was touched by how much love and good vibes seemed to surround them and their little family and was happy to be a part of it.

They both liked my singing voice and encouraged me to add harmonies as well as singing lead. This is actually a rarity in all of the bands I’ve played with since most singers are territorial and protective of the role of lead singer in the band. It did help me to develop more confidence as a vocalist. They also liked it when I would bring out unusual instruments like the chromatic harmonica and the clarinet.

You can visit Donnie and Nancy on their Facebook fan page here. Or check out their website.

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