sleeveless shirts and guitars = legit.

For my 13th birthday my parents surprised me with an acoustic guitar.

You couldn’t seperate me from my Fender dg-10. Day and night I’d practice

and practice until I felt confident enough to play a song in front of my parents.

As the years went on I finally started to play in front of people, I was terrified.

I usually was paired up with another guitarist, and that wasn’t so bad, but

the first time I was told I’d be playing guitar on my own in front of people, I cried.

My friends had to knock some sense into me, encourage me and tell me to get over myself.

Obviously I did, since now I am professional musician, but those middle school years were

brutal, I am eternally grateful for the people who helped me to get to where I am today.

I met my husband Judah in my high-school years… He still enjoys telling me how he first came about falling in love with me, watching me singing and playing my guitar, man I used to be hot stuff (He assures me I still am hahahaha), but there came a point when my husband (who was my boyfriend at the time) when I was going to being legit guitarist?

Of course being his woman, I was slightly offended and wondered what the heck that meant.

Judah kindly pointed out that in pretty much every guitar advertisement,

the women playing the guitars are wearing sleeveless shirts.

Judah says “It shows legitimacy when a woman wears a sleeveless shirt. It says… Trust me,

I know what I am doing. “

Examples:

This woman is totally confident, and sexy… why? Sleeveless shirt + Guitar

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This young woman doesn’t look as confident, but because of her sleeveless shirt + guitar she looks…

Legit.

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Born in the USA??? who cares…There is no need to see this woman’s face… we know she is serious business… why? I think you know.

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Trends? they have changed… but even long ago, women knew they had to show the shoulders off to demonstrate power and legitimacy.

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Trends? they have changed… but even long ago, women knew they had to show the shoulders off to demonstrate power and legitimacy.

There are countless more examples to prove my point.

I am working on building my biceps & shoulders…and then ladies and gentlemen…

I will wear a sleeveless shirt, rock out on my guitar and be…

LEGIT!

I would like to encourage all you female musicians…

Break out the sleeveless… show the world those beautiful powerful arms you have.

Be legit!

Cheers,

Jess

Vintage Love

I really, really, REALLY… no really… love vintage clothes. I’ve been an avid collector since I was in my elementary school days. At age 6, I inherited a 50’s bathing suit that belonged my grandmother’s sister Josie. It’s color was a beautiful shiny purple, had a little sash around the waist, an incredibly pointy built in bra and the lining inside this thing was crazy itchy but I loved wearing it despite the discomfort it brought me.

I would dance around the house pretending to be Judy Garland, or Ginger Rogers. I was far to small to fill in this bathing suit’s natural curves, but I felt absolutely glamorous wearing it!

There’s something about vintage clothes that make me come alive creatively, their colors, textures, patterns, design, even their smell…some are beautiful, and ugly, unique, dull, simple, overly decorated, regardless, vintage clothes are stories of old presented in cloth form that I get to wear. This is the biggest reason I enjoy them so much.

Clothes used to be hand made with love and custom tailored by artists, who were mothers, sisters, aunts, grandmothers, friends, fathers, and brothers to people in their communities.  I find myself day -dreaming of who made the black polyester jacket I am wearing, and who proudly wore it before me? Did it land them a dream job they loved, or one that solely helped put food on the table for their family? Did my favorite 60’s blue and polka doted sundress belong to a young woman on her first date…who was her first kiss? Did they marry? I could go on and on about all the things I imagine, every vintage piece of clothing has a story…mainly ones I make up, however, whether they are made up in my mind or not, vintage clothes have a treasure hiding inside them. 

That’s at least what they seem to be saying to me when they are hanging on the rack in some second hand store basement I happen to be searching through.

 

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Just like vintage clothes are unique, I believe we are all very unique ( I know I sound super cheesy but what I am about to say I believe is 100% true). We all have been fearfully, wonderfully, and lovingly hand made by the most creative and ultimate artist and each of us have stories, treasures hiding inside of us, some stories are good, some bad, some we want to remain secrets and others we can’t wait to tell over and over again!

So what’s your story? Tell it to someone day! Your story may change someone’s life!

And consider wearing a vintage piece of clothing if you do not already! It’s a great way to start a conversation with someone. ;-)

Cheers!

Jess

Granny and Dolly

I come from a line of music lovers, mom’s side, dad’s side, and while my dad is more of an old school rocker and my mom is a music junkie regardless of the genre, as long as she can sing and bust a groove, I, Jess, have inherited a love of music that goes beyond what makes me feel good, it’s my livelihood, and how I express myself in almost every way possible.

I want to share a story about two women in particular who have impacted me greatly and not just musically.

My Grandmother Edna and Dolly Parton.

My grandma Edna, was born in Alabama and grew up on a cotton farm in Tennessee. Her hands are tough, you can see and feel the scars in her palms from where she was cut from picking the cotton. In her early 20s her first husband died, not only was she left a widow but a single mom for many years until she met my grandpa Henry. All the while she bought a building, opened a restaurant, managed, cooked, cleaned, and waited on tables. She did absolutely everything. Her hours of labor were not the typical 9-5 job most Americans are used to working, she always went above and beyond. She was and still is one of the hardest working women I have ever known.

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My grandmother loves country music (being raised in the South) naturally. Her father was a fiddler in the foothills of Tennessee. As the family legend goes, he was the best of the best. I tend to think we are biased however I can remember visiting my grandmother’s sister, Gladys as a teen. She pulled out a cassette player and a tape, popped that sucker in and said with her sweet southern drawl and a glimmer in her eyes, “Jessi, listen!”

To my ear’s delight, it was my great grandpa fiddling away like a boss in an old barn, foot stomping, washboard action and all, the people in the background whooping and hollering! I can still hear it in my mind like it yesterday!

My mom and I have taken quite a few road trips down south with my grandma to her old stomping grounds. One trip in particular we listened to an auto-biography on cassette by Dolly Parton. I was 13 at the time and a bit frustrated that we would be listening to Dolly for 10 hours straight, instead of my rock music. My mom kindly said to me, “Honey, your grandma really likes Dolly Parton and I thought it would be nice if we listened to Dolly’s story.” I gave in only because I had no other choice, I was trapped in a car and not going anywhere else.

I ended up being pretty amazed by Dolly’s story of hardship and pain, triumph and success, not only as a performing artist but as a normal hardworking woman trying to make it in this cruel world.  I never really cared for Dolly’s music growing up… it wasn’t “my thing” but as I soaked in Dolly’s story I realized why my grandma loved her so much!

Dolly was a hard working woman just like my grandma and she identified with Dolly’s story. It’s taken me years to get this, but music isn’t just for listening pleasure, music is always telling a story, sometimes good ones, some times bad ones. Either way music is so important because it connects us to each other, it helps us identify with people we wouldn’t be able to otherwise.

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On this very day, January 29th, 32 years ago, Dolly Parton’s song “9-5” hit the charts.

It’s a song about working a crappy job, day in and day out.

Dolly connected with hardworking, under appreciated and unnoticed people all over the world, because Dolly knows exactly how that feels.

Who loves working a job they hate? I mean come on!

And why wouldn’t you want to sing from the top of your lungs a catchy tune that hits that unsatisfying vocational spot deep within your soul!? Stories do something to us don’t they? Whether a book, or movie, a painting, a song, a hand written note, they transcend time, stories, music, art, they connect us to each other as human beings because we all have a story.

Even though Dolly’s music isn’t my preferred choice of genre, I love who she is as a songwriter. She doesn’t write music to satisfy her inner rock-star, she longs to connect with people, and identify with their stories.

Her story brought joy to my grandma, and seeing that in my grandmother’s life a hardworking woman enjoying the work of another hardworking woman, there’s nothing better. I hope I can share that kind of joy with people even if I never hit the charts with my songs.

I want to hear your story, and share in your story, so that you and I can remember at the end of the day we are never alone and that we should never give up!

No matter what your story is, what your dreams are, don’t let the craziness or mundanities of this life take you over!

Here is to all you hardworking women, and men!

You have a story, and it needs to be heard. So how are you going to share it today?

You never know how your story will change someone’s life.

As Dolly says in her opening line in “9-5”

“Tumble outta bed, and stumble to the kitchen, Pour myself a cup of ambition…”

I raise my cup of coffee to you.

Cheers!