Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Vocal women in concert

Cosmic wheel of collaboration gathers speed

Express Staff Writer

When Niccole Blaze and Mo Kelly take the stage at the Presbyterian Church of the Big Wood on Friday night, it will be a crystallizing moment for the women who have worked the stage and studio, passionately trying to get their music heard but not knowing where it might end up.

Ever since the pair moved to Boise in 2004 and started racking up shows and fans, they've put on nearly 250 a year—"from concert halls to pizza joints, to cafés and bars," Blaze said Monday.

"The coolest part about opening for Toni Childs is that the more I read about her and hear what she is set out to do, her mission, her intent, the more I know, I couldn't have hand-picked a better artist for us to open for.

"Mo and I have been trying to manifest an opportunity like this for the past three years. We've been ready, and here she is, and I feel that we are already friends.  It's a great feeling!"

Childs is launching her re-entry tour in Idaho to share her latest album, "Citizens of the Planet," after a hiatus from performing to heal from an auto-immune disorder called Graves disease. The introspection matured her reflections on life to the point that she felt she needed to come back to the public eye and challenge people to take control of their lives and their destiny and each other.

She's bringing her blend of roots, rock and pop music to Boise and Pocatello, and will be here Friday, Nov. 11, the result of a series of woman-to-woman networking from Cheryl Welch at Chapter One Bookstore, to her sister, Amy Harris, a friend of Childs', and to Blaze, with a lot of devoted fans in between willing to help Childs record and tour by pre-purchasing her songs and following her on social network sites.

Blaze said she thinks she and Kelly have been on a similar parallel of discovery and reciprocation.

"We've met amazing people. A performer has no idea how much she really affects people, and I get letters all the time from them telling me my music helped them through a divorce, or chemo or when their loved one passed.  I mean, it's powerful, and we as musicians can forget how powerful it can be. So somewhere along the line we've harbored a fantastic community of women."

Blaze said Kelly rounded out her own songwriting and performances by bringing the right sound.

"Wow, this girl can sing!" Blaze said. "She truly is the icing on the cake with her backup vocal harmonies and her low bass lines instrumentally."

She believes people are ready to listen to the messages that they are bringing with the collaboration.  

"People in this world need a lift," she said. "They are tired and losing hope in their economic hardships. Music helps gather communities together and opens hearts.

"It's not a typical collaboration.  There is a chemistry here, just like the feeling I felt with Mo when we first did come face-to-face. We're on this platform for a reason, and it transcends our independent goals into something bigger. I call it fate."  

Toni Childs with special guests Blaze and Kelly

- 7 p.m., Friday, Nov. 11. Presbyterian Church of the

Big Wood.

- Tickets on sale at Chapter One Bookstore in Ketchum. $40 is general admission, $100 is VIP party and front row seating.

Jennifer Liebrum:

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