Spotlight on: Sarah McLachlan

Sarah McLachlan

No site on Women In Music would be complete without the fabulous Sarah McLachlan who got it all started for me, at least!

As the creator of Liltih Fair, Sarah McLachlan holds an important place in women in music.

“Sarah was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on January 28, 1968 and studied classical guitar, piano and voice as a child. She was discovered by Nettwerk Records at the age of seventeen but parental reluctance kept her from signing with them for two years.

Sarah relocated to Vancouver and began writing the songs for Touch, released in 1988. Much to her surprise the record went Gold and she was suddenly hailed as that year’s most promising artist. After an extensive tour (she tends to do that a lot still) Sarah returned to the studio to record Solace, an emotionally raw album quite different in style from Touch. Released in 1991, Solace affirmed Sarah’s position as a faerie (oops), and, as everyone puts it, “rocketed her to international prominence”.”

-From Sarah McLachlan for Dummies at The Sea of Waking Dreams

[Sarah McLachlan Official Site]

Read reviews of:

These are only the commercially available CDs. There are many bootlegs to be had as well.

Bloom – The Remix Album (2006)
Live Acoustic (2004)
Afterglow Live (2004)
Afterglow (2003)
Mirrorball (LIVE) (1999)
Surfacing (1997)
Rarities, B-Sides and Other Stuff(1998)
Freedom Sessions (1995)
Fumbling Towards Ecstasy (1994)
Solace (1992)
Touch (1989)


Spotlight on: Björk


Björk was born on November 21, 1965. At age 5 she attended the music school Barnamúsíkskóli Reykjavíkur where she spent the next ten years studying voice, flute and piano.

She released her first album in 1977 at the age of 12.
It was a mix of American covers translated into Icelandic and even included some that she wrote herself.

She gave birth to her son, Sindri in 1985 and soon after got her first acting role in a film called “The Juniper Tree”.
She joined a few bands and created a few of her own then came the Sugar Cubes and the rest is history!

The Sugar Cubes first album was released in 1988.
She moved to London in 1993 and recorded her first CD, Debut.

Her music is a combination of Techno, rock and pop with some amazing vocals. I can’t even begin to describe her voice but she is wonderfully talented.

[Björk Official Site]


Buy Dancer in the Dark at
Buy Bjork Posters at


Spotlight on: Anne Deming

Anne Deming

I was born in Green Bay, Wisconsin, the family moved around a bit and ended up right back in Green Bay before I hit middle school. Catholic school, with uniforms, was the connecting thread throughout my 12 years of pre-voting-age education. And I spent high school at a place called: Notre Dame de la baie Academy (seriously). (side note: As a result, you may have noticed that there is a bit of sarcastic rebellion in my music.)

My mother was president of a children’s theatre organization while I was growing up and learning to appreciate the arts. Forever wanting to be on the stage but never good enough to be cast as anything besides a rock (in “The Singing Stone” – but I didn’t sing) I grew up slightly discouraged. When I hit high school though, I joined choir and was given a bundle of encouragement and advise…which gave me the nerve to keep singing and become stronger. My freshman year in high school I sang a solo during mass where another student heard my voice and through a friend of a friend of a friend – we met; his name was Jon Koehler and he wanted to form a band – just the two of us.

So while I was adjusting to being something other than the background on stage, Jon was forming a plot to get me into a band which we eventually called “Crush”. Little did I know he actually had a crush on me and 10 years later we would end up together in every sense of the word! However, back to the story. Jon had a ton of talent; he could play the guitar, piano, bass, engineer, record, read music, and transpose – I could just sing and write a lyric or two. I was in awe of him and he…well…wanted to get inside my pants. Just kidding…sort of.

Jon introduced me to the music of Bjork, Sinead O’Connor, Tori Amos, the Breeders and Screaming Trees – artists I had never heard of but fell in love with at first listen. He was my music education – no schools or chords – just music in all its bizarre and beautiful forms.

Our sophomore year we continued writing music together, won a few talent competitions and played our fare share of gigs in little old Green Bay. After graduation we split ways; he turned down Berkley to attend Eau Claire and I went to Northwestern in Chicago. I played coffee shops and house parties while pretending to be a theatre major on the weekdays.

Music was more fun and I was the only one in charge. Jon and I stayed in touch throughout the college years and caught up during vacations and holidays only to end up in the Twin Cities together after both finishing college. Jon got a job at First Ave and took a brutal stab at band management while I hit the Minneapolis coffee shop circuit with a vengeance building up a mailing list and recording my first CD, acoustic, which was completed in less than 4 hours.

Finding the Twin Cities a very welcoming home base, I decided to start touring for real and haven’t stopped since. Each CD is a little different, each song a little more focused – with Jon moonlighting as a guest guitarist on a track or two. I love all four of my releases and am secretly hoping to branch out even more and do a jazz/blues standards album, cover Leonard Cohen and write some heavy metal tunes…just because I can.

Playing live acoustic music is still what I do best though because I’m allowed constant touch with the audience and that means more to me than all the CD sales in the world. I hope to play new cities, new states and overseas every year. And I will of course love you forever if you decide to check out or and purchase an album or two.

Peace out.

By Anne Deming

[Anne Deming Official Site]

Read reviews of:
[Naked Pictures Inside]
[Beautifully Scarred]



Mulligan (2004)

Naked Pictures Inside (2001)
On Display 2002

Beautifully Scarred


Spotlight on: Beth Amsel

Beth Amsel

Beth got her first guitar by chance. She was helping out a friend who called her in the middle of the night from jail. She came to his rescue, bailed him out and accepted as collateral, his guitar. She didn’t play guitar at the time and told him so, he promised her she wouldn’t have it long enough to learn. Two years later, he still had not paid her back so she decided to play the guitar and that’s when she “met her muse”.

She taught herself how to play one winter and began writing songs. Within a year she had earned a devoted following among music fans in her home state Colorado.

In 1997 she moved to the Northeast to bring her music to a larger audience. Since then, she has out shows at well-known clubs, appeared on several compilations, and had a featured spot on NPR’s syndicated Anthem radio show. She also earned a showcase feature on the mainstage of the 2000 Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, and a return to the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival in 2001 as one of the four Most Wanted Artists.

Beth is also a founding member of Boston Music Award nominated “Voices on the Verge,” a touring roadshow of Amsel, Rose Polenzani, Erin McKeown and Jess Klein. This dynamic foursome, with their delicate harmonies, unexpected instrumentations, tight arrangements, and unpredictable, raucous stage antics, have been heard by millions on NPR’s Morning Edition and other radio programs.

[Beth Amsel Official Site]
All of Beth on Collected Sounds

Read reviews of:
[The Reverie]

The Reverie (2005)
Kindling (2002)
Live in Philadelphia w/ Voices on the Verge (CD, Rykodisc Records)
A Thousand Miles Away (1999)
“Means to This End” featured on Fresh Tracks Sampler (1999)
Lead cut, “Saint Mark, on WWUH: Folks Next Door 7 (1998)
A Thousand Miles (tape only) (1997)
Live performance of “Saint Mark” featured on the Live From Acoustic Coffeehouse CD (1996)

Spotlight on: Tori Amos

Tori Amos

Born Myra Ellen Amos in Newton, North Carolina, August 22, 1963. Her family moved to Maryland when she was a year old.

She began playing piano at age 3 and at age 6 was the youngest student ever to attend the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore where she was later kicked out for being too radical.
She was voted Homecoming Queen at her high school in 1981.

When she was 12 she moved to Los Angeles and formed a punk band called Y Kant Tori Read. The album didn’t do so well so she moved to London and began working on her first recording, “Little Earthquakes”. The rest, as they say, is history.

[Tori Amos Official Site]
[A Dent in the Tori Amos Universe]

Read review of:
[Fade To Red DVD]

Fade to Red DVD (2006)
The Beekeeper (2005)
Scarlet’s Walk(2002) with DVD and toys
Scarlet’s Walk(2002)
Strange Little Girls (2001)
To Venus and Back (1999)
Songs From the Choirgirl Hotel (1998)
Boys for Pele (1996)
Under the Pink (1994)
Little Earthquakes (1992)


Concert: Poe in NYC (2000)

Artist: Poe and Mark Danielewski

Date: November 3, 2000

Venue: Borders

City: NYC

Review by By Katherine

Just a few thoughts about the Borders tour, specifically the day at the Borders in NYC. 11.3.00, I think. Wow, that was yesterday! This city is bad for any already poorly functioning short term memory.

The area set aside in the store was packed to capacity with people sitting on the floor in the back, and any space available in the aisles was taken by standees maneuvering in any way possible to get a glimpse of Poe and Mark. It was a fantastic set up – Poe and Mark sat facing the crowd, sitting behind two mics, while a DJ stood behind them with turntables and a live mixer was off to their right.

The whole thing was set up such that Mark would read a portion from the book or talk about it and Poe would relate it to her songs and occasionally sing the song that related. Both Mark and Poe apparently came across tapes of their father, Tad Danielewski, talking that set off some memories. They show up as the samples in the segues on Poe’s album. During the entire talk, the DJ or mixer ( I’m not sure who was setting them off ) cued a pertinent sample, or ingeniously used them to make a quick joke. There was, by the way, a projection screen with alternate album art that related to each song/section.

The first highlight of the show came when Poe sang “Spanish Doll,” which is an absolutely lovely song musically and lyrically. The DJ scratched up a storm on the fade out on what I believe was this track, but maybe it was another. In any case, he was brilliant. The main highlight of the show was Mark’s reading from “The Whalestoe Letters” – the letters Johnny Truant’s mother sends him in _House of Leaves_. He read what sounded like the last one after dedicating it to the mother of a friend of his and speaking a bit about how it related to his mother. Poe also spoke about the absence of their mother from their lives, and how the letter showed that love can be demonstrated very “powerfully” despite the lack of a physical presence. Anyone who’s read the book knows that the letters are compelling proof of that fact, regardless of the fact that they’re fictional. Both brother and sister were very moved, as was, I feel, the entire audience. It was an incredible moment.

Afterwards, they both signed Poe’s new album, “Haunted” and Mark’s “House of Leaves”. This probably should’ve gone at the beginning: Mark’s novel is ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT. I heard about it through word of mouth and only later realized Mark to be Poe’s brother. It’s seems a hefty book, but I sat down and *could not* stop reading it – I was about to move to college and almost gave up seeing my friends before I left because the book consumed my mind’s focus so greatly. I won’t give away details of the book, but through a very ingenious, beautiful metaphor, Mark explores relationships and the dynamics of a family and their home. “Haunted” is a concept album that explores the same ideas on a very personal level for Poe and relates back often to the metaphor within the book. Poe drew a lot on my CD and Mark drew me a tree.

They’re fantastic people, inspired artists, and it’s a great privilege to read and listen to their work.


[Poe Official Site]