Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Chili Chicks

Holy weird, Batman. Yesterday... Wait. I should give you some background first.

I often talk about my actress/juggling/stilt-walking/dancer friends, but this is about my vocalist/musician friends. A few years ago, the Showboat Casino decided they wanted to feature country bands in their concourse. One of my agents asked if I wanted to put something together and audition for summer dates. I was already performing around town with my country rock trio, Alias Smith and Jones (yes, I got that from an old TV show), so I figured I could build off that.

At the time the Dixie Chicks were very popular and, since I love singing harmonies, I thought it would be fun to ask two fellow female singers (both good friends) to join me for a three girl front. All three of us fronted our own bands and we had all worked together at some point or another, just never all three at once. We put our heads and talent together and The Chili Chicks were born.

Joined by musicians Iggy Callaghan and Matt Curran, Krissy Pruitt, Patty Balbo and I worked steadily at the Showboat for two years and then we moved on to Caesers and Bally's Wild West. Meanwhile all five of us also worked with other bands (that's the only way to fill up your schedule around here), which means sometimes there were conflicts, which means sometimes we needed a sub. In addition to all of the singers being strong lead singers each singer had a great ear for harmony. So a sub needed to be just as strong and versatile.

We knew just the 'chick', Lori Dobson, another talented female vocalist who had been performing on the Atlantic City stages for years... another friend. At one point Krissy needed to leave the group to pursue other things and Lori became a fulltime Chili Chick.

I loved singing with these women. Talented and funny... inspiring. I was sad when the gigs stopped coming and we eventually threw in the towel because I would miss our unique and beautiful 'sound' and I would miss them. We've all moved on to other things. We're all crazy busy. And though we live in the same area, I hadn't seen Krissy, Patty, or Lori in months.

Then yesterday....

I had contacted Patty to ask if I could purchase some of her CDs to use in giveaways for ALL ABOUT EVIE. Since this book features veteran Atlantic City performers, it seemed the perfect fit. We made plans to meet for lunch on Monday. The night before, I worked an emcee gig. I got home after midnight and checked my emails. I had a message on MySpace--Krissy asking to 'be my friend.' She's new at MySpace and no doubt found me through Patty's MySpace page. I just thought it was weird and wonderful to hear from her from out of the blue the night before I met with Patty.

After a meeting up with Patty, I came home and signed on to emails again. I wrote a long note to Mary Stella regarding the workshops we're giving at RT. I meant to cc her work address which I have under 'dolphins'. I sent the email and noticed an odd address, not Mary's work address, but Lori's email address. I'd clicked on 'Dobson' instead of 'Dolphin'. What were the chances?! The 4th Chili Chick!! So after not touching base with Lori for months, I had to write her to explain the bizarre email I sent her about writing workshops. LOL She wrote back and I got a warm fuzzy feeling thinking how weird fate can be. And how much I miss seeing these ladies more often.


Please take the time to hop over and listen to some of Patty's (left) music at Futilty Music.

You can hear Krissy (right) at her website.

In addition to being incredible singers, they both compose their own music. Also Patty plays guitar and Krissy is a keyboardist. Patty leans toward rock. Krissy offers a cross between R&B and jazz. Please do check them out and hear for yourself the talent I had the pleasure of performing alongside.

I can't find any of Lori's demos on-line, darn it. You'll just have to take my word for it. She's an amazing vocalist. She's also stunning! Oh, and she's married to one of my entertainment agents. Not that that has anything to do with anything, except perhaps you can see what a small town this and how, as the song goes, 'We Are Family.'
Speaking of... don't want to leave out the Chili chaps! You can hear demos of Iggy's original music at his website. And demos of Matt's original music at his website. Both singers/musicians/composers. Both recording engineers. Yup. I've got some talented friends. *g*

2 comments:

Jennifer Elbaum said...

For some reason I've got "It's a Small World After All" playing in my head.

Great story! Thanks for sharing!

Beth Ciotta said...

Oh, great. Now 'I' have It's a Small World After All' playing in 'my' head. *g*