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Guitar Goddess

Female Guitar Goddesses Worldwide

Janet Robin can be defined in a single word: musician.

janetrobin2Many people attempt to make music, but few earn that illustrious title. Those in this business reserve that label for the rare individuals who consistently demonstrate a high level of talent, perseverance, taste and sensitivity over a period of time. To these people making music is not simply a pastime; it is a matter of blood and guts. That a serious addiction to making music runs through Robin’s veins is made clear from a quick review of her career.

A Southern California native, Robin’s musical education began the moment she met her guitar teacher, Randy Rhoads (Quiet Riot, Ozzy Osbourne). Under Rhoads’ tutelage, Robin became an ace six-string player and, while still in high school, parlayed this education into a position as the lead guitarist for the all-female rock band Precious Metal. Discovered by Rodney Bingenheimer of the legendary L.A. rock radio station KROQ, Precious Metal was soon signed to Polygram Records. Later moving to Chameleon/Capitol Records, Precious Metal released several albums, wrote with Heart, Poison and Cheap Trick, toured extensively and gained accolades from both fans and critics alike.

Following the demise of Precious Metal, Robin joined Fleetwood Mac guitarist Lindsey Buckingham’s band in support of his 1992 solo album, Out of the Cradle (Reprise Records). A consummate pro, working with Buckingham profoundly influenced Robin’s guitar playing, singing and songwriting, as well as her general approach to the music business. This new direction led to Robin’s 1998 debut solo album, Open the Door. Released on her own label, Little Sister Records, Buzz Weekly described the CD as “smart, savvy, fuzzy, hooky pop.” She has seen songs from this album featured in film and television; most notably on the then popular T.V. show Felicity. Ever the road warrior, she supported the disc by opening for such acts as Heart, Loudon Wainwright III and the Smithereens, steadily building a wide fan base. Robin has since continued to tour heavily and averages as many as 150 dates per year.

Encouraged by the warm reception of her debut, Robin released three more albums on Little Sister including the acoustic After the Flood which was recorded in Laurel Canyon and features “Beautiful Freak” which has since become a fan favorite and one of Robin’s defining songs. Also among these records is 2007’s Days of Summer. Recorded with producers David Bianco (Tom Petty, Teenage Fanclub, Mick Jagger) and Steve Baughman (Eminem, 50 Cent), this acoustic based EP is the work of an artist willing and able to explore the poignant emotional states of adulthood while avoiding the stereotypes brought on by most acoustic singer-songwriters. Working on the album was an experience that greatly affected her style and led Robin to many new and exciting opportunities including multiple tours of the Czech Republic.

http://www.janetrobin.com

poisonivyIt would be almost impossible to have never heard of The CRAMPS. Their career has been the stuff of legend. Dangerously bizarre but most of all cool, The CRAMPS represent everything that is truly reprehensible about rock’n’roll. Founding members Lux Interior (the psycho-sexual Elvis/Werewolf hybrid from hell) and guitar-slinging soul-mate Poison Ivy (the ultimate bad girl vixen) are the architects of a wicked sound that distills a cross of swamp water, moonshine and nitro down to a dangerous and unstable musical substance. Their cultural impact has spawned a legion of devil cults and dance-floor catfights, and created in its wake a cavalcade of cave-stomping imitators. As punk rock pioneers in the late seventies, they cut their teeth on the stages of CBGB and Max’s Kansas City and recorded their first record at Sam Phillips legendary Sun Studios, funded mainly by Ivy’s income as a dominatrix in NYC. They coined the now popular term “psychobilly” on their 1976 gig posters. Their hair-raising live performances are still a total, no-holds-barred rock’n’roll assault. After a quarter century of mayhem, they’re too far gone to even consider any other course.

http://www.thecramps.com

liz-phairPhair’s entry into the music industry began when she met guitarist Chris Brokaw, a member of the band Come. Brokaw and Phair moved to San Francisco together, and Phair tried to become an artist there. After being unsuccessful as an artist in San Francisco and moving back to Chicago, Phair began writing songs and recording homemade tapes under the name Girly Sound, and supported herself by selling her charcoal drawings on the streets of Wicker Park. She became part of the alternative music scene in Chicago and became friends with Material Issue and Urge Overkill, two of Chicago’s upstart bands to go national in the early 1990s, as well as Brad Wood and John Henderson, head of Feel Good All Over, an independent label in Chicago.

1992–2003: Exile in Guyville, Whip-Smart & Whitechocolatespaceegg
After asking Wood who the “coolest” indie label was, Phair called up Gerard Cosloy, co-president of Matador Records, in 1992 and asked him if he would put out her record. Coincidentally, Cosloy had just read a review of Girly Sound in Chemical Imbalance that very day and told Phair to send him a tape. Phair sent him a tape of six Girly Sound songs. Cosloy recalls: “The songs were amazing. It was a fairly primitive recording, especially compared to the resulting album. The songs were really smart, really funny, and really harrowing, sometimes all at the same time. . . . I liked it a lot and played it for everybody else. We usually don’t sign people we haven’t met, or heard other records by, or seen as performers. But I had a hunch, and I called her back and said O.K.” Cosloy offered a $3,000 advance, and Phair began working on a single, which turned into the eighteen songs of Exile in Guyville.

Exile in Guyville was produced by Phair and Brad Wood, and released in 1993. The album received uniformly excellent reviews. The album received significant critical acclaim for its very blunt, honest lyrics and for the music itself, a hybrid of indie rock and pop. The album established Phair’s penchant for exploring sexually explicit lyrics such as in the song “Flower”. The release of Phair’s second album received substantial media attention and an advertising blitz. Whip-Smart debuted at #27 in 1994 and “Supernova”, the first single, became a Top Ten modern rock hit, and the video was frequently featured on MTV. Phair also landed the cover of Rolling Stone Magazine with the headline “A Rock Star is Born.”

http://www.lizphair.com

“I’ve always been a writer. My songs are the door to every dream I’ve ever had and every success I’ve ever achieved,” says Dolly Parton of her incredible career, which has spanned nearly five decades and is showing no signs of slowing down.

dolly-partonAn internationally renowned superstar, the iconic and irrepressible Parton has contributed countless treasures to the world of music entertainment, penning classic songs such as “Jolene,” “Coat of Many Colors,” and her mega-hit “I Will Always Love You.” With 1977’s crossover hit “Here You Come Again,” she successfully erased the line between country and pop music without noticeably altering either her music or her image. “I’m not leaving country,” she said at the time, “I’m just taking it with me.”

Making her film debut in the 1980 hit comedy 9 to 5, Dolly earned rave reviews for her performance and an Oscar nomination for writing the title tune, along with her second and third Grammy Awards. Roles in Steel Magnolias, Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Rhinestone, and Straight Talk followed, along with two network television series, made for television movies, network and HBO specials, and guest-starring roles in series television. In 2006, Dolly earned her second Oscar nomination for “Travelin’ Thru,” which she wrote for the film Transamerica.

Dolly Parton’s remarkable life began very humbly. Born January 19, 1946 on a farm in Sevier County, Tennessee, Dolly is the fourth of twelve children. Her parents, Robert Lee and Avie Lee Parton struggled to make ends meet in the impoverished East Tennessee hills. This hard rural life was the foundation of Dolly’s career, as she began singing almost before she could talk, according to her father. By age 10, Dolly was performing on local television and radio shows in nearby Knoxville, Tennessee. “I always wanted to be a star. It just seemed natural to me,” she said. “Making music is all I’ve ever known.”

http://www.dollypartonmusic.net

mechelleMechell Ndegeocello honed her skills on the D.C. go-go circuit in the late 1980s with the bands Prophecy, Little Bennie and the Masters, and Rare Essence. She was one of the first artists to sign with Maverick Records, where she released her debut album, Plantation Lullabies. This recording presented a distinctly androgynous persona.

Her biggest hit is a duet with John Mellencamp, a cover version of Van Morrison’s “Wild Night”, which reached #3 on the Billboard charts. Her only other Billboard Hot 100 hit besides “Wild Night” has been her self-penned “If That’s Your Boyfriend (He Wasn’t Last Night)”, which peaked at #73 in 1994. Also in 1994, Nedegeocello collaborated with Herbie Hancock on “Nocturnal Sunshine,” a track for the Red Hot Organization’s compilation album, Stolen Moments: Red Hot + Cool. The album, meant to raise awareness and funds in support of the AIDS epidemic in relation to the African American community, was heralded as “Album of the Year” by Time magazine.

Ndegeocello had a No. 1 Dance hit in 1996 with a Bill Withers cover song called “Who Is He (and What Is He To You?)” (briefly featured in the film Jerry Maguire) as well as Dance Top 20 hits with “Earth”, “Leviticus: Faggot”, “Stay” and the aforementioned “If That’s Your Boyfriend.. Last Night)”.

Ndegeocello played bass on the song “I’d Rather be Your Lover” for Madonna on her album Bedtime Stories. Ndegeocello was also tapped, at the last minute, to perform a rap on the same song. This came after Madonna and producers decided to remove Tupac Shakur’s rap (which he did while he and Madonna were dating in 1994), after he had criminal charges filed against him.

Her music has been featured in a number of film soundtracks including How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Lost & Delirious, Batman & Robin, Love Jones, Love & Basketball, Talk To Me, Tyler Perry’s Daddy’s Little Girls,The Best Man, Higher Learning, Down in the Delta, The Hurricane, and Soul Men.

She has appeared on recordings by Basement Jaxx, Indigo Girls, and The Blind Boys of Alabama. On The Rolling Stones’ 1997 album Bridges to Babylon she plays bass on the song “Saint Of Me”. On Alanis Morissette’s 2002 album Under Rug Swept, she plays bass on the songs “So Unsexy” and “You Owe Me Nothing in Return”. On Zap Mama’s album ReCreation (2009), she plays bass on the song “African Diamond”.

She can also be seen in the documentary Standing in the Shadows of Motown, singing The Miracles’ “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me” and The Temptations’ “Cloud Nine”.

In the late 1990s, she toured with Lilith Fair. She also did a remake of the song, “Two Doors Down” on the 2003 release, Just Because I’m A Woman: The Songs of Dolly Parton.

http://www.meshell.com

teena-marieTeena Marie was an American singer, songwriter and producer. She was known as Tina before taking the stage name Teena Marie, and rose to prominence in the late 70s and 80s, striking a musical and personal partnership with funk legend Rick James. It was then that she acquired the nickname of Lady Tee (sometimes spelled as Lady T), given to her by James.

She was known for her distinctive soulful vocals which initially caused many listeners to believe she was African-American. Her success in R&B and soul and loyalty to these genres would earn her the title Ivory Queen of Soul. She played rhythm guitar, keyboards and congas. She also wrote, produced, sang and arranged virtually all of her songs since her 1980 release, Irons in the Fire, which she later said was her favorite album. She released 13 studio albums, six of which went platinum on the US R&B chart. Two of her albums went platinum, and six altogether were gold.

Marie’s biggest hit came in 1984 with her single ‘Lovergirl,’ which peaked at number four on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.

http://www.teenamarie.com

kat-marcoKat Marco has been rocking on vocals and guitar for several decades writing and producing original compositions. She has worked with some of the best musicians, producers, and engineers in the world. Most notably Co-Producing ‘Maiden Voyage’ at Morrisound with Steve Wacholz of Savatage, and Jim Morris, with bassist Jeff Berlin, drummer Mark Prator, Grammy nominated Keyboardist Kent Smith, Jim and Tom Morris engineering. Michael Schenker, Genya Ravan, Jim DeVito, Rod O’Quinn (bassist for Pat Travers), and Jon Maye are only a few of the music business professionals that Kat has either worked with or learned from. She now has her own recording studio where she writes, engineers and produces her songs performing all vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards, and programming drums. Her music is rock, hard rock and metal. Her influences are Pat Benatar, Ynqwie Malmsteen, and a wide range of singers and musicians including those from mainstream to extreme metal.

http://katmarco.com

katie-meluaWhen Georgian-born Katie Melua signed with Mike Batt’s independent record label Dramatico in September 2002, no-one could have imagined that by the release of her third album, ‘Pictures’, in 2007, she would be the biggest-selling UK-based, female artist in the world.

Her first two albums, ‘Call Off The Search’ and ‘Piece By Piece’ both became international number ones with singles such as ‘The Closest Thing To Crazy’ and ‘Nine Million Bicycles’ becoming airplay hits around the world.

The story was to continue with the album ‘Pictures’ securing Katie’s place as one of Britain’s most successful artists of the new millennium. Katie was on an exciting, record-breaking rollercoaster ride involving several massive world tours, numerous awards and many special moments – like playing on stage for Nelson Mandela with the band Queen, dining at Buckingham Palace with the real Queen, becoming a British citizen, performing a gig at the bottom of the North Sea, walking the Great Wall of China and playing at London’s vast O2 Arena.

The release of ‘Pictures’ preceded a natural break in Mike and Katie’s writing relationship. “We knew it was the last album we would write together, at least for a while”, said Katie at the time. “We both felt three was enough and I need to go and further explore my identity as an artist, and Mike has other projects he wants to do, too. These albums have very much been a double act – a trilogy of collaborations if you like.

http://www.katiemelua.com

jonimitchellA singer, composer and lyricist of exceptional talent and unmatched influence, Joni Mitchell has crafted an extraordinary body of work spanning more than 40 years and is widely regarded as one of the brightest musical lights of recent generations. Fans, fellow musicians and critics have delighted in an ever-evolving creative journey, with songs both universal and profoundly personal. Her music has become a standard to which others are compared and which many aspire to copy, but its inventiveness and ineffable spirit make it decidedly her own. Explore the musical magnificence of Joni Mitchell.

http://www.jonimitchell.com

shelby-lynneShelby Lynne was destined to be a singer. Born a singer. She was raised in rural Alabama by musical parents who stressed individuality and the importance of standing apart from others.

A terrible student, but avid reader, she loved the written lyric and a beautiful melody. Around the house she was surrounded by country music from the past, Hank Williams, Dottie West, Waylon Jennings, as well as old 45′s that belonged to her parents stacked high with most all Everly Brothers, Beatles, Elvis.

It was the old pop music that really turned her soul on. The harmonies that came so naturally to her from such an early age stemmed from her mother, a naturally gifted singer, who guided the diamond in the rough talent on rides to school on freezing Alabama mornings with her younger sister Allison. They sang three part harmonies to pass the time, which brought the threesome so close in life, and in music. The Mills Brothers, Ink Spots, Kay Starr, Everly’s and anything that needed a harmony – this was the car in which to find it.

Shelby started playing guitar by age seven in order to accompany herself on these songs. Her father was a weekend guitar player in bands and bars and taught her a three-chord progression in E, and from there the hunger for more was so intense she learned the rest on her own. By high school graduation, her mind was made up and a trip to Nashville was inevitable.

Married to her high school sweetheart with dreams of country music success in mind, they packed and moved to Music City where she met veteran songwriter Bob Tubert. With only a cassette demo in hand, he took a chance and played the tape for the TV producer of a long since gone program on the Nashville Network called “Nashville Now,” hosted by Ralph Emory. After the performance, she was offered a record deal by CBS Records where legendary producer Billy Sherrill came out of semi retirement to produce her first record. It included a duet with country legend George Jones, who praised Lynne’s ability to “own” a song at such an early age.

After five albums in Nashville, Lynne was hungry for a change from the Nashville system and searched for a record producer who wanted to collaborate on a project. She enlisted Bill Bottrell, who had produced for Michael Jackson, Madonna, and had big success with Sheryl Crow on the highly successful Tuesday Night Music Club. The album, I Am Shelby Lynne, was recorded on the Northern California coast in 1998.

With the critical success and recognition of I Am Shelby Lynne, she was awarded the Best New Artist GRAMMY® in 2000 – after nearly 13 years in the business. Love, Shelby was released in 2001, followed by a pair of intimate, self-produced albums – Identity Crisis (2003) and Suit Yourself (2005). She made her acting debut in 2005, playing Johnny Cash’s mother in the Fox Searchlight motion picture Walk the Line. Just a Little Lovin’, her critically acclaimed tribute to Dusty Springfield, was released in 2008.

http://www.shelbylynne.com