Jamie Anderson"I SCREAMED FOR several minutes and scared all the animals in the house." Anderson found out about winning her Tucson Area Music Award in the solo-acoustic category through a certain writer's inadvertent remark on her phone machine. She retrieved the phone message from Memphis, where she was resting for a day before continuing on her current tour.
Jamie is undeniably a Tucson treasure. Her humor, intelligence and outspoken nature make her nothing less than a musician's mentor. That she has been on the road a great deal since 1987 speaks of her dedication not only to the craft, but of the need to bring it out of the desert and into the big, wide world.
"I work a lot. Anybody who does their job a lot is going to get better at it, unless they really suck. It's a great benefit to play for different audiences. If you play in one area, you get the same audiences over and over again. There's no element of surprise."
And surprise could be her middle name. With off-the-cuff comments like "hearing an audience laugh is just better than sex" and brazen songs like "Menstrual Tango," there's no denying that some people might find her personality a challenge.
But being true to her nature is fundamental to both individual and professional strength. While many life issues may not seem appropriate to express to the public, each artist must decide where to draw their boundaries. For Anderson--an outspoken lesbian--those choices challenge both her artistry and her audiences to deal with what some consider deeply personal and controversial issues.
"The fact that I'm out comes with the whole package. Most singer/songwriters sing about intimate things. It would be a lie for me to pretend I was straight. I'm sure some people would prefer that I not sing about being a lesbian, but then they don't have to come hear me sing.
"It's so dangerous to deny who you are. If you're closeted in your work, night after night you're pretending you're someone else. It's not good for you or the audiences, who don't get an honest view of who you are."
Winning her second TAMMIE has sent a clear message to Anderson that Tucson audiences have an honest view of who she is and that they like it, lots. "They like me!" Jamie laughs. "They must really like what I do! I'm very honored."
WHETHER IT'S GUT-WRENCHING blues harmonica or evocative finger and flat-style guitar picking that leaves you mesmerized, Earl Edmonson's sincere music has been pleasing Tucson audiences for nearly 18 years.
Edmonson is no newcomer to awards, having taken several prestigious ones over the last years at the famed Telluride Bluegrass Festival. He received first place in the finger-picking category in 1991. This style of guitar is often the most difficult and detailed for players, and he has obviously spent many years perfecting his technique.
This is his second TAMMIE as runner up in the acoustic-solo category. The award this year was particularly an honor for Earl, who is "playing solo much less than in past years."
It's a time of re-evaluation for him, however. Although he enjoys working with the Titan Valley Warheads and other local acts, Earl is now trying to find a better sense of balance between his ensemble and solo performances.
Night Sounds, a self-produced tape, is available around town. It's a "just me and my guitar" production, giving listeners a taste of Earl Edmonson at his solo best.
© 1995 Tucson Weekly