Goddess Gumbo: Generations of Women Helping Women

Boondocks Lounge, Sunday, July 6

Once upon a time, bassist/guitarist/songwriter Sabra Faulk had the idea to put together a showcase of women songwriters. When she realized all her faves were too busy with their own projects and gigs, she let it go.

"Then one morning, I literally shot up in bed with the thought (that) I knew at least five different generations of women songwriters. That's when I realized I wanted do this generational thing," she says.

The result was a superbly paced four-hour extravaganza to benefit Tucson's New Beginnings housing and shelter program for women. With sets no longer than 20 minutes, solo artists and makeshift ensembles thrilled a packed crowd of 250, whose makeup was approximately 70 percent women.

Canara Price, 95 years young, opened the evening with a prayer and some gospel. She then joined Kathleen Williamson on stage (and later the dance floor) for what Williamson referred to as "unique performance art!" Nancy McCallion, who three years earlier organized a recording project of woman songwriters, also to benefit New Beginnings (Lullabies for New Beginnings), was next. Although there was a good bit of extraneous chatter and bar noise, her solo performance held her audience in rapt attention.

Although another six acts would excite and delight the crowd--including stellar performances by Jo Wilkinson, violinist Heather Hardy and cult icon Namoli Brennet--the night clearly belonged to Faulk. In addition to being stage manager and MC, she served as consummate side person to every act.

This evening also provided a showcase for some sharp talent not as well-known. Melanie Morrison won the crowd over with "The Same Big Dipper," her contribution to the Lullabies CD, while Marnie and John Chastain (whom Faulk gigs with at the Maverick) brought people out onto the dance floor en masse with some original countrified rock. Faulk even got to play with her mom, country/honky-tonk singer/songwriter Bonnie Flint, as she quipped, "She plays more gigs than I do!"

Kudos to Ralph Gilmore on drums, called in at the last minute and with no time to rehearse, and to Michael Pezze, celebrating his birthday by running his first-ever gig on sound. As for New Beginnings, they were the real winners--an additional $1,800 to the good.