Chicks With Guitars

Not a fetish. Just an appreciation.

Monday, November 21, 2005


Singer/songwriter Anna Nalick never had another career option. Show business is in her blood.

“From the time I was a little girl I just knew I wanted to be a performer,” she recalls. “My grandparents both performed on Broadway, mainly in the chorus. My grandmother even danced with Fred Astaire. She was in the stage versions of the Marx Brothers’ 'Coconuts’ and 'Animal Crackers.’

“If it hadn’t been for their stories, I probably would have chosen something else as a career,” she said. “I learned many of the songs from those old shows from my grandmother who taught them to me when I was a kid.”

Growing up, she was also an avid reader, beginning with Shel Silverstein and Dr. Seuss, enamored of the way they told stories through rhyme. Around the age of 9 or 10, she began writing her own poems, then began writing new lyrics to the songs she loved.

Among them were Matchbox 20 songs, which rings of a little bit of irony since her first national tour is opening for Rob Thomas, that band’s songwriter and lead vocalist, who now gives her a lot of good-natured grief for rewriting his songs.
But around the same time, she also discovered that she could write her own melodies and began writing for a heavy metal band that performed in her high school and sang with a Rush cover band.

In addition to writing her own songs, she was developing as a live performer, singing on-stage with a Rush cover band. “I was also in a band with my best guy friend and we played hard rock songs,” she recalls, “and I had to be really angry and do a lot of screaming.

“I loved singing, but had it in my head that only little kids wanted to be rock stars,” she said, so she put off a musical career for an educaiton, but in college, she continued writing and documented her songs on a Rainbow Brite cassette tape recorder.

She gave a tape to a classmate who had parents in the music industry, which lead to an introduction to Christopher Thorn and Brad Smith, the founding members of Blind Melon now turned production team, and Eric Rosse, best known for his production work with Tori Amos.

College went on hold and her career took over. Within weeks of making a professional demo, she had label interest.

“If you want something bad enough, your dreams come to find you,” she said.

Thursday, November 17, 2005


Bethany Dillon writes songs in color, with a pallette of bright greens, earthy browns and hues of deep blue.

Green, she said, “Because I see a lot of growth and brightness here, and yet there’s also a lot of restlessness, which is sometimes the result of growth.”

Brown because “I just love earthiness, musically. A lot of the songs feel like standing at the edge of a cliff and just staring out and seeing a lot of open space, a lot of freedom.”

The blue hues, she said, are “like the swirling ocean in the moonlight. They reverberate throughout the album,” which is “Imagination,” comprised entirely of songs that Dillon — a native of Bellfontaine — wrote or co-wrote.

“Imagination is the follow-up to her highly-successful 2004 eponymous debut, which featured the No. 1 single “All I Need” and earned Dillon Gospel Music Association nominations for both Female Vocalist and New Artist of the Year.

The journey also informed the songs of “Imagination,” inclulding “All That I Can Do,” a song about learning to trust, and “Dreamer,” the mythical story of a good king who gave up everything to save his people.

“God’s unearthly grace and immeasurable love for us is the heartbeat of this whole record,” Dillon said. “This is a story of hope and redemption, one that paints a brutally and beautifully honest picture of what it is really like to live by faith.”


“It’s always a challenge,” said singer/songwriter Bif Naked, “to find stimulating ways to describe heartache.

“I’ve been chasing that dragon all my life.”

The daughter of a professor of dentistry who also was a missionary and moved his family all over North America, Naked said that she’d been enrolled in arts schools all her life, always taking ballet lessons or performing in piano recitals.

She also started writing at a very early age, won a spoken poetry competition (in French) while still in elementary school, and
formed her first band at 17 years old.

When the band started trying to come up with original material, “a light bulb went on,” she said. “I can just use my poems.”
And so her quest began.

“I write all the time,” she said. “I can’t shake it. I carry notebooks with me all the time. Something will strike me and I’ll write it down and keep it for later.

“Through the years you try to hone your skills,” she said. “I love using language to convey a state of mind or an emotion.”

Her lyrical content frequently is informed by her voracious reading habits. Currently, Naked said that she is immersed in a new interpretation of the Koran, not because she subscribes to any particular religious belief, but is fascinated by theology, partly due to her father’s influence, although their beliefs don’t always harmonize.

“Religions are important because if you lose everything else, it allows the human spirit not to be broken,” she said. “I like the idea of having something to believe in, the universal force. There are parallels in all of the holy scriptures that makes me believe that all paths lead to God.

“I like them all. As a result, I hope it’s made me a calmer person. I’m not calm, but I aspire to be more calm, and faith-based readings bring me into a reality check.

“My dad gives me a really hard time, saying that we’re not allowed to cherry pick from the different religions, to just take what you like. I just look at him and say, 'Why not?’”