Corrections or additions?

This article by Richard J. Skelly was prepared for the February 6,

2002 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Girls Take It on the Road

Given the success she had with her first show of

women-fronted

bands at the Pontiac Grille in Philadelphia two years ago, Lisa

Bouchelle

of October Baby has decided to take her show, "Girls To the 4th

Power," to Trenton’s new Conduit music club. Four bands led by

by women will be featured at the club on Friday, February 8, beginning

at 8 p.m.

"My first show had a punk band, my band October Baby, which is

pop-rock with a touch of blues, and we had a folk act as well,"

says Bouchelle, at a lunchtime interview in Lambertville. "It

went over so well, and we had such a turnout of people, that we

decided

to do a mini-tour. We went up to New England and did some clubs in

Boston and Rhode Island."

"I thought Conduit would be a really nice place to do this

show,"

says Bouchelle, "so I presented the idea to the owner, Roland

Pott, and it turns out they had been looking to do something like

this. We came up with bands that are making an impact on the scene

right now." Bouchelle, 25, who lives in Fairless Hills,

Pennsylvania,

left her job as an administrative assistant at the Sarnoff Corporation

on Route 1 six months ago.

At lunch in Lambertville, Bouchelle was joined by Reading-based

singer-songwriter

Patty Scoboria. Scoboria has carved a niche for herself in recent

years around the area, performing in coffee houses, clubs, and at

Borders bookstores. Scoboria has sold out of the first pressing of

her self-released CD, "The Girl."

While none of the bands performing in "Girls To The Fourth

Power"

presently live in New Jersey, all the musicians have frequented many

New Jersey clubs, including Triumph Brewery in Princeton and Borders

stores throughout the state. The show has appeal to men who like women

vocalists and for women in the process of starting their own groups

who may find inspiration in these women’s career paths.

As punk-rock pioneer and poet Patti Smith told a nearly-packed house

at her show at the Stone Pony in December, "If I can do this,

any asshole can do this!" Smith, who also told jokes in between

tunes with her band, understands that part of the purpose of art is

to inspire others. Similarly, Bouchelle and Scoboria are hopeful that

their show of women-fronted bands will be inspiring to men and women

alike.

Bouchelle designed the G4 logo herself and personally invited all

the bands. She’s excited for everyone, but particularly happy that

the New York City-based Antigone Rising has joined the lineup.

"We had a lot of press coverage for the first few shows, so that

helped sell the idea to Roland," Bouchelle explains, noting

Christine

Havrilla of Three Stories High will do a separate acoustic set before

joining up with her band onstage later in the evening.

Scoboria graduated from Penn State in political science, and got her

first taste of the business of being a professional singer-songwriter

while still an undergraduate. Bouchelle skipped college in favor of

starting work at Sarnoff.

Prior to forming October Baby, Bouchelle sang in a country band that

morphed into a country-rock ensemble. She began writing her own songs

five years ago. October Baby’s most recent album, "At The Edge

of Reality," is a wide-ranging collection of songs that doesn’t

overlook roots-rock and the blues. Scoboria’s current album, "The

Girl" is an introspective collection of songs that presents her

gift for heartfelt lyrics in a good light.

"At 20, I realized I cannot not be in front of people

singing,"

Scoboria says, "so I started playing bars in State College, doing

mostly covers at first, because that’s what they wanted. I used to

sing everything from Janis to Alanis."

Asked about her attraction to rock music, Bouchelle says she was

singing

in a country band called Wildhorse as a teenager when she heard Mick

Jagger singing "Angie" on the radio one day.

"I was cleaning my room and when my mom came back in, I was

crying,"

she explains, "and I just started getting more excited about the

classic rock stuff I was hearing."

Interestingly, Bouchelle, 25, and Scoboria, 26, both count artists

associated with the 1960s and ’70s as primary influences: Joan Baez,

Joni Mitchell, Harry Chapin, James Taylor, and the late Janis Joplin.

"I began doing more acoustic stuff," Bouchelle explains,

"and

the folk pop stuff was coming more naturally to me. I think from being

through so many different types of music, I try not to think in terms

of categories. A lot of my songs on the current album are very

different

from one another, so whatever mood I’m in, I try to pull on the

musical

resources to express that mood."

While Bouchelle says October Baby’s sound is best thought of as

pop-rock

with a touch of blues, she adds, "it can also go a little country

or a little folk."

Growing up in Reading, Pennsylvania, Scoboria recalls going to the

piano as a three-year-old "and my parents were amazed that I could

play parts of any song by ear. I would sing around the house, but

nothing really in public until I was in my teens," she says. At

that time, Scoboria began taking guitar lessons in earnest and

studying

songs by the likes of Mitchell and Baez. "I was really into that

time period, and those were the first songs I started to learn because

there were a lot of story songs."

Scoboria and Bouchelle also share their dislike of many of the angry,

grunge, nihilistic post-punk rock bands around today. They credit

Jewel for bringing the woman with an acoustic guitar back into

fashion,

at least among 20-somethings.

"There’s something to be said for hearing the words and hearing

the beauty of the voice," Scoboria says, recalling she had the

chance to meet Jewel in her years out at Penn State. "That very

same week I also got to meet John Hiatt, who is one of the great

songwriters

of all time."

Both women agree that folk-rock musician Ani DiFranco is a shining

example of what an artist, male or female, can do by way of creating

and building an audience for their music, if they’re determined

enough.

DiFranco began playing bars around Buffalo in the mid-1980s. Today,

through a lot of hard touring, she’s an independent, international

artist with her own record company, Righteous Babe Records. DiFranco

continues to sell thousands of albums at live shows, through mail

order, and via her website.

"I think people are noticing that the major labels don’t seem

to care about the quality of music they’re putting out," Bouchelle

argues, "and young people are noticing that artists are not as

true to their art anymore."

"There’s so much you can do now to put yourself out there and

really link yourself and create your audience," Scoboria adds,

"without these million dollar promotional campaigns behind

you."

While Scoboria says she’s most comfortable in an acoustic setting,

she will have a drummer with her on Friday night. She’ll have to trust

the audience will be attentive. She hopes for an atmosphere more like

a coffeehouse than a bar.

Havrilla, a Philadelphia area singer-songwriter who couldn’t make

the interview in Lambertville, says she’s excited to be included on

the bill with her band Three Stories High. "I think what Lisa

has done is awesome, this will be our first time at Conduit and the

chance to share the bill with Antigone Rising is exciting,"

Havrilla

says in a phone interview.

In terms of what the audience can expect, Bouchelle simply says

October

Baby tends to be more theatrical than conventional pop-rock bands.

She adds: "G-4 is cool because we have all these different types

of music being presented on the same show, and that’s what makes the

world go around."

— Richard J. Skelly

G4: Girls to the Fourth Power, Conduit, 439 South

Broad Street, Trenton, 609-656-1188. An evening-long celebration of

women in pop: Patty Scoboria, Christine Havrilla, Lisa Bouchelle and

October Baby, Three Stories High, and Antigone Rising. Over 21. $8.

www.conduitmusic.com Friday, February 8, 8 p.m.


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