A sweet musical reunion will be making its way to Boulder this month with a trio of spectacular and fabulously queer artists.
Out Boulder County is putting on an evening of musical favorites with some fun surprises as they bring in Cris Williamson, Barbara Higbie, and Teresa Trull to the Dairy Arts Center on Saturday, May 31. The women, each having a hefty musical repertoire as individuals, are creating a night of enchantment through highlighting their gutsy blues/rock vocal dynamo and songwriting expertise.
Higbie spoke with OUT FRONT about the exciting evening in Boulder, what being a queer musician means to her, and what makes the collaboration with Williamson and Trull so magical.
What can you tell us about the upcoming show with Cris and Teresa at the Dairy Arts Center?
It’s my favorite show that I’ve done in eons, probably ever. It’s such a great time; the three of our voices are super powerful together. Every night it raises the hair on the back of my neck; it’s a huge, special event to me every single time.
What songs are you most looking forward to playing together, and is there anything you are debuting for the first time live?
Anything with three-part harmony, and almost everything has three-part harmony (laughs). I have a couple new fiddle things that are really high energy; those are always fun. There’s going to be a lot of variety; you name it, we cover the bases.
I have a new album out, so I’ll play some really beautiful piano music on top of the three-part harmony stuff, and there will be lots of debut stuff. We have so much repertoire between all three of us, so it’s an embarrassment of riches, as they say.
Can you talk about the music and friendship magic that happens when the three of you play together?
We starting singing together in 1983, and it’s just as powerful now. It’s like family, but the best kind of family. There’s just a magic that happens when people’s hearts and voices are aligned, it truly is magical. Even with all our technology, there is no replacement for the experience of live music. It’s like food. It really is like food on a different level; it feels like so enlivening and so nourishing on a deep level.
There’s so little ego involved, so much love, and so much mastery; the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. It’ll blow your mind; it’s fantastic.
Being a queer woman in the music industry, how has that changed since when you first started to now?
Such changes, I mean, this whole thing started because there was no place for women to be out and be artists. Then we were integrated into the mainstream music industry with Melissa Etheridge and KD Lang getting major label deals, and eventually being able to be out. So, it’s changed a lot in terms of acceptance, but there was sort of a magical feeling. Even though we were very marginalized when I started, it was so special and such intense, committed community, and that feeling is still something that goes with us everywhere we go.
It seems like you three have a very loyal lesbian following!
And we’re so lucky to have that. So, in a way, I wouldn’t trade it for for the huge mainstream success the women who came just after us experienced. We have this strong community; so many of us are so close all around the country. It’s palpable in the show. I hope younger women come, because it’s not even history; it’s just the essence of who we are as a community. That’s so powerful.
There’s just an energy that happens when women are together and focusing on empowering each other. There’s nothing like it.
We all have a straight following, too, and as the years go by, those two worlds mix a little bit more; they used to not mix at all. It’s interesting, the way society changes, and then kind of doesn’t change.
Photo credit Jill Cruse