Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins

BearcatWith a cursory listen, Bearcat reminds me of Adele.  Renee Yohe’s voice has that similar texture, and her songwriting has that same passion.  But while Adele’s albums reflect on lost love and a broken heart, Bearcat takes it a step further…she inspires to fix what is broken, whether it is a heart or a dream, or maybe just a version of self that has gone astray.  After immersing myself in Bearcat’s music, there are no tangible comparisons to be made.  This music is riveting and inspiring, and even healing.

“Crazy Fishes” begins this five song EP, and while it has a silly title, it’s really catchy and upbeat.  My interpretation of the song is a girl finding herself in an endless cycle of the same mistakes.  My favorite part of the song is that it paints such a vivid mental image of a girl in a hospital, surrounded by pain so she calls a friend/loved one, and as she hears the tone signaling for her to leave a message, clarity dawns upon her.  She decides then and there to be done with it, to move on.  Listen enough times, and you see yourself as the one holding the phone, in the midst of chaos, finally able to have the strength to break that chain…

It was impossible to chose a favorite; not one of the five is a clear standout because these songs are so identifiable.  “I Am Me” is fantastic; the message empowering.  Forgetting everyone else’s agenda, Bearcat embraces all that makes us unique and owns up to the responsibility to share it on our own terms.  The other songs are just as powerful, all of them using that special ability to not only feel the song, but to envision it as well and see ourselves in the middle, which makes all of them uniquely personal.  “The Nothing” paints the portrait of lost dreams, making some of the reasons why they’re gone sometimes blatantly obvious.  “Saudade” (I challenge you to look up that word; not in a dictionary because it can’t be directly translated to English, but on the internet.)  The song is just as beautiful as the definition, and rather than sullen and sad, this song is almost a celebration.  It is almost as if we are sometimes set free by the losses we endure.  And the last song, “The Wood & Trees” is Bearcat’s life experience and healing perspective put into a song (“The only way they win/Is if you allow them to”).

Sometimes these songs are delivered from the voice of a caring friend, sometimes they are more similar to personal confessions.  Either way, the rich vocals, lilting piano, and infectious melodies are vehicles for fantastic messages and powerful writing.  This is music with substance that is not to be missed.  Download from iTunes and visit for more information.

Singing and songwriting duo, Coldwater Jane

Chit Chatting with Coldwater Jane

Written by: Jill Sheets

Coldwater Jane

Coldwater Jane

Picture credit: David Tsay

Recently we got the honor of interview the singing duo the Coldwater Jane. Continue to read about Coldwater Jane and about their music.

R: How did you come up with the name Coldwater Jane?

LC: We wanted to use the name Jane because it means so much to us. It’s our mother’s name, Brandon’s middle name, and our great great grandmother’s name. Coldwater came from Coldwater Canyon. So much great music came out of that area and we thought it just sounded good with Jane. It’s pretty hard to find a good band name that isn’t already taken and you don’t feel silly saying.

R: Both of you play the guitar. How long have you been playing, and do either of you play any other instrument other than voice?

LC: Brandon has been picking up the mandolin, and I play piano some. Although not nearly well enough to play in front of other musicians!

R: How long have you been singing and writing your own music?

LC: We first sang together in church when we were 2 and 4. Our parents are music lovers and encouraged us to sing, but writing definitely came from something inside of us. I remember the first song I ever wrote I sang to my mom and dad in the car on the way to Mobile, Al (the nearest mall to our town in MS). I remember her asking what artist sang that song. That started a fire.

R: What is your songwriting process? Do you start with the words?

LC: Sometimes we start with a melody, sometimes we start with a title or a lyrical idea, and every now and then when we are lucky it feels like it comes from above. Like we have nothing to do with it, we’re just the ones typing and singing.

R: Tell us about touring with your family as a family gospel band? What was your favorite memory of doing that?

LC: I have lots of memories of doing school work in the van, sleeping in people’s houses that we didn’t know (members of the churches where we were singing) and our little brother basically falling asleep while playing the drums. He would lay his head down on the snare while playing when he got tired! Most of the memories are good, but anything you do full time is work and it’s not a life for most people. We feel fortunate because it laid the groundwork for what we are doing now. It taught us things like how to keep going in a show even if something isn’t going right. We are so thankful for the experience, although it seems a little crazy now looking back on it!

R: Tell us about your up and coming CD. What are the titles of some of the songs? Do you have a release date yet for it? Does it have a title?

LC: Our album, “Bring On The Love”, will be out early next year. We are SO excited for everyone to hear it. The title track was our first single, but I feel like the whole record has something to say. “Devil Train” is a fast fun song about sneaking out (no need to mention which one of us that one is about), and “Marrionette” is a bluegrassy song about a free spirit. It’s tough waiting to share something we created that we are so proud of!

R: Tell us about your single “Bring On the Love.” How did you come up with the idea for this song?

LC: We were sitting in the studio playing around on all the instruments (banjo, dobro, mandolin) that are all tuned like a guitar. The melody and title came out pretty quickly since we were just having fun. The next day we came in and wrote what we wanted to say. Kind of a “come together”, love everybody kind of tune. It was important for us to say something that had meaning, but still be able to write it in an encouraging light.

R: Where were you when you fist heard “Bring On the Love” on the radio? What was it like?

LC: This is my favorite question. We were in my grandmother’s house in Mississippi, which is the house my great great grandfather built, the house we lived in while we were traveling all over the country singing in churches, and the house we left to move to Nashville. We were literally just running in for a minute when we heard on the radio in the kitchen “Bring On The Love.” Bran started crying. I didn’t even know what to say. It’s like God knows that sometimes you need a little, “Hey, you’re right where you need to be.”

R: Where can people get your music?

LC: “Bring On The Love” is available on itunes and very soon in stores.

R: What is it like working with your sister? How do you handle disagreements?

LC: Working with my sister is one of the greatest joys of all of this. Making and playing music is amazing, but I imagine as a solo artist it can get real lonely sometimes. It’s so nice to have someone to bounce things off of and to have someone call you out on your crap. We fight, but when we do, we get it all out on the table and it’s over. We don’t bring it up again. We both know we have each other’s best interest at heart, beyond music.

R: We read that you where in the 4th Annual Country Weekly Fashion Show. What was that like?

LC: I am definitely not the fashion show type! I don’t get my nails done (they get scratched up by guitar strings anyway), don’t shop much. I know nothing about fashion really, but everyone was so nice and made the whole thing so fun that we really enjoyed it! It was also for a great cause. We felt lucky to be a part of it!

Coldwater Jane

Coldwater Jane

Picture credit: David Tsay

R: Tell us about “Second Harvest.”

LC: What a great cause, and it was amazing how many volunteers were there on a Saturday to help people they don’t even know. We are always so proud to be involved in things that help our community. One volunteer supervisor told us, “Not everybody can donate money, but I can donate my time.”

R: We read that you have also helped out orphans in Ethiopia. Tell us about it?

LC: My husband and I got involved in sponsoring a child in Africa through Kingdom Vision. It costs so little, but it can do so much. I think it’s so easy to get wrapped up in my life and forget how blessed I am. We get to be a part of some amazing benefits and organizations. This is a cause that I hope to be more a part of in the future.

R: Are there any other charities that are close to your heart? If so, tell us about them.

LC: We got to tour St. Jude Children’s hospital and it literally broke our hearts. As much for the parents as the children. It’s only through donations that no child is turned away, even if they don’t have to money to pay. A child is a child. They should all get the same chance.

R: What has been you most “star struck” moment? Who was it and tell us about it?

LC: Reba is amazing and just about the nicest person. Once she talked to me and I didn’t know what to say. I got nervous and kind of laughed.

R: What bands and singers to you listen to? What are your favorite songs by each one of them?

B: Patty Griffin. “Nobody’s Cryin” is a masterpiece. I love Train “Meet Virginia”.

Jeff Buckley’ version of “Hallelujah” gives me chills to this day. And Patty Loveless “Here I am”. Beautiful. I love so much it’s hard to choose!

R: What is your favorite song to belt out in the car?

B: Lately my guiltiest pleasure is singing Carrie Underwood’s “Undo it” at the top of my lungs. What a great song!

R: Who has been your biggest influence?

B: Honestly, our mom and dad. They introduced us to so much great music. And in those moments when I wanted to quit, when it got too hard… they believed in me, so I kept believing in myself. I don’t know where Leah and I would be with out their love and guidance.

R: What is the best advice you have ever gotten and by who?

B: A very lovely man I know told me last summer, that no matter what I think I am… an artist, a singer, daughter, all those “identity” things I get so wrapped up in… at the end of the day, I am a child of God. And no matter what things happen or change around me, nothing can change that, ever. I take a lot of rest in that, and I believe I always will.

R: What advice would you give teenage girls?

B: I am the last person to be doling out advice; I am still learning so much myself. But I guess If I could tell my 16 year old self something… I would say.. you are beautiful, you are smart, listen to that little voice when it tells you “this isn’t a good idea” and trust yourself ! Oh, and stand up straight!

R: What are five things people may not know about you?

B: I am trying to learn french

I am a pretty good cook

Sometimes I can’t believe I get to do this for a living!

I have a crush on “House” and “Gene Wilder in Willie Wonka” ( I know, weird.)

No matter how much time I spend with Leah, I still call her every single day and actually still want to talk to her on the phone.

R: Are you on any social networking sites? If so, which ones and what are their addresses? Do you have an official website? If so, what is the address? <>

R: What is the best thing a fan has ever said or did for you?

B: Anytime they spread the word about your music it’s exciting.

R: Other than this one, what is the strangest question you have ever been asked?

B: How do you two know each other? Not that we expect people to know that we are sisters, but it’s a hard one to answer without sounding smart or giggling! That question always cracks me up & I always say “in the womb.”

R: Is there anything else you would like to add or say to your fans?

B: Thank you for listening to our music, we really hope you like it and if you haven’t heard us… we hope you will check it out.

Lille-Tall Shoulders



(Photo courtesy of Team Clermont)

Lille-Tall Shoulders

Written by Ellen Marie Hawkins

Grace Bellury, also known as Lille (read on and you’ll discover why), wrote and performed the five songs on her first EP, Tall Shoulders, released on June 22. Choosing the mandolin after her first heartbreak and the ukulele after her second, Grace turned to music to console her, and listeners will not only taste her pain but feel comforted as well.

The 18 year old from Atlanta, Georgia is from a musical family. She would often fall asleep as she listened to her father tap out melodies on an old piano, and grew up singing Beatles songs. She’s now writing and singing her own, with a whimsical touch that won’t be found on radio.

Her lyrics are brilliant. In “Blue Coat Boy,” Lille sings, “Do you remember what your heart looks like?/I’ll tell you when I find mine/Buried underneath the pines/Underneath all the dirty signs.” Her voice is heartfelt. In “Melancholera,” Lille sings, “My only child/ She sings, I weep/Melancholera,” and later laments, “Bring back my child to me/She grows weak.” The listener feels her loss. Her heartbreak. The album is an emotional experience.

To learn more about Lille, we asked her a few questions. For more information, please visit or

R: What made you chose the name Lille?

Lille: Lille (pronounced “Leel”) is a city in France I’ve never seen. I chose the name when I was thinking a lot about my future, about possibilities. And I also just thought it looked pretty.

R: What is it about you and your music that sets you apart from others?

Lille: Oh, dear! There’s nothing new under the sun. I’d like to think my music is fresh. And I hope it haunts you a little.

R: I read that you come from a musical family. What is the best lesson they’ve taught you about being a musician?

Lille: I don’t think they’ve really tried to teach me about being a musician subconsciously – maybe just being the way they are, passionate and dedicated, is what has been most enlightening to me.

R: What is the best lesson music has taught you?

L: I’ve never felt that music teaches me – more like it’s an old friend who wants to play board games with me.

R: What is your biggest source of inspiration when it comes to songwriting?

L: I steal inspiration from everywhere – but the songs usually begin with a general emotion; sadness, strangeness, joy.

R: What is your favorite song of all time and why?

L: Casimir Pulaski Day – Sufjan Stevens. It broke my heart in the 7th grade and I still haven’t gotten over it. I finally got to see Sufjan play in Brooklyn this past fall and tears were streaming down my face.

R: What is the biggest dream or goal you have as a musician?

L: I want to continuously reinvent myself musically. I’d like to make a living as a musician. That’s all that matters to me, really.

R: Which do you prefer – writing and recording or performing live and explain why.

L: They’re so entirely different. But writing of course, since performing is pointless if you don’t have anything to say.

R: What is your favorite song on the EP and why?

L: I couldn’t choose a favorite! They’re all children.

R: Where will readers be able to purchase your music?

L: June 22nd it will be available for purchase through my record label,