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2017 Arkansas music issue

Hear from a few women reshaping the Little Rock sound.

by , , and

  • Sally Nixon

Like Arkansas natives Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Charlotte Moorman and Patsy Montana before them, the women of Central Arkansas have been making some noise; consider this an open invitation to tune in. Expat innovators Kari Faux, Kristin Lewis and Beth Ditto have been making waves in hip-hop, opera and punk. Here on the home front, the last three years have been witness to a portfolio of sounds from women that alternately channels and challenges the idea of what "Arkansas music" sounds like: a punk rock drummer, Correne Spero, founded a songwriting camp for girls and young women. A Conway composer, Karen Griebling, recorded and released a full-length opera about Richard III. The third editor of the National Magazine Award-winning Oxford American, Eliza Borné, supervised some of the most thoughtful music writing in the South. Rachel Ammons electrified a cactus (and lived to tell the tale). The best part of all: The story that follows covers the work of 11 women making music in Central Arkansas, and it isn't anywhere near exhaustive. It says nothing of Ramona Smith, A Rowdy Faith, Bijoux Pighee, QuarterPiece, Elise Davis, Satia Spencer, Heather Smith, Kelly Singer or Shannon Boshears or any of the other women informing the Central Arkansas sound these days, and the fact that we can sample but a smidge of that scene here is a pretty good problem to have.

Stay away, fools
Dazz & Brie dance on the grave of their past mistakes.
by Stephanie Smittle

Honky-tonk hybrid
Bonnie Montgomery channels a legacy of formidable White County women.
by Katy Henriksen

Golden voice
Nisheedah Golden is a mezzo soprano and a mentor.
by Alex Flanders

Bringing Bach home
ASO's Katherine Williamson is spreading appreciation for classical music.
by Larissa Gudino

There is a tavern
Powerhouse vocalist Charlotte Taylor channels the Memphis blues.
by Stephanie Smittle

Boys club bust-up
Six musicians talk business, banjos, barriers.
by Stephanie Smittle

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