She's the daughter of a preacher man. And a preacher woman, for that matter, since mom and dad were both ministers. She's also known around the Pioneer Valley as Mrs. Joy, beloved kindergarten teacher.
But at her core, Sheffield, Mass. native Christa Joy says, she's always been a singer/songwriter first and foremost.
And in 2010, she moved back to the Valley from California with a nice batch of tunes and an aching in her heart to pursue said calling.
"I was playing coffee shops in the Bay Area and made friends with other songwriters, then my partner Jeremy and I moved to Western Mass. to be closer to my family," Joy recalls. "I starting writing again in earnest, mostly songs relating to my mom's living with cancer, the return to the East Coast, leaving California."
In the spring of 2011, Joy says that her quest to finally go to the studio and crystallize the sonic sugar plums that had been dancing her in head received, well, a kickstart, courtesy of online fundraising platform kickstarter.com.
"We raised over $5,000 in one month with the help of so many backers," she says. "We were able to start recording by fall."
The resulting effort, titled Ready Or Not, is a 12-tune, semi-conceptual effort that augments Joy's lilting voice and solid compositions with electric bass, Hammond organ and even the occasional "long-distance dedication."
"My friend Matthew Wilson (known regionally for his work with the New Haven-based band The Titles) was actually living in Tennessee during album production," she explains. "And we really wanted some of his pedal steel playing... so he ended up doing it by recording his parts at home and sending the tracks via Internet. So awesome!"
As a means of rolling out Ready to the public, Joy has planned two CD release parties for the coming weeks. The first occurs this Saturday, May 19 at The Arts Block in Greenfield; the follow-up happens June 2 at Great Barrington's Gypsy Joint.
For more info, kindly point your browser to christajoymusic.com.
In other news, David Allen checked in to report that he was equally revved up about the upcoming Bike Night concert series he is involved with at Stearns Square in Springfield.
"We are trying some new things, including the addition of two tribute bands [Danny V's 52nd Street Band/Billy Joel show is slated for June 28; Aerosmith-imitators Draw The Line take the stage Aug. 23] but also brought back tried and true favorites like Roomful of Blues [July 19]," Allen revealed. "And all involved are particularly excited about the return of The Smithereens [Aug. 9]."
Others scheduled to grace the Bike Night stage include NRBQ alums The Spampinato Brothers (July 5), Christine Ohlman & The Saturday Night Live Band and a new, locals-only finale night featuring King Country with Ray Guillemette, Jr. and Lindsey LaBelle (Sept. 6).
All Bike Night shows at Stearns Square are free and occur rain or shine. (In the case of inclement weather, however, the venue is nearby CityStage.) Opening acts take the stage 6:15 p.m. each night, followed by the headliners, who begin promptly at 8 p.m.
Last up, for those pining to catch some great outdoor audio, The Pines Theater in Look Park (lookpark.org) has unveiled its summer concert schedule.
Appropriately kicking things off on June 9 is Summerfest, a day-long, multi-band shindig featuring John Brandoli, Barefoot Truth and Erin McKeown, among others. A two-day, Cancer Kicking Jazz Fest follows on Aug. 17 and 18, with no less than the likes of nationally-known artists Mindi Abair, The Jeff Lorber Fusion and the Jeff Golub Band lending sonic support.
A Salute To The End of Summer bookends the season on Sept. 8. That show offers performances by Bronx Wanderers (a family affair boasting a father, two sons and a brother who recreate the hits of the '50s and '60s), Relentless and Union Jack, to name a choice few.
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