I was born and raised in the Blue Ridge Mountains on the border of southern Pennsylvania and eastern West Virginia. I spent the first years of my life in McConnellsburg, PA. population 1,106. The most famous person ever to come from the area was the 15th President of the United States, James Buchanan.
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My parents divorced when I was about two-years-old. To the best of my knowledge, my father is still alive but we really don�t know each other. There�s been no contact between us for about 15 years. My mother told me lots of stories about him though. He was a singer/songwriter. My mom re-married when I was still very young, and I will refer to this man from this point on as my dad. My parents were hardworking people --- mom worked for a sewing machine manufacturer and my dad worked for Mack Trucks. They had two more children shortly after they were married; my sisters, Tracy, then Gretchen.
We moved to Hedgesville, WV, when I was in the sixth grade and that�s where I grew up and went to high school. It�s about a half-hour from Winchester, VA where Patsy Cline grew up. Hedgesville is a very small town with a population of about 300. A lot of folks take the train each way to Washington D.C. or other surrounding towns to work. The local industry is farming, a General Motors and Corning plant, and some nearby outlet shopping malls. This area of the country is known as "apple country" and it's beautiful. Every fall we have the Apple Butter Festival. My sister Gretchen still lives there and is a dental assistant.
I sang anywhere and everywhere I could all through high school, and was in drama too. My mom loved music and had all my father�s old records and I just wore them out growing up. I remember on Sundays, every Sunday, my mom would get up early and start baking bread. We�d go to church, come home and finish baking the bread and clean the house. The whole time while we were baking and cleaning, we would play records and sing all day. The first song I distinctly remember hearing and thinking to myself, "wow, that�s music," was Lynn Anderson�s "I Never Promised You a Rose Garden." When I heard songs like Merle Haggard�s "Okie from Muskogee", Charley Pride�s "Kiss An Angel Good Morning," or Tammy Wynette�s "Golden Ring", I knew I wanted to grow up and be a singer. I still have an 8-track tape of me singing D-I-V-O-R-C-E when I was six-years-old -- my first recording session.
For as long as I can remember, I wanted to sing, write music and perform for people. My family was always supportive. Every couple of months, my mom drove me to the Jamboree USA Music Hall in Wheeling, WV to sing. Big artists like Tammy, Merle, George Jones and Conway Twitty all played there. My mom knew someone who worked there so we�d always get into the "after show party" that they�d have upstairs in a separate lounge area. My mom would always talk someone in the band into letting me sing.
After high school, I enrolled in Hagerstown Junior College and worked at a pizza place. Then my life changed forever when my sister Tracy was killed in a car accident. Three months later my mom died unexpectedly from a pulmonary embolism. Then a couple years later my dad was killed in a car accident. During this time, my sister Gretchen was still in school and we kind of took care of each other � she went to school and I worked. When Gretchen went to college, I formed a band and began performing in and around the Washington D.C. and Martinsburg, WV areas. One night after a show, a friend of mine introduced me to my future husband - Vince - and I'm still trying to figure out how he happened to me. He�s a tennis pro, a systems consultant, a music lover, and an avid supporter of my career. We began dating and got married one year later. We moved to Nashville in 1995.
When we first moved to Nashville, I worked part-time as a secretary for the airlines, mostly so I could travel for free back to West Virginia to see my sister. By now, Gretchen was married and had a little girl named Aerial. She�s a little piece of heaven here on earth, for real, and she�s my whole thing. I signed with Big Tractor Music as a writer in 1997, and have had songs recorded by Loretta Lynn, and SHeDAISY.
Last year I signed with RCA Records and began work on my first album with hit songwriter/producer, Trey Bruce. My first single from this album will be released to radio in February. Recently, I recorded a song called "Grow Young with You" with Andy Griggs for the Where The Heart Is movie soundtrack. The movie is based on the popular novel by Billie Letts and stars Natalie Portman and Ashley Judd.
Music is my life. Being able to make this album is a dream come true for me - I hope it takes you to a place you have never been before.
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