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Gretchen Wolaver

I grew up with music swimming through my house like sunlight through the windows. A different instrument in each room, the combined notes created a messy symphony that banged around the halls like bouncy balls.... and serenaded the neighbors very early in the morning. 

It was beautiful. 

It's pretty hard not to catch the music and writing bug when you're being raised by musicians and writers - and it swept through all of us like wildfire. When I was 5 years old, my family made a momentous move to Connecticut to study music more intently. It was a pretty massive change from Middle Tennessee southern suburbia. While my older siblings joined the Juilliard pre-college program, my sister Camille and I began studies at The School for Strings in Manhattan. 

Thus began the early Saturday morning drives to the core of the Big Apple. Starbucks hot chocolate, piggy-back rides down the long blocks, turkey wraps that everyone liked but me, coloring for hours in the waiting rooms of Juilliard, sitting on the floor watching my Daddy write music manuscripts by hand, watching Juilliard recitals (which I wish I had been old enough to appreciate), and walking past that stuffed leopard I longed for in the Juilliard bookstore window every single weekend. 

I never did get that leopard. 

Some dreams must be laid to rest. 

That was my life for about four years, and it was a good time to be a kid. Then, somewhere along the highway of routine, my family came to a crossroads. We had to decide what to do with that "messy symphony" which, crazily enough, had ceased to be messy. After long prayers, and equally long talks, we decided to take the plunge - and thus began this amazing adventure called "The Annie Moses Band". 

It's an adventure that spanned my romping years from 9 to 12, my animal rescue years from 12 to 14, and my bookworm years from 14 to.... well, I guess those are still going. (This age bracket timeline thing isn’t working out)

I began playing violin when I was 4, mandolin when I was 10, guitar when I was 14, and began performing when I was 11. It started with little features, then grew up with me into full involvement. 

The formative years of my training were on the stage, and that was a great blessing. It taught me how to give, how to be part of something bigger than myself, how to seek the good of the group, how to collaborate, and how to minutely search through Yelp for the greatest coffee shops available in any given location. 

These are important skills.

Just four words, small-town-coffee-shop-owners - single origin pour-overs. That's all. I'm done. 

When I turned 16, I got bit by the writing bug - hard. It climbed out of the pages of such classics as Les Miserables, War & Peace......... The Black Stallion (ahem), through the little green iPod ears of the traveling music junkie, and finally bit my brain when I heard Both Sides Now, Blowin' in the Wind, and At Seventeen. 

Break my heart, Janis Ian. 

Here's the question that got me: how do you encapsulate common experience in a song? How do you reach into the endless depths of words, melodies, and chords, and form something that hooks the heart with an evocation of memory, empathy, pain, wonder, or uninhibited joy? 

That's the question that captivated my mind from the moment I was aware enough to ask it.

Not all music does this. It's only when sincerity, depth, respect for the craft, and respect for the listener coincide that something remarkable emerges and takes hold.

This. 

This is the art of songwriting. This is the art of composition. 

This is my passion. 

Now I’m mountain-deep into this glorious, complicated landscape. It's frustrating and beautiful, as are all things worth seeking.

Beauty and truth are one, and music is their child. 

I want a big family.

Gretchen