Blue O'Connell Biography

I was raised in inner city Chicago where I began cultivating my unrelenting passion for the arts at an early age. A neighborhood community recreation center became the first stage where upon I tap danced in variety shows, attempted ballet, acted in dramatic plays and performed trampoline routines for many appreciative and amused audiences. When I wasnít performing, I often took to myself where I wrote poems and plays, drew graffiti on the alley (my back yard),explored abandoned buildings among other imaginative things.

My lifelong apprenticeship with music began at age 9 after acquiring my first record player. I was given a pair of drum sticks about the same time and I quickly learned every beat to Hawaii Five-O and Mission Impossible theme songs.Later, I became the only girl drummer in my high school band and dreamed of becoming a rock and roll star. This dream faded fast however, after seeing a folksinger friend accompany herself on an acoustic guitar and sing one of her own songs. Inspired by her example, I got out my momís old Harmony, a leftover relic of the 60ís folk boom, and began plunking away from that day forward.

Over the past two decades my journey with the guitar has led me to many places, through diverse musical styles and teachers. From The Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago to the Naropa Institute in Colorado and Omega Institute in New York. Some of the teachers Iíve had the opportunity to study with include: Robert Fripp, Ralph Towner (of Oregon), and David Darling (Paul Winter Consort). With the help of these teachers (and many others) I explored the realms of fingerpicking styles, flatpicking, Irish music, jazz improvisation and classical technique. The blending of these influences coalesced into my own style which is evident upon listening to my compositions.

Today, I perform my own songs all over the country. My appearances range from the most modest and unknown stages to more well known venues like Nashvilleís Bluebird Cafe and theTelluride Troubadour Contest (a finalist in 1994). Iím told my distinct vocal sound is reminiscent of Billie Holiday and Tracy Chapman. My debut recording, Lines of Change, is available on cassette with plans for a future CD release. When Iím not performing I am working on my songs at home in Charlottesville, Virginia or doing my folk radio show Sunset Road at WTJU.

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