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MUSIC: Busy mom returns to stage leading Amy Garland Band

By JACK W. HILL SPECIAL TO THE DEMOCRAT-GAZETTE

This article was published February 17, 2011 at 3:43 a.m.

— It’s not uncommon for musicians to have to make difficult choices when their music collides with the demands of marriage and parenthood. So it has been for Amy Garland Angel and the Amy Garland Band.

Six years since their second CD came out and nine months since the last public performance, at last year’s Riverfest, Garland and band have a show this weekend and new material to debut.

“I’ve got a huge slew of new songs that the core musicians are learning, albeit slowly,” Garland reports. “It is a huge challenge to be in a band with your husband while you still have a small child. It gets expensive fast to pay for a baby sitter for long periods of time while you are recording or gigging.”

Garland and her musician husband (and drummer) Bart Angel are the parents of Eli, 21/2, and have been enjoying quality child-raising time with him when away from their day jobs. Garland runs the internship placement program for master’s degree candidates in the School of Social Work at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and teaches in the school’s bachelor’s degree program.

“I am enjoying the time I am getting to see [Eli] develop and grow and I wouldn’t change that for the world or 50 completed albums,” Garland says.

Garland’s husband concurs with her when it comes to the demands of child rearing among musicians.

“Being a drummer, I don’t have to worry about finding time to write and such,” Bart says. “Amy has to wrestle with that and it sucks. All I do is count to four and beat things with sticks. It’s funny, before we had Eli, I’d get pretty putout with guys not being able to make gigs. I totally get it now. There are fewer out-of-town gigs and fewer gigs in general, but the ones we do play are sweeter.”

And while Garland and band have been less than visible playing around town or recording, she can be heard weekly on her radio show, Backroads, from 7 to 9 p.m.Friday on KABF-FM, 88.3. She took over the time slot from her friend, “Flap” Jones, who moved her own show, Not Necessarily Nashville, up the dial a piece to KUAR-FM, 89.1.

“I had some big shoes to fill and it has been so much fun,” Garland says. “It has really forced or allowed me to listen to new music and get excited about making ‘mix tapes’ again. I get to have lots of musicians live in the studio, and I get to promote local shows. I get to play anything I want. I just put the headphones on and I start singing out loud while I am up there.

“I just have to make sure I’ve turned the green host mike button off. I would hate to make that mistake too many times.”

On her show last week, Garland presented singersong writer Mark Stuart, who stopped by to talk and perform a couple of songs before hurrying away for a show at The Poet’s Loft in Hot Springs.

Garland has a duo gig with Jeff Coleman coming up at River City Coffee for the April Shop ’n’ Sip, and she has been invited back to the American Flyer event, a live radio variety show sponsored by KUAR, to be held in May.

“I’ve been getting more comfortable in front of a microphone without holding my guitar,” Garland says. “Maybe I have a ‘face for radio.’”Amy Garland Band Amy Garland with Bart Angel, Mike Nelson, Nick Devlin, Brad Williams, Amy Williams and Jeff Coleman 9:30 p.m. Friday, White Water Tavern, West Seventh and Thayer streets, Little Rock Admission: $5 (501) 375-8400

Weekend, Pages 33 on 02/17/2011

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