Lizzy Lehman, Vocals/Guitar, Carry Illinois
Lizzy Lehman started doing the singer/songwriter thing when she went to college in Portland. She would go to open mics at school and that was when she first started writing. One year Lehman went to Colorado on vacation and ended up meeting Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary and he advised her to check out a festival in Texas called the Kerrville Folk Festival. Taking his advice, Lehman went, even though she’s not much of a camper, and ended up meeting who is now her wife and a few other musicians she ended up working with later.
Fast forward, after moving back and forth between Portland and Austin a couple of times and getting married, Lehman now leads her own band called Carry Illinois
“I come to [the rest of the band] with a fully formed song,” she said about the creative process. “I play it on my guitar and sing, and then we jam it out and have it be sort of a mess the first few times, basically telling them they can play whatever they want and to be creative. If I don’t like something I’ll speak up or something, but I really like the way they come up with creative stuff.”
She said lyrically the songs she’s been writing lately are about her experiences growing up and being bullied.
“A recent song we recorded, “Electric Charm” is about how I’ve always felt that I wasn’t the conventional person that someone wanted to see, that I wasn’t pretty enough or whatever, but that I believe I do have something that people are interested in hearing and can connect to,” she said.
Carry Illinois just recorded two new songs and are planning to release them later this year on a 7″ vinyl.
Liz Baker, Vocals/keyboard, Young Tongue
Since having her first child five months ago, Liz Baker has been having a bit of a shift in her world view. Priorities have changed, sleeping patterns have changed, schedules have changed.
“She’s all the time. I can’t take a break or clock out. She’s either on me or on my mind all of the time,” she said while pinching the toes of infant Vida Marzelle Baker. “I have this new identity to figure out of being a mother now even though I’m still a performer and a friend and a sister and a wife.”
While “Marz” is a huge part of Baker’s world, she still finds time to perform — especially making time for it because it’s her favorite part about being in a band.
” I love being on stage, interacting with the crowd, dancing and meeting people afterward,” she said. “Which is good because that’s my strength and that’s not everyone else’s strength, so it works out really well. “
Baker is also a massage therapist and regularly travels or has clients travel to come see her. One of her biggest clientele groups is the Harvard men’s swim team.
This year her band Young Tongue is hoping to put out new video and possibly new EP.
Raine Hopper, Vocals/Guitar, MeanGirls
Two years ago Raine Mara Hopper began Hormone Replacement Therapy to begin her transition into a woman. In years previous she constantly found herself depressed and lost for no reason. Everything would seem to be going great and she thought she should feel happy, but one day she finally realized where the void was coming from and what she needed to do.
“The thing that always got me through the dysphoria and discomfort was playing music and touring and that was how I found peace and centered myself,” she said. “But when I was touring with my last band Young Savage and we were driving through some of the most beautiful scenery on the west coast, I should have been having the best time — I was doing the best thing with my best friends and I still just couldn’t feel anything. I was numb about it. I knew right then that if I didn’t do something about this, that kind of despair wouldn’t be able to be fixed, and as soon as I got back from Austin I would see a therapist.”
In her current band MeanGirls, Hopper writes music about transgendered experiences and discomfort in one’s own body. Their most recent album, Squirm, which released in February, pulls the name from a lyric of one of the songs: “In the weight of our pain, I will paint you in blood. May you squirm, may you choke for all the damage you’ve done.”
“I think people are put in boxes in so many ways, whether it be gender norms and stereotypes or whatever it is, it’s like you’re in a little prison,” she said. “All you can do is squirm, there’s really no way out of it. But on the other side of it, I hope that anyone who is in opposition of what we stand for squirms when they hear us.”
Because Hopper is in the beginning stages of transitioning, she knows that’s the spotlight of her life right now with her band and personal life, but she hopes not to be remembered as a transgendered woman, but just as a woman.