...a red dirt girl
This red dirt girl grew up in the heart of Red Dirt music country - near Stillwater, Oklahoma. The Cimarron river flows just a mile to the south... the sky is big and full of colors in the early morning~ and those last few minutes of the day.
Farming and ranching has been the staple for the small community of Perkins in which she grew up. Rodeo, church, swimmin' holes, baling hay, kids meeting each other on a dirt road to ride horses, picnics, the senior citizens in the little town have always had great country and western swing music on monday nights. These are the things that filled Monica's life growing up.
When she enrolled at Oklahoma State University, she decided that she'd better find some people to play bluegrass and country music with in the evenings. Thanks to Brett Franzman - one of Stillwater's great banjo players and guitar pickers - she found herself right, smack dab in the middle of the still young Red Dirt Music scene.
The bluegrass and folk band The Wayfarying Strangers that she played and sang with, played Jimmy Lafave's Musicians Reunion Jam one night...The Red_Dirt Rangers, Tom Skinner, Greg Jacobs, Randy Pease, The Medicine Show... and of course, Jimmy LaFave. What a night!
Earlier in the evening she met another man who has since always been on her mind and in her heart.
"We were running over a few tunes at Pam's (Hartman) house that wasn't far from where the shows were that night when the songwriter that was expected to come around for a visit knocked on the door.
"The door opened and standing the doorway was a man with a big, vibrant smile and curly brown hair and lots of whiskers. His rough voice had 'country' all over it and his beautiful blue eyes just twinkled... 'Hear there's a new girl singer in town... came to meet 'er. My name's Bob_Childers... what's yours?'
That kindness- the going out of his way to make a young girl feel not so nervous and so very welcome was Bob to a T. I'm so thankful that he came by that night before the show and listened to us... and then played some of tunes. Like so many others around me... I do miss Bob and love him dearly." -- Monica
She lived in a tent from July until October '94 and eventually found a cabin and some roommates up on Last Dollar Road about 30 minutes from town to live with for the winter.
Skiing in everything she needed was the daily chore. She had a band, a three piece group, and a solo gig in town to make her living. Life on the mountain with bluegrass friends and the rugged mountain living was a great time for two years.
Most importantly... this is where she found the love of her life and her companion for 14 years: Rosebud.
In 1996 Monica moved home to the Stillwater area and moved out to The Farm... the legendary old farm that so many songwriters in the Red Dirt music field lived at or visited frequently.
Monica formed another bluegrass band called Cedar Hammock with Brett, Kurt Neilson, and Karen Knust and once again had wonderful times singing with all of her old Red Dirt music friends.
Like a family... Rosebud was at home at The Farm as one of the farmdogs... life was good.
"Patrick Williams and I met at the Winfield(Kansas) Bluegrass Festival in 1996 and soon after began pickin' with each other here and there. In 1998 I moved up to the old family farm that he lived on and began travelling around the southern half of America together.
Three cd's and thousands of wonderful experiences and friends later we decided that we each ought to try our hands and hearts at something different.
"Patrick and I are great friends and we will join up ever so often to play a show for the 'Farmhands' that still ask for us to play. We love it! His great flat pickin' and fingerstyle guitar playing always makes me smile and gives me energy... what wonderful songs that he writes... and that WE have written together. Checkout TheFarmCouple.com for more information
Today I am playing solo... and I have some wonderful friends who play with me and that I play and sing with Don Morris (guitar, bass, songwriter), Jared Tyler (guitar, dobro, mandolin,songwriter) and Nancy Kamm (fiddle) have played with Monica often and with great joy to Monica... and to the audiences!
My dear friend Robin Macy called me up recently and said let's you and me and Jenny Lou form a trio and sing the old songs our grannies love! God bless her little pea-pickin' heart. What else could I say? "YES... and the Nouveau Quintet want us to sing with 'em at their concerts and dances? Ah-h-h-h ha."
The Cherokee Maiden's are Robin Macy, Monica Taylor and Jennifer Petterson. They make up this tight harmony trio in the McKinney Sisters style who sang with The Texas Playboys and The Andrew Sisters... of course.
We sing the great old western swing, jazz, and some of our orginal tunes with Sycamore Swing backing us up!
Kenny (Kentucky) White is the leader of band- and Robin’s husband- Kenny is one of the most amazing musicians around. Kenny plays an old hollow bodied guitar, acoustic, mandolin, and banjo.
Rob Loren plays th fiddle for us… he’s played with Ray Price, Hank Thompson, and fabulous groups throughout Kansas.
James Holcutt plays the upright bass and bass guitar for us… he is a wonderful musician who can keep the swing, jazz, and the country sounds steady on.
Sam Hake plays the drums for us… he is a band director in Wichita at the Collegiate private school.
So much fun we have with these Wichita, KS men! Each of the girls and guys respect one another for our talents and enjoy performing together… you can tell that from the smiles and dancing that goes on during a show!
"I've been writing new songs! Working up the songs written by my dear friends in the Red Dirt Family, and loving all of the new things coming down this old country road!"
Monica recorded her latest CD Cotton Shirt in Tulsa, OK at Soultree Studios with her longtime music friend and renown producer, Jared Tyler. Jared plays dobro on all of my Monica’s music and sings harmonies with the blend the way a brother would sing. He tours with Malcom Holcomb, John Cowan, and Suzie Ragsdale.
Monica is working on the songs for a new recording, maybe two.
One CD would be tentatively called Maud & Rose~ and other stories from the road.
The second recording would self-penned songs about the mountains and old Appalachian songs she’s enjoyed thru the years- Songs from My Grandmother’s Mountains.
Keep looking back for more information on these possible 2012-13 releases! Check out Jared’s website, too… www.jaredtyler.com
New songs, strong heart and mind, solid friends... blessings from God.