Local Girl Band Doesn't Shy From Spotlight
By STEPHEN WOODWARD | SPECIAL TO THE HERALD COURIER | August 31, 2008*** This story was published Aug. 30, 2008 in the Bristol Herald Courier.***
BRISTOL, TN/VA — - Before the green flag dropped last weekend, girl-duo Rock Angel electrified the audience at the Food City Family Race Night when they opened for national act Firehouse.
"At first, we were a little nervous," 12-year-old McKenna Andrews said about the experience of playing for the huge crowd. "But after the first song, we got comfortable."
McKenna and Macy Brummit, 16, were there to impress. About 500 people gathered around the stage and more than 4000 others milling on State Street could hear the debut of Rock Angel.
The girls played a wide variety of music, which Macy described as mainly acoustic rock.
"We did a cover of [bands] Danger Danger, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Heart, said McKenna, describing their set. "We also did a modern contemporary song by Michele Branch. It was 11 songs in all."
Rock Angel didn't have long to practice before their first gig.
"She and I met about a week before this concert," said McKenna, who lives in Kingsport, Tenn. "[Macy] caught on very fast and did a lot of harmonies."
"Actually, her mom works with my mom," Macy, who lives in Church Hill, Tenn., said about the unlikely hook-up. "They got us together. So, we haven't played together long."
Both girls had played solo before forming Rock Angel.
"I've done a couple [of shows] by myself," said Macy. "I do a lot of acoustic stuff."
McKenna, a sixth-grader at John Sevier Middle School, had a similar story.
"I had found two shows before the big concert that I did by myself ? playing guitar and singing," she said.
McKenna aspires to be a creative songwriter, as well as performer. On her Myspace Web page, which she uses to promote her music, she has two original songs on which she plays electric guitar.
She said she draws inspiration from a very personal place. The Petal, Miss., native witnessed first hand the destruction of Hurricane Katrina.
"[The song] is about dolphins that were put out to sea by Katrina in the Gulf of Mexico," McKenna said. "Their aquarium sits on the ocean and had survived other hurricanes, so when Katrina came, people were going to leave them. When the hurricane came, the dolphins were sent out to sea. They eventually found all the dolphins in a group."
Not only has McKenna written a song about this personal story of survival, but she's even written a children's book, published by Lulu press. It was recognized by Mom's Choice Award, a Web site that holds annual competitions for authors, inventors, companies, parents and others who create quality family-friendly media products.
Like McKenna, Macy found her musical inspiration close to home.
"I love the music my dad plays," said Macy of her father Paul Brummit, who plays guitar. "He's a very big influence. He's so energetic. If someone's sad, he can cheer them up [with his music]."
She said her dad plays everything from country to rock.
"He started teaching me how to play when I got my first guitar three years ago," Macy said.
And McKenna was a natural getting started in music.
"She didn't need much encouragement," said her father, Mike Andrews, who named the band Rock Angel, along with his wife Tammy. "She jumped right in with both feet. Nowadays, she plays guitar much like most kids play their PlayStation games"
Both girls carry that passion to their school bands: Macy at Volunteer High School and McKenna at John Sevier Middle. Similarly, they both want to be professional musicians.
"I would love to be a musician as a living if I could make it," said Macy.
But the next step for Rock Angel, however, is getting another gig.
"My promoter is trying to get us in at Rhythm and Roots," said McKenna, who has recently started Kung Fu lessons.
While the musical ability comes naturally for the girls, finding band members is difficult.
"We're trying to find a girl bass player and girl drummer to make an official rock band," said McKenna. "It's hard to find a girl bass player."
— Check out McKenna's website for Rock Angel: http://www.myspace.com/mckennaandrews
— Arts for Youth Spotlight: Young Author Makes a Splash! (January 2007)
— 10-Year-Old Author to receive "Mom's Choice" Literary Award (August 2007)