I really can't remember a time in my life when music wasn't a huge part of who I am. I grew up in a house where music was always being played and several family members even played instruments. My dad was a singer/ guitar player/ steel guitar player and actually had a song released and banned from radio in California before I was born. It was pretty risque back then but would probably be be a hit today....
Now...I consider myself a Texan and thats all that matters. But truth be told, I was born in Georgia. We moved to Texas before I could even walk good. My earliest memories involve singin' in church, which is what my family did for many years. We would sing at weddings, funerals, ...even nursing homes. Heck..we played wherever they'd let us. This lasted for many years and gave me a really good music foundation. Southern gospel music gets down in your soul and I still remember most of those songs to this day. In the fourth grade, I was asked to perform on our town square and after that, I began singing the national anthem at little league softball games, performing at the rodeo, market days, wherever they handed me a microphone.
About the time I turned 13, my dad and legendary steel guitar player/ songwriter/ all around country music legend Ralph Mooney became great friends and began runnin the road goin to steel guitar conventions and other music shows. I grew up listening to the stories of a bunch of retired musicians and bus drivers that were there when Waylon and Willie made country music history. My teen age school years were spent performing with Ralph Mooney and I will never forget those years. Hearing about my idols and the crazy things they did behind the scenes. I'm very thankful that I grew up in a house where we learned that it took more than 1 person to create a signature sound and that behind every star there was a multitude of people that contributed to their success. I performed on these music convention shows for 10 plus years.
I had my daughter Jade at the early age of nineteen. After an unimaginable heartbreak, she gave me a reason to smile. I learned so much about life at such a young age. I made a lot of great decisions, a lot of bad ones, and lived to tell about them all. One great decision was to finish college. I sang at night and went to college all day. We lived in a little apartment and couldn't afford to pay attention! But they were great times. I began singing locally with some bands but really got an awesome chance when Arista Texas performer Joel Nava asked me to begin singing with he and The Border. They were pretty well known in the south Texas area and I really got a chance to do a variety of music and expand my range vocally. This was some of the best years of my life. I formed friendships that will last a lifetime and I have nothing but good things to say about the musicians I worked with then.Thanks Joel Nava for the laughs, the music, and your friendship! You too, Hector Mendieta!
It was while performing with the Border that I met a young guitar player named Aleph Yonker. We became great friends and have been inseparable since. My second daughter Elizabeth was born in 2003 and our family was complete. Those were crazy times but chances are if you've been to any of Aleph's shows or to any of mine, you've probably met our kids or saw them sleeping under a dancehall table or standing right in front of the stage cause they need soda money! Ha!!
You might already know but if not, my daughter Jade is an award winning fiddle player/ vocalist who regularly performs with Leona Williams . Jade is making quite a name for herself and I'm so darn proud of her not only because of her talent but because of the beautiful woman she is turning into. She's full of spirit and feisty as hell and I couldn't be happier about that. Elizabeth loves to sing and I have a feeling she will do something musically but right now she is only concerned with one thing.... Roger Creager. That's who Aleph plays for right now and Elizabeth loves to attend shows and hang out on the bus. She whole-heartedly believes that she IS the band mascot for the Roger Creager band... I love you guys for going along with that!
I began commuting to Nashville to write an album in 2006. In the time I was working on the album I also moved to the Austin area. You know it's the live music capitol of Texas! We settled in Bastrop until the wildfire this past year where unfortunately we lost our home we had just completed building and all our belongings. You learn alot through times like that. You learn what you can live with.....and you learn what you can live without. We have been blessed to find another house within 15 miles or so and are doing very well. I'm telling ya...theres not much I haven't experienced in my lifetime. But I've survived and still have the majority of my sanity.
There's no glamour here. What you see is what you get. I'm happy to say that after years of thinking I had to be or sound or look a certain way...I'm finally comfortable in my own skin. I'm a normal woman with a job and kids and a man and stresses that you probably can relate to. You might think my greatest performances have been in the great dancehalls of Texas but they have not. My greatest performances have been in a rockin chair, singing to a sick baby. I've sang so many verses of "You are my sunshine" and "You are so beautiful to me" that surely I owe some royalty money to someone. I like songs about real life stuff. Maybe things that make people uncomfortable to talk about. I'm not in my twenties anymore and that used to really freak me out. But I can still head out to shows and know that at the age I am, I still doing pretty good. One thing I love about Texas and the reason I'm still here pursuing this crazy dream is that I know here, I can be me. I know here, people are too smart to buy into false advertising and bubble gum country.....
Last summer.....I signed a deal with Ah-Ha Music. In the midst of the fire and ashes, I've completed this debut cd at Rosewood Studios produced by Greg Hunt and Shayne Morrison, with some amazing players and I'm excited to tell you that I could not be happier with it. The songs are real. They have meaning and stories behind them. I even changed the names to protect the guilty.I'm working with two amazing radio promoters, Debbie Green and Ed Spacek and I'm really hopeful that you love this Cd as much as I do. I'm so thrilled that you stopped by my site to check things out. I love my music family and I'll see ya soon on the road!! Thanks...Joni